For dog parents, no outdoor experience can come close to anything like sharing the fun with your best friend. These days it’s second nature to travel with our furry kids, as more destinations have become pet friendly. Thankfully, outfitters and the like are gradually changing their policies and beginning to find their soft spot for dogs and other pets. Being able to soak in the outdoor adventures with your dog will greatly enhance any trip you’re planning to make.
Our search for a dog-friendly destination with a great potential for fun and exploration led us to the beautiful Palm Coast neighborhood of Florida. We had been planning a visit to the Palm Coast for a while now and decided to head out for the long weekend with our Shiba girls. There are a handful of dog-friendly destinations around, but our love for eco-adventures and the great exploration potentials all over the Coast made it our last and final choice.
Finally, we hit the road with Rukia and Saki after several months of planning and recall the days ahead being filled with anticipation, as we couldn’t wait to get there. We packed the necessary pet essentials, including their favorite toys and even threw in the Scout & About Toss and Float Toy, on the off chance that they would be adventurous enough to play in the water (well, that didn’t happen – it’s a Shiba thing).
Travelling with our Shiba girls has become easier over the years and we now know the right gear to pack and what to leave behind. The key is to make sure that everything is practical and can easily be stored and tucked away in their designated bag. It’s best to pack a food and water bowl that is portable and lightweight or collapsible, which will save in space. One of the reasons we like the Happy Camper Silicone Travel Dog Bowls is because they are foldable, easy to pack and have the convenience of a full size bowl. They even flip over and turn into a bucket, which has great uses, especially on camping trips. Having these bowls has made our travel experience a lot easier than with previous trips.
As we prepared to leave the house, we could sense the enthusiasm in their eyes and it almost felt as if they were aware of what was to come. Our journey to the Palm Coast and Flagler Beach left imprints of a true natural small town beach vacation – it was one of the best adventures we’ve shared with our dogs!
General Overview of the Palm Coast
The Palm Coast is unlike any other city in Florida that we have ever visited. As we drove through the main streets, we started noticing all the lush landscaping on both sides of the road, which gave us a feeling as if we were roaming through a resort. The entire town has been planned out this way, so as you travel along, all the commercial areas are nicely tucked away behind a shroud of beautifully manicured greenery. The Palm Coast is located between Daytona Beach and St Augustine on the northeast coast of Florida and offers tourists a lot of destinations to explore. With the lush natural landscape, abundance of parks and many other attractions, there’s certainly a lot to like about this beautiful place, which will win the heart of any eco-adventurer.
Alongside with these picturesque sceneries that will bring you closer to nature, there are miles of hiking trails you can sniff your way through with your trail buddy. We were thrilled to find that most of the parks and trails are dog friendly and some parks even offer bicycle paths, which makes it convenient to hitch a bike trailer for your dog. Whatever it is you’d like to do; it’s made even more fun as Fido can always come along for the ride.
Palm Coast and Flagler Beach boasts several local, county, and state parks as well as a host of other preserves that will take you on a trip through history such as the Princess Place Preserve with its beautifully preserved 1888 lodge that had been the home of a princess at one time in history. History lovers can also check out the Bulow Plantation Historic State Park with its 19th-century ruins of a Florida sugar plantation.
If you’re all for eco-tours, there are many choices in which to explore the most productive ecosystem in the world with your dog by your side, either on water or on the various dog-friendly beaches.
The Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreational Area is sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the monthly Full Moon Hike, you can enjoy a unique experience offered at the park by one of the rangers.
Highlights of our Dog-Friendly Adventure in the Palm Coast
Dog-friendly Flagler Beach
As we drove along A1A in Flagler Beach, there was a feeling of nostalgia in the air. Seeing the natural beach setting on the Atlantic side and the cute little establishments, such as family owned restaurants and motels opposite A1A was reminiscent of our childhood memories. There’s nothing fancy about the little town of Flagler Beach, it’s simply a destination that is representative of what a Florida beach town should look like. The Palm Coast and Flagler Beach is majorly pet-friendly, so taking your dogs with you as we did with ours won’t be a problem. Lodges and hotels in the area are also mostly friendly to pets and would allow your dogs in, either for free or for a little fee. The cinnamon colored sandy beach north of N. 10th Street and S. 10th Street is uncrowded, leaving plenty of room for your dog to play fetch. Although the Flagler Beach Pier in the city center does not allow dogs, we still walked by and were able to enjoy it’s unique vibe. There’s just something about Flagler Beach and the Palm Coast which evokes feelings of old town charm with a modern appeal.
You can paddle board with your doggie here but make sure he’s wearing a life jacket for protection and since the law also requires a leash of at least 5 feet long, we recommend an adjustable leash for better control, especially when crossing from the beach side across A1A. If you’d like to go kayaking or canoeing, just get a life jacket on hand and the leash and you’re good to go.
Abundant Dog-friendly Restaurants in Flagler Beach
Along with the pet-friendly beach, there are also a handful of pet-friendly restaurants in Flagler Beach where you’d always be welcome to bring your dog and enjoy delicious and refreshing food. Dogs have access to these facilities and in rare people-only areas, there are always clear signs for dog lovers to see.
In most cases, you’ll find restaurants considerate and friendly enough to provide eating areas where you can sit together with Fido as you go through the meal. One such place is the Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill on AIA with their sweet-tasting and delicious food. Their covered open-air patio is conveniently dog-friendly and our girls were treated like royalty. We did make a couple of stops at Java Joint on AIA for lattes and lunch. The place is reputed for it’s awesome coffee bar and when we discovered they are dog-friendly too, it made us even more excited to check them out which was indeed a great experience. We enjoyed a nice lunch while overlooking the ocean.
Palm Coast Linear Park
The Palm Coast Linear Park is a 57-acre park located between both of the eastbound and westbound lanes of the Palm Coast Parkway. It is equipped with several features and amenities that include a playground, several picnic pavilions, shuffleboard and bird watching, among others. The park is home to over 40 different species of birds and for this, it has been designated by the Audubon Society as a Great Florida Birding Trail.
Even more interesting, the trail can provide an environment for you and your dog to have fun and memorable adventures. You could go hiking or biking here and everything is all fun and happy memories. Our long walk with Rukia and Saki and some other tourists was one of the high points of our adventure. Since discovering the many uses of the Scout and About Dog Walking Bag (which came in handy), it has become our go-to bag due to it’s versatility and convenient size. Our small personal items fit perfectly and we even packed some treats for them, which they happily devoured after the trip.
Camping in Palm Coast
Palm Coast offers campers a lot to explore as you can choose from abundant campsites from the historic Princess Place Reserve to the popular eco-lovers Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreational Area. Beverly Beach Camptown RV Resort is an oceanfront RV Resort located a few miles from Flagler Beach and is situated directly on a seawall along 1500 linear feet of Atlantic Ocean. If you don’t own an RV, no problem, as they also have a few cabin rental choices, some of which are ocean front. Whichever place you like, camping with your dog will be a breeze, as these campsites are not only pet friendly, but popular among tourists. The campsites also offer excellent facilities to make your adventure worthwhile, from hiking trails to water activities and more.
However, you’ll have to make your bookings and reservation beforehand, as they fill up quickly. Also, you will need to take along the right gear to ensure that your dog stays cool, as there are no shaded areas on the beach. We recommend the Scout and About Outdoor Dog Tent because of its compact and collapsible design, which makes it easy to transport. All you have to do is pop it open, set it down and you’re all set. For our Shibas it’s the perfect size for them to snuggle up and they fit comfortably inside.
Get all the Pet Gear you need for Your Adventure
When planning an outdoor adventure with your dog, it’s best to consider shopping ahead of time for the necessary outdoor gear and essentials your dog will need. We’ve mentioned some of our preferred items, such as dog walking bags that will be used on hiking trails to portable and lightweight dog bowls and dog toys, but most of all, the right leashes, harnesses and life jackets should be considered to make the adventure and water experience fun and memorable. At Mountain Shiba dogs are our passion and we’re committed to helping other pet parents find the best quality products for their dog.
Our Palm Coast and Flagler Beach getaway with Rukia and Saki was great fun, to say the least. All made easier by the fact that the destination was dog-friendly and also in large part because we had all the necessary gear. If you’re anticipating an eco-adventure beach vacation this summer, exploring a dog-friendly destination will help make the experience a happy one. Wherever your travels lead you, Bring Your Dog On Your Next Adventure!