Ponce de Leon felt like a VIP (Very Important Pet) during his stay at Mandarin Oriental, Miami
If dog is man’s best friend, then Miami is a dog’s best city! Whether your furry travel buddy craves some hotel pampering, a romp at the beach or a stroll in a bustling shopping and eating area, your dog is welcomed in Miami by comfortable year-round weather and a bevy of dog friendly neighborhoods.
With its plentiful outdoor dining venues and its dog parks galore in every area of the city, Miami is a dog friendly place.
The mecca of the city’s dog community is indisputably Lincoln Road. This lovely pedestrian shopping area on Miami Beach is Dog Central. On a sunny, breezy afternoon, you might find yourself outnumbered by the pooches on leashes at a bistro or scampering along the sidewalks. Tiny toys, bulldogs and Great Danes alike can sit by your side at any of the restaurants along this popular South Beach shopping and dining street. Some of the best spots include the Café at Books and Books for fresh Miami Caribbean cuisine and a good magazine, or Van Dyke Café and Spris for pasta, sandwiches and light bites.
If both you and your dog are hungry, hit up Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack. Located in the architecturally astounding building 1111 Lincoln Road, indulge in Shake Shack’s best: the Shack Stack, a fried Portobello mushroom stuffed with cheese atop a burger. And don’t forget to order a Poochini, a chilly peanut butter treat to cool down your dog on a hot Miami day.
Dog Parks Aplenty
Miami Beach and the Greater Miami area has dog parks aplenty for letting your dog off-leash to stretch, run, and make friends. Miami Beach’s newest dog park, Haulover Beach, is a mile and a half long stretch of picturesque beach and a 3.25 acre dog park for only a $2 entrance fee.
For a free day at another dog park along the water, try David T. Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove where the dog park is split into two fenced off sections for less than 35 pounds and over 35 pounds. Kennedy Park offers views of the open bay and the historic Italian-Renaissance style villa Vizcaya and a longstanding frozen lemonade food truck, AC’s Icees. Take a short walk to the Peacock Garden Café for dining in a comfortable and romantic garden environment, which also happens to be pet friendly.
Tropical Park in West Miami is a large suburban park that offers everything from boxing to an equestrian center. Tropical Park’s Bark Park is located near a small lake and offers a cooling water spray station, tire jumps, and is also separated for small and large dogs. Parking is plentiful and there are picnic tables where dog owners can sit and watch their pals have fun.
If you’re doing some research on one of the many beautiful dog parks not listed here, be sure you know the lingo. A “Dog Friendly Park” means dogs are welcome on leashes; “Dog Park” means dogs can freely roam off-leash; and “Dog Run Park” means leashed dogs are welcome on the running path. All dog friendly parks have bag dispensers and trashcans for owners to pick up after their pets.
Shop With Your Dog or For Your Dog
What’s a trip to Miami without some shopping? Dog Bar, a dog boutique with locations in Midtown Miami, Coral Gables and South Beach, specializes in holistic dog essentials but also has a wide variety of treats for the spoiled pooch such as a champagne-and-red-berry-scented shampoo. Imagine your four-legged friend with a “Sniffany + Co” or “Alexander Mutt Queen” chew toy or a dog bed that looks like a shrunken couch perfect for lounging in your living room without the eyesore of an old chewed dog bed.
If you’ve already got a rhinestone leash and would rather shop for yourself, the nicest malls in town are dog friendly. Both Bal Harbour Shops and The Shops at Merrick Park are dog friendly high-end malls with the best in designer luxury fashion. Your dog can help you pick out what looks best or just window shop at stores like Prada, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. At Merrick Park, dogs are even allowed inside some of the stores like Nordstrom and Anthropologie.
Dog Friendly Hotels
Your pet will need a place to stay while in Miami, and there are several hotels more than willing to accommodate you and your VIP (Very Important Pet) companion. The Epic Hotel in Downtown Miami has views of the Miami River and Biscayne Bay. Both The Epic and the new Surfcomber on Miami Beach will accommodate your pet at no extra cost. If you’re looking for a historic, comfortable hotel filled with antiques and your own backyard for Fido to roam free, try the Miami River Inn, where up to two dogs of any size can stay in your room for just $25 per stay. At the Mandarin Oriental Miami, dogs are walked gratis once a day and even get their own turndown service, so that your dog experiences vacation luxuries just like you do!
If you know you’ll be busy during your trip, consider having your dog stay overnight at a doggie daycare, where he’ll have adequate company and care. There are several fun, safe places available. On Miami Beach, try Rio Pet Grooming, where your pet will be walked three times a day and picked-up and delivered right to you. Wags to Wishes Doggie Day Care is totally cage-less care complete with fresh food from Whole Foods and doggie massages.
Your trip to Miami should be a most enjoyable one and that means your best friend should come along with you -- even if he does have four legs! The warm year-round climate and the plethora of pet friendly places will have your dog wagging his tail whether he’s a Chihuahua in a studded collar or a Labrador with bows on.
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