I’d been duly warned by those in the know that the Panhandle Coast is one of the least dog-friendly spots in the country. For a couple like us, where camping is ALL about the paws, this was a rather depressing piece of info, and unfortunately my preliminary investigations showed it to be true. There are 5 or 6 fairly “well-known” Florida State Parks nestled along the Pandhandle coast (Top Sail, Henderson Beach, Grayton Beach etc.) each of which promise pristine white-sand beach, play in the sand and absolutely no dogs. Don’t get me wrong now…you can take pooch in the campground and around the trails (if there are any), but absolutely not and under no circumstances on the beach, and that goes for most of the surrounding area too.
Now, this just doesn’t do it for us. No matter how nice the place is, if we can’t take doggie for a romp in the sand, then it just ain’t the spot for us. Walking with pooch is a core part of our daily enjoyment and feeling the sand between our toes is something we all relish. At this point I almost gave up and decided to re-route us through the “inner” Panhandle and leave the popular spots to the crowds. After all, even without the dog restriction, we didn’t want to squeeze in with all those people herding to the same busy spots.
But then we discovered the Forgotten Coast, and we uncovered an extra little secret that made it just right for both us and the paws.
You see, the State Parks here are not really any different. The 2 “big” ones, St. George and St. Joseph are lovely, isolated spots but still have the annoying “no dogs on the beach” restriction. However, what makes these places unique are the beautiful and accessible public beaches just a short drive away. It’s the same coastline and the same pristine snow-white sand on the same peninsula, but here paws are welcomed and doggie-heaven is absolute. On St. Joseph the access is one of the closest. The public beach is only ~1 mile from the entrance to the state park, many miles long, wide, gorgeous, almost entirely deserted and totally paw-friendly. On St. George public beach they actively advertize themselves as a “dog-friendly” spot, and just between the two, on Carabelle public beach, dogs are allowed off-leash right on the sand. It’s yet another reason this place gets our vote with all 4 thumbs and 12 paws up.
Where Are We Today?Point Hudson Marina, Port Townsend, WA
Port Townsend, WA Today Thursday FridayChance of a Thunderstorm64°/52°Chance of Rain66°/50°Partly Cloudy68°/52°
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