Many hikers today like to take their dog on the hike with them. This provides both company for the hiker and exercise for the pet. But many parks are not dog-friendly. These five parks allow dogs on the hiking trails, as long as their owners can control them. Most parks require the dogs to be leashed, but others simply state that the pets must be under the control of the owner. So take a hike down one of the hiking trails listed below and enjoy spending time with your pet as well as enjoying the many diverse plants and animals that can be found in South Florida.

Cape Florida Nature Trail

Cape Florida State Park
1200 South Crandon Blvd
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
(305) 361-5811

Cape Florida State Park’s nature trail winds through 1.5 miles of hardwood hammock, cattail marshes, ficus trees, dunes and mangrove forests. The trail passes by a lighthouse, a marina and even offers a beautiful view of Stiltsville, a batch of old homes on stilts that dot Biscayne Bay. Pets are allowed on the hiking trails, the picnic areas, along the sea wall and on the bike trails. However, owners must bring their own doggie bags and clean up after their pet. Pets must be on a leash at all times and must be well-behaved. Cape Florida Nature Trail has very little shade and no water faucets, so be sure to take water for both yourself and your pet.


Hawks Bluff Trail

Savannas Preserve State Park
2541 Walton Road
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952
(772) 398-2779

Hawks Bluff Trail, located inside Savannas Preserve State Park, is a mile long walking trail that loops through five different habitats within one park. Hikers can view freshwater savannas, sand dunes, coastal scrubs, spike moss and gopher apple as they wander along the trail. Photographers will especially love this hiking trail as there are many different types of wildlife, birds and plants to photograph. Dogs are not the only pets allowed at this site. Reptiles, birds, fish, cats, and dogs must be properly confined on a leash, in a carrier, or otherwise under the constant physical control of the owner. Regardless of the type of pet, owners must properly clean up after their pet and dispose of droppings in trash receptacles.

Long Key State Park

67400 Overseas Highway
Long Key, FL 33001
(305) 664-4815

Long Key Island, now a state park, has two hiking trails for the enjoyment of hikers. The Golden Orb Trail is 1.1 miles of rare birds, like the white-crowned pigeon and the Key West Quail Dove. The boardwalk along this trail passes through mangrove areas and various other plant communities. Golden Orb Trail offers hikers a glimpse into some of the stranger botanical sights nestled along the trail. The second trail on Long Key is only a quarter of a mile long, which makes it perfect for beginning hikers or hikers with children. Mangrove forests and tropical hammocks dot the landscape on this short trail. Pets are allowed on both hiking trails, but they must be on a leash at all times. However, pets are not allowed on the beaches, in the restrooms or in the picnic areas.

Related: Top Parks To Walk Your Dog In South Florida 

St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park

1000 Buffer Preserve Drive
Fellsmere, FL 32948
(321) 953-5005

There are 60 miles of trails within St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park. Along the various trails hikers can see pine flatwoods, palmetto prairies, cypress domes and a strand swamp. Photographers will enjoy these trails as there are over 50 protected species of plants and animals at this preserve. The trails at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park are long, so hikers should bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen. Pets are allowed, but must be leashed and under the control of their owners at all times. As always, owners must clean up after their pets and properly dispose of waste in trash receptacles.

(Source: CBS4)

Ten Thousand Islands Marsh Trail

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge
12085 State Road 29 S.
Immokalee, FL 34142
(239) 657-8001

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge is home to Ten Thousand Islands Marsh Trail, a 1.2-mile hike to an old oil exploration pad. Along this trail, hikers can see the thousands of tiny islands formed by dense mangrove growth, old oil exploration pads, cabbage palms and even enjoy the skunky smell of Spanish stopper. The trail starts out as a paved road but eventually becomes a rough limestone road, so wear good shoes with solid soles. Birdwatchers will enjoy this trail, as it is replete with ibises, wood storks, kingfisher, blue heron, egrets and other birds call Ten Thousand Islands Marsh Trail their home. Pets are welcome ,but must be kept on a short leash. Pet owners should try to keep your pets close to your side, as alligators like to rest in the shallow water along the walk.

Related: Top Off-Leash Dog Areas In South Florida 

Katherine Bostick is a freelance writer covering all things Tampa Bay. Her work can be found on