A Pet Friendly Guide to Sanibel Island

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Is Sanibel Island pet friendly? In short, the answer is a resounding yes. You’ll be able to take your pet with you to most places on the island, ensuring that they won’t get left behind. Of course, there are some rules that you’ll need to comply with to ensure the environment is kept clean and others are safe.

With numerous pet friendly beaches, restaurants, and accommodations, Sanibel Island is a popular vacation spot for pets and their owners. Is Sanibel Island pet friendly? You’ll find individual restaurants and accommodations will have their own rules that you’ll need to abide by. On the beach, you simply need to clean up after your dog and keep them on a leash of no more than 8 feet.

Our guide below provides you with everything you need to know so that you and your pet have a great vacation on Sanibel Island.


Are Dogs Allowed on Sanibel Island?

Are Dogs Allowed on Sanibel Island?

Looking for a place to bring your four-legged companion on vacation? Look at Sanibel Island. This barrier island off the Gulf of Mexico is an oasis for pets and their humans. In fact, not only are dogs allowed on Sanibel Island, but they are welcome. You’ll find all kinds of pet-friendly hotels and more on the Island.

You’ll love exploring Sanibel Island with your dog. From acres of natural wonder to bustling shopping centers, restaurants, and more, you’ll find many opportunities for you and your dog to take in the sights and smells of Sanibel Island.


Dog Friendly Beaches in Sanibel Island

Taking your dog to the beach is often a major highlight for many dog owners. The new smells that your dog will find will have him in doggie paradise. While you want to ensure their safety at all times, it’s also a great way for you both to relax and have fun together. Being out in the open air and enjoying the beautiful views of Sanibel Island beaches is a sure-fire way to create vacation memories that will last forever.

While all of the public beaches on Sanibel Island welcome dogs, there are three that stand out as being particular pet friendly:

  • Gulfside Beach (aka Algiers Beach)- This beach located on the southern portion of Sanibel Island is a pet favorite. This is thanks to the surrounding greenery where your dog will be exposed to numerous smells of the island wildlife. The sand on the beach is typically soft and easy for fido to walk on.
  • Bowman’s Beach- Another soft sandy beach for your pet to enjoy, Bowman’s Beach even offers a few hiking trails for your active friend. There are also many shells to be found here for the eager shell hunter.
  • Causeway Islands Park- This unique beach is situated on both sides of the Sanibel Causeway. Whether you’re coming onto or leaving Sanibel Island, it’s easy to simply pull off, park, and get onto the beach.

With so much choice and three gorgeous beaches that specifically cater to dogs, Sanibel Island’s beaches are definitely pet friendly. As noted above, be sure to keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them while you’re on the beach. Failure to do so can lead to a ticket and/or fine.


Dog Friendly Restaurants in Sanibel Island

Dog Friendly Restaurants in Sanibel Island

On Sanibel Island you will find many dog friendly restaurants where your furry friend will be welcomed at their outdoor seating. Here are three favorites that you’ll be sure to want to return to time and time again.

  1. Schnapper’s Red Hots- There is an extensive menu here to choose from and, if you’re feeling extra hungry, be sure not to miss the grouper basket for a hearty meal. Enjoy their famous hot dogs, chicken wings and sandwiches after a long day at the beach. You and your pet can dine on the cozy outdoor patio.
  2. Blue Giraffe Restaurant- You’ll love the relaxed vibe that you’ll feel when dining at the Blue Giraffe. The shaded outdoor patio provides your pup with a place to relax without getting overheated. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can choose to dine here whenever you’re ready for a break and a quick bite.
  3. Island Cow- Perhaps the most dog friendly of all, the Island Cow is a favorite among locals and visitors. Many vacationers share that the waitstaff provide a bowl of water for furry friends while they dine. Without a doubt, the most unique feature of this restaurant is that you can have the chef cook your freshly caught fish to eat there!
  4. Sanibel Seafood Grille – With a delectable menu and true island atmosphere, you and your dog will love dining at Sanibel Seafood Grille. The dog friendly outside and patio are the perfect place for you and Fido to kick back and relax. Serving lunch and dinner, you’ll find a menu full of fresh foods from the surf and from the turf. There is truly something to please every palate.

There are plenty of options to choose from, so you’ll be sure to find a delicious dinner for you and your dog to enjoy.


Shopping with Your Dog on Sanibel Island

Let your dog take home a Sanibel Island souvenir from a pet-friendly boutique. Island Paws, located on Tarpon Bay Road in the Olde Sanibel Shoppes, is the perfect destination for dogs and their humans. The shop was founded with a love of pets in mind and stocks a wide variety of pet products. You’ll find treats, leases, collars, harnesses, and even human apparel on the shelves at Island Paws.

You and your dog will love shopping at Island Paws. You’ll pick up a paw-fect souvenir to remember the days you spent on “island time.”


Dog Friendly Activities in Sanibel Island

Dog Friendly Activities in Sanibel Island

It’s important to keep your dog entertained, in the same way you would at home while you are on your vacation. There are important things to remember but, ultimately, the vacation is about having fun together as a family. Sanibel Island is famous for the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Dogs will love the sights and smells that they’ll encounter while going on an adventure-filled stroll through the area.

Dogs are permitted in the Refuge on the following walks:

  • Wildlife Drive
  • Indigo Trail
  • Bailey Tract

They must be kept on a leash of 6ft. while spending time in the Wildlife Refuge. Wildlife Drive is open every day of the year except for Fridays and don’t forget Florida is hot, so make sure you bring sunscreen, bug spray and comfortable walking shoes. There’s a free visitor center at the entrance so you can refill your water bottles (and your dog’s water bottle) and use the restroom.

Planning to travel to paradise with your pup? Learn more about the best time to visit Sanibel Island.


Pet Friendly Accommodations in Sanibel Island

Pet Friendly Accommodations in Sanibel Island

Many of the rental properties available on Sanibel Island are pet friendly. However, it’s always important to read the specifics of any rental agreement before committing to bringing your pet. Many properties have restrictions related to breed, weight, height, and more relating to bringing your pet.

Most places will also require an additional fee when bringing a pet. If you’re unsure about the fee, whether your pet is allowed, or anything else related to your pet, be sure to speak to your vacation rental provider.

However, however the above considerations aren’t the only things to keep in mind when traveling with your pet. It might be wise to follow these pet travel tips when you’re vacationing with your dog:

  • It is a good idea to keep copies of vet and vaccination records handy when traveling with your dog. Not only will your vacation rental provider likely request this information, but it might come in handy in other situations as well.
  • There’s an app for that. You might consider taking advantage of information from apps like Bring Fido and All Trails to help you find pet-friendly activities on and off the island. Additionally, the Red Cross offers a pet first aid app that could come in handy in case of an unfortunate incident or accident.
  • Be respectful of others on the island. You love your dog like family, but that doesn’t mean everyone you encounter will. Some people can be terrified of a tiny puppy; others aren’t. It is wise to always be polite to people you encounter with your dog and make sure Fido is on his best manners at all times, too.


Go Boating with Fido at Port Sanibel Marina

Did you know you can love your dog out on the water too? Go on a boating adventure with Fido today!

Port Sanibel Marina offers fishing charters for you and your buddies and the pups. You can also make marina reservations and plan other boating excursions in paradise.

Contact us today at (239) 437-1660 and we will make your Florida boat rental reservation today!