What to Do with Your Dog in Fort Myers Beach
Traveling with a dog is fun, but challenging. Fortunately, there are many things to do in Fort Myers Beach with your four-legged companion.
From beaches to trails to dog parks, there are a number of activities that you can enjoy with your pooch rather than leaving him back at your Fort Myers Beach vacation rental.
Go to the Beach
Dog Beach (8800 Estero Blvd. Fort Myers Beach) is an off-leash, county-run dog park along a coastal tideland.
Located about 15 minutes from the western end of Estero Island, it’s the perfect place to give your dog some playtime while visiting one of the area’s more scenic nature parks. The only off-leash beach in the county, this dog run at the foot of Lovers Key State Park is right on the water.
Facilities include portable toilets, free parking, and a dog shower station to clean up after getting dirty at the beach. Visitors are limited to two dogs per person and are expected to clean up after their pets. The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk.
Go for a Run
Fort Myers Beach is a runner’s paradise. With more than seven miles of hard-packed sand, runners can cover the area from Bowditch Point Park on the north end of the island to the end of the beach at the south end – a pup’s dream.
For long-distance runners, take Estero Boulevard to Lovers Key State Park, and hit the trail. There are also five miles of trails on Black Island, one of the four barrier islands in the state park. They can be hiked, cycled, or run.
For alternatives, the Boca Grande Bike Path (six miles) and Cape Haze Pioneer Trail (eight miles) are about an hour and a half north of Fort Myers Beach. Pine Island Bike Path (14 miles) is about a 45-minute drive away. Be sure to keep your dog leashed when not in a designated off-leash area.
Hike a Trail
It’s no secret that most dogs love to be outside, and hiking is an ideal way for people of all ages to explore the outdoors and take in the scenery with their pets.
Black Island’s hiking trails in Lovers Key State Park (8700 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach) are a great way for you to see the coast’s diverse wildlife while your dog roams the forest.
The network of trails consists of two short loops linked by a dirt road that run down two finger-like peninsulas. There are plenty of options to cut the trail short, but if you believe you’re pup is ready to handle it, consider hiking the full five miles.
Another great hike is along the Caloosahatchee River at the Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve (2500 SE 24th St., Cape Coral), a mile-long boardwalk path that winds through mangroves and marshes.
The 10-mile network of trails at Estero Bay Preserve State Park (3800 Corkscrew Rd., Estero) meanders through pine flatwoods, coming out at the Estero River. Both are a half-hour drive from central Fort Myers Beach.
Local tour company Fishing Buddy Charters (18400 San Carlos Blvd., Fort Myers Beach) offers pet-friendly fishing trips. Spend a day at sea reeling in snook, grouper, and tarpon, among others – all with your pet at your side. Fishing charters include all equipment, bait tackle, and licenses.
Fishing Buddy Charters also offers dolphin tours that visit the habitats of local marine life and shore birds, including sharks, turtles, eagles, and pelicans.
For more information or to book a tour, contact (239) 895-8868.
Shell Factory and Nature Park
Location: 2787 N. Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers
This one deserves a feature of its own. The Shell Factory and Nature Park, located a 40-minute drive from Fort Myers Beach, might be the perfect way to spend a day with your dog.
The whole center is pet-friendly, complete with a dog park, rehabilitation swimming pool with weekly dog diving shows, an agility course, and, believe it or not, dog church on Sunday mornings. With a pup-friendly retail shop and café, this center will be at the top of your dog’s list of things to do while on vacation in Fort Myers Beach – and yours.