By Saundra Amrhein
So you’re planning your Florida vacation, and you need to find the right place to stay that also caters to your VIP – Very Important Pet.
Throughout the Sunshine State there are plenty of pet-friendly Florida hotels and accommodations, including rustic campgrounds, budget hotels, and resorts that offer extra pampering, including massages and turndown services for your furry friends.
Be sure to call ahead to inquire about policies on weight restrictions and deposits and fees.
Here’s a list of options of pet-friendly hotels in Florida, from the ritzy resorts to the practical places to lay your head (and paws) for the night:
While pets aren’t usually allowed at the theme parks, there are plenty of fun things to do around Orlando and in nearby Winter Park. There are a bunch of dog parks throughout the city, including in downtown’s Lake Eola Park, where you and your furry friend can watch the black and white swans swim around the lake. The eclectic and artsy Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando is pet-friendly for a fee, as well as the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and Rosen Shingle Creek. If you're seeking a pet-friend rental home, try Topvillas, with a multitude of properties.
Here are some tail-wagging options:
DoubleTree by Hilton
The name telegraphs the fun that awaits guests here. The DoubleTree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Orlando is a Universal Orlando Partner Hotel, a short walk from Universal Studios Florida, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Universal’s Island of Adventure. Universal’s Volcano Bay, the Orlando International Premium Outlets, and the Mall at Millenia are within two miles. Icon Park, SeaWorld, and all of Disney are just minutes farther. Welcome to the Theme Park Capital of the World.
Each day, the most magical place on earth welcomes tens of thousands of visitors—and many are of the four-legged variety. Of course, leashed service animals are welcome in most areas of Disney World, but even non-working pets can enjoy some R&R in certain parts of the parks.
This campground is nestled amid 750 acres of pine and cypress forest near the theme parks. Pets are allowed at some of the RV hookup sites. You can also enjoy some of the trails with your dogs, as long as they are leashed. Or they can run free at the off-leash, fenced-in Waggin’ Tails Dog Park, which is located within the campground.
This 27,000-square-foot facility offers boarding, grooming and daycare for dogs, cats and other family pets. While you are out enjoying the theme parks, Fido could be basking in a shampoo, teeth whitening or “pawdicure.” Services for your pets also run from VIP suites to group playtime to special treats (including tuna on a Ritz for the kitties). The center is open to anyone, though Disney World Resort guests are offered special discounts.
These pet friendly hotels allow a maximum of two furry friends per room, charging a $50 pet fee per night with a maximum of $150 for three nights or more.
With its bricked streets lined with grand oak trees, al fresco cafés and trendy boutiques, Winter Park is one of the most dog-friendly towns in Florida. Located within walking distance to Park Avenue, the stylish and exquisitely designed Alfond Inn welcomes four-legged family members with wide open arms and a small fee ($75 per night). The “Very Important Pup” package includes a classic room, specialty dog bowl, a variety of doggie treats and toys (including a tennis ball!), personal dog walk and a donation to Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.
Palm Beach, Vero Beach, Cocoa Beach
Posh pets are welcome at the luxurious shops along Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue. After a day of shopping and lunching, the nearby Brazilian Court is a lavish boutique hotel that’s waiting to pamper you both. Their pet package includes town care service to the Pucci and Catana Luxury Pet Boutique. Jaunt over to the beach where you’ll find more five-star dog-friendly accommodations at Eau Palm Beach and Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. Further north, try Sea Esta Villas, right by the shore for both you and Rover.
With no restrictions and no fees, this luxury ocean-front, Kimpton pet-friendly hotel immediately welcomes your pet at the door with treats, provides doggie beds and bowls for food and water, and is in close proximity to a dog park and stores and bakeries that specialize in homemade dog treats.
With an impressive beachfront location, celebrity-owned Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa is a boutique hotel that has it all — rejuvenating spa, waterfront pool and fine-dining. Not only is this hidden jewel in Vero Beach pet-friendly, there are no extra fees for dogs, and no weight limits. Their “Party Like a Pup Star” package includes a cabana room with king-size bed, welcome mojitos, beach chairs for two, an array of dog treats and toys from a local boutique, a plush doggie bed and valet parking.
The only beachfront boutique pet-friendly hotel in Florida on the island of Palm Beach, Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa features an impressive location, nestled right next to the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Great news for your pooch: as is the case for all Kimpton brand hotels, there are no weight limits or fees for dogs.
Book an oceanfront room and open up all the windows to beckon the sea breeze and sounds of crashing waves. With only 134 rooms and two suites, Tideline features an intimate, escapist atmosphere. One of the best parts about staying at this property is that there is a daily free wine hour from 4 to 5 p.m. at Brandon's on the Beach and pups are welcome to join.
St. Pete Beach
St. Pete is home to Fort De Soto Park, voted one of America’s Best Beaches by Dr. Beach and TripAdvisor and luckily, there’s a stretch of sand reserved for canines. Nearby hotel options include two family favorites: The Loews Don CeSar, a Great Gatsby Era resort that resembles a bright pink sandcastle and TradeWinds Island Grand, a family oasis complete with a three-story slide on the beach. If a vacation rental is your style, Mona Kai Vacation Rentals welcomes even large pets.
Fort Myers and Naples
Fort Myers is home to the infamous Woof-A-Hatchee Dog Park inside the Wa-Ke Hatchee Community Park. Try saying that three times fast. There’s plenty of space for some fun, off-leash action. Head over to the dog beach at Bonita Beach near Lovers Key State Park where your furry friend can splash and play in the calm gulf waters. Pet-friendly rooms are available at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples.
Situated on bustling Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, across from one of Florida’s most popular stretches of white sand, The Atlantic Hotel & Spa is located in the heart of all the action. Be prepared for jaw-dropping ocean views from both the spacious rooms (they’re huge — about twice as big as average hotel rooms) and the pool deck. This beachfront boutique hotel is known for it’s over-the-top friendly staff and service — plus they love furry friends ($125 fee, total per stay). There’s a hidden stash of doggie treats at the concierge desk and every pup that prances through the door is lavished with attention.
Miami, the Florida Keys
With plenty of white sand, dog-friendly beaches and lots of things to do, Miami offers the ultimate canine vacation destination. Head to Hobie Beach, located on the causeway out to Key Biscayne, where there are great views of the skyline and plenty of room to play fetch in the water. Or check out Bark Beach between 80 and 81st Street near the North Shore Open Space Park on Miami Beach.
There are a handful of Aloft brand hotel options and these properties are great because they offer great rates and don’t charge a pet fee: Aloft Miami Doral, Aloft Miami Brickell and Aloft Miami Dadeland, with more properties on the way. Or splurge for a luxe option at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach or the Four Seasons Hotel Miami. Further south in Key Largo, Key Lime Sailing Club and Cottages can offer both you and your pooch a home away from home.
This posh waterfront hotel on Brickell Key knows how to pamper your pets of up to 25 pounds. They receive plush beds and have special culinary choices, such as organic chicken breast. Pesky behavior issues can be addressed with a certified trainer in doggie boot camp. Dogs are walked free once a day and can unwind in style in bathrobes emblazoned with the hotel logo in blue or pink Swarovski crystals.
You and your pets will take in grand views of the Miami River and Key Biscayne at this Kimpton hotel – which accepts any pets with no restrictions on number, weight or size and for no extra charge. Pet pampering amenities include the placement of pet bowls and beds in your room, and the availability of dog leashes and plastic bags for dog walks. Arrangements can be made with the concierge for pet grooming, pet walking, pet sitting and pet massage services.
Jacksonville and Amelia Island
The Jacksonville area is home to plenty of canine-friendly beaches, including Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach. Skip the pet fee at one of the two Aloft brand hotels nearby, including Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park and Aloft Jacksonville Airport. Not only does Aloft not charge pet fees, the brand usually offers great rates and features a stylish, youthful vibe. For an upscale hotel option and five-star service, the Omni Jacksonville Hotel, Omni Amelia Island Resort and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island allow pets for a fee. If you prefer a rental home or condo, try ERA Fernandina Beach Realty, where you can find a buttom for dog-friendly accommodations. Your pampered pooch will love Amelia Island, where leashed pets are welcome on the beaches (with the exception of state parks).
Pet Friendly Hotel and Resort Chains
With about two dozen locations throughout Florida, this luxury hotel allows small dogs or cats at several of its locations, including Sarasota, Orlando and Miami Beach. Policies vary though generally call for pets to be 25 pounds or smaller and limit one per room. Fees also vary by property, and in some cases include a one-time cleaning fee of $250. Be sure to check the individual site policies when making reservations.
This chic, boutique hotel chain by Starwood is pet friendly at its seven Florida locations, which include two in Jacksonville, one in Tallahassee, one in Orlando and three in the Miami area. Part of the welcome package includes a special bed and bowl and a doggie bag full of treats and toys.
Policies vary on weight restrictions. Check for varying fees and deposits at specific locations.
This pet-friendly affordable chain has hotels throughout all of Florida and allows up to two domestic pets per room at no extra charge or fee.
The beach communities of South Walton have a number of properties where dogs are welcome. Check out Beaches of South Walton Vacations and look for designated pet friendly properties.
In the center of the state, the Inn on the Lakes in Sebring accepts pets with a one-time fee, and service animals are welcomed.
Here are some more accommodations where your pooch will be welcome:
‘Tween Waters Inn (Captiva Island)
Bayfront Marin House Bed & Breakfast (St. Augustine)
Boardwalk Beach Resort Hotel & Convention Center (Panama City Beach)
Casa Playa Resort (Fort Myers Beach)
Don Cesar (St. Pete Beach)
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa (Manalapan)
Hilton Melbourne Rialto
Homewood Suites by Hilton Tampa-Port Richey
Hyatt Regency Sarasota
Innisbrook Resort (Palm Harbor)
Naples Bay Resort & Marina
Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
Lotus Boutique Inn & Suites (Daytona Beach)
Radisson Resort at the Port (Cape Canavaral)
Ramada Venice Resort
Riverside Hotel (Fort Lauderdale)
Seaside Amelia Inn
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (Hollywood)
St. Francis Inn (St. Augustine)
The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples
Waterstone Resort & Marina Boca Raton
Wisteria Inn (Panama City Beach)
Here are even more pet-friendly places to stay all around Florida: www.bringfido.com/lodging/state/florida/