Dog Friendly Places in Cape Coral and South West Florida!

Cape Coral

Fathoms Restaurant  @ Cape Harbour

Fathoms is definitely a hot spot in SW Cape Coral. With water views, great food, and live entertainment, it’s no wonder this place is so popular. Add to it the fact that it’s pet friendly, and you open up a whole new world. I brought my dog there and felt very comfortable at the over-sized, outdoor patio bar where I sat on a high-top stool talking with friends and listening to music.If you prefer, you can choose an outdoor table where you can enjoy dinner and drinks, and a cool breeze coming off the nearby waterway.

Situated on the Caloosahatchee River, this place is not only one of my favorites, but a prime pick for locals and visitors, residents and boaters, and of course, dog lovers. Fathoms offers both inside and outside dining and, in my opinion, has become known for the best pizza in town. If you like yachts, boats, and water, then you’re in the right place. People watching? You bet! In addition to live entertainment throughout the week, definitely try out Tuesday, Friday and Sunday nights when locals and snowbirds gather for some of the best music performances in town. And don’t forget your furry friend! Fathoms is located in Cape Harbour and is accessible by boat off the Caloosahatchee River or by car from Chiquita Boulevard. Call for details, 239.542.0123.

Rum Runners @ Cape Harbour

Another hot spot in Cape Harbour for you and your doggie is Rum Runners’ outdoor patio. Enjoy amazing conch fritters, great mixed drinks during Happy Hour 3:00pm – 6:30pm, and spectacular views of the water while the sun is setting. Dogs welcome during normal business hours. Be sure to call for details, 239.542.0200.

Monkey Bar and Steakhouse

When I walked into the patio, I immediately f o u n d this place has it all! Friendly faces, great drink specials, sing-a-long entertainers, and a cheerful staff ready to cater to your dog. Bring your pup to the outside dining area where you can enjoy live music and a great steak dinner with your dog right beside you. This bar is definitely a Cape hidden secret! The music, food, atmosphere and staff are top notch. They will even bring your doggie a bowl of ice cold water. Call for details, 239.549.8800.

New England Moorings

This restaurant is a laid back, casual dining and down to earth place to meet friends and have fun. Fish, shrimp, scallops, steaks, ribs, chicken and pork round off the menu. Their Irish cannoli is like a little piece of heaven and the bread pudding is incredible. Both topped off with sweet whipped cream. Here your pup will love to lie in the over-sized patio and enjoy a complimentary “ Barkarita”! Call for details, 239.851.9141.

Slate’s

Slate’s carries the unwavering tradition of serving only the finest fresh, local ingredients, with every menu offering made on-site.  With a Cajun, Creole style menu, this venue perfectly melds five-star tastes with a fun and unforgettable dining experience. Sit beside your dog while enjoying  one of the weekly drink specials or some wine with friends. Call for details, 239.540.6800.

Starlight Diner

Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe will meet you at the entrance of this vintage diner located on Pine Island Rd. Your doggie can rest on the outside patio and enjoy a refreshing water bowl while you reminisce with tunes from a Wurlitzer Juke Box. An All-American menu will satisfy any taste buds! Call for details, 239.800.2267.

Time to Eat

Delicious, fresh Mediterranean food from delicate Serrano ham,  to tasty squid risotto and succulent lamb ribs, with fabulous homemade desserts. You can sit with your doggie in one of the two tables outside where the staff will make sure you and your pup feel a part of their family! Call for details, 239.573.6360.

Ceno Grille

Is the second restaurant of local owner George Lukas, and a genuine locals’ favorite! George incorporates his mothers’ original recipes with influence from his prior Italian restaurant, and Maryland style of cooking seafood. Ceno’s is the place to go when craving Greek and Italian cuisine, whether you dine inside or out (or take your meal to go). Tucked away in a strip center on the corner of Chiquita and Cape Coral Parkway in SW Cape, Ceno’s is the perfect place for lunch or dinner. Check out all the action while dining al fresco with your doggie. With a beer and wine bar, a tasty beverage is only an order away! Call for details, 239.549.2366.

The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village

Sometimes it’s just too difficult to leave your furry friend behind when you travel! The Westin Cape Coral Resort @ Marina Village welcomes pets up to 50 lbs. There is no pet fee. Call for more information, 239. 541. 5000. Be sure to visit their pet friendly outdoor bar, The Nauti Mermaid, 239.541.5600.

Holiday Inn Express

This dog friendly hotel is located in the heart of Cape Coral. Enjoy cool breezes from the nearby Caloosahatchee River and warm sunshine while you venture out with your best four legged friend! Holiday Inn’s pet policy is a $20 daily fee and a 30lbs weight limit. Be sure to call for details, 239.542.2121. Located @ 1538 Cape Coral Parkway.

Hampton Inn Suites

This beautiful hotel is conveniently located in downtown Cape Coral. The Hampton Inn welcomes dogs for a $25 pet fee, no weight limit. Be sure to call for details, 239.540.1050. Located @ 619 SE 47th Terrace.

Water City Grill

This vintage Cape inspired restaurant offers outside patio service that is pet friendly. Try out their different menu items, featuring everything from sandwiches to steak. Try their famous broasted chicken platter- it is mouthwatering! Located @ 1404 Cape Coral Pkwy E. Call for details, 239.471.2075.

Waggin Tails Dog Park at Rotary Park, Cape Coral

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Rotary Park is home to the best dog park in the Cape. With two separate fenced in areas for big dogs and small dogs, your pooch is sure to make friends quickly with fellow pups and their humans! Drop by for a quick run inside the fenced-in area, or take your pooch for a nice long walk inside the park, around the track. It’s a perfect summer day when you can enjoy beautiful scenery, and a nice hike in the park. Look for gazebos with picnic tables where you and your pooch can take a break, listen to nature’s sounds, and look for critters.

The preserved area is gorgeous and cannot be developed, excluding the 9 acres of upland that a building, the dog park and the open areas currently occupy. The 4,200 square foot environmental center is used for gardening and nature related classes, exercise classes, summer camp, and is home to the Burrowing Owl Festival and large native plant sales. It is also available to rent for small to medium sized gatherings, as long as you don’t mind partying with a few creatures! A variety of small critters reside in the nature center including snakes, frogs, lizards and turtles.

Stop by the butterfly house donated by the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife. View all the beautiful butterflies and plants from the outside of the house every day, pick up information on how to attract them to your yard, or take a tour every Friday. Free tours of the butterfly house are given each Monday, Friday and Saturday at 10:30am. Monetary donations are accepted by the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife for maintenance of the butterfly house. Tour Rotary Park.

Visit the Liam J. Perk Memorial Playground or try out the exercise equipment and trail. Visit the  Liam J. Perk Foundation website for Liam’s touching story. Call for details, 239.549.4606.

  • Walk-in dog park registrations accepted Monday thru Saturday 8:00am-3:30pm.
  • Facility Hours:  Monday-Saturday 8am-4pm excluding government holidays.
  • Park Hours: Dawn-Dusk.
  • Rotary Park Environmental Center, 5505 Rose Garden Road, Cape Coral, FL 33914
  • Phone: 239.549.4606 rotaryparkinfo@capecoral.net

Dog Days Delight

With a slogan like: “No Paws, No Drooling, No Service”, how can you go wrong? The best thing about this facility is it’s CAGELESS! That means your furry family member doesn’t have to stay at home locked up in a crate all day with nothing to do but stare at the walls. Dog Days Delight offers everything for your pooch to be happy: A cage-free facility, play time, grooming, baths, vet services, daycare from a few hours to several days, and of course, love. They believe a doggie should not be stuck in a crate all day alone.

Their mission is to give your dog a vacation away from home, full of fun and without any stress. In Dog Days Delight you can also find toys, accessories, and treats for your pup and they carry food brands such as Nile, Blue Buffalo, LiveFree, Earthborn, Merrick and many more! With all of these amenities the biggest problem you’ll have will be to get your dog to go home.Call for details, 239.471.0414.

The Beach Dog

The first time I visited the bakery I was looking for a birthday treat for my dog. Wow, does this place have everything! Besides so many treats from which to choose, I couldn’t stop looking at all the specialty items, like a really cool German shepherd key holder I had to have and toys, toys, toys. I mean, really good toys – not the kind that easily falls apart. They also offer great dog food, nutritional treats, harnesses, leads, collars and hard-to-find items. Some food brands they carry include California Natural, EVO, Innova, Canidae, Wellness, Eagle Pack Holistic Select, Solid Gold, and Merrick. The bakery isn’t just for dogs – so you cat lovers come on by too! Located @ 3512 Del Prado Blvd S. Call for details, 239.542.9663.

Lowes / Home Depot / Ace Hardware

Need to get some shopping done but uncomfortable leaving your pet behind? No worries! Both Lowe’s and Home Depot in Cape Coral are pet friendly. And Ace Hardware in downtown Cape Coral next to Winn Dixie also welcomes pets.  Now  your home shopping needs can be  done  with  your best friend. Call for details. Lowe’s, 239.573.6377. Home Depot, 239.656.3033.  Ace Hardware, 239.549.4260.

Stevie Tomato’s  Sports  Grill

Since 1999, Stevie Tomato’s has been a great spot for food, fun and entertainment.  If you are looking for a Sports Bar and Grill, this is the place to go!  Family fun includes bringing the family pup along to watch the game, and enjoy great food.  Voted Best Sports Bar, Best Baby Back Ribs, Chicken Wings, and Happy Hour! Cape Coral on Pine Island Road, 239.573.7877.

Anthony’s on the Blvd

This little secret is a jewel of a place!  You and your dog can enjoy a table on the patio and a great seafood or Italian dish, entertainment, and daily Happy Hour from 11am – 7pm.  Located @ 1303 Del Prado Blvd, 239.772.5900. Thursday is comedy night!

Ford’s Garage

This 1920’s prohibition era burger and beer joint has become one of several “hot spots” in the Cape. Fun for  you and your dog! Ford’s Garage patio is ready for you and your doggie to enjoy. Open for lunch and dinner with full menus, such as: burgers, salads, light appetizers, and great beverages. Ford’s Garage will give you the vibe of being in a 1920′s service station/prohibition bar with its old style brick, dark colors, rich wood and hand- hammered copper bar top. 1719 Cape Coral Pkwy E., 239.540.3673.

Dairy Queen

Anytime is the right time for an ice cream! Or better yet, how about a burger, chicken wrap, or even a salad?  No matter your c raving, Dairy Queen has it all. Bring your pup for a treat and enjoy the Florida weather outside at a DQ table. Located on 1419 NE Pine Island Rd, 239.574.8239.

Ice Sssscreamin

Cooling off from a warm summer day in the Cape is a must! So how about enjoying delicious ice c ream at Cape Coral’s ice cream shop, “Ice Sssscreamin”! Snack on all the favorites: sundaes, banana splits, brown cows, Italian ices, root-beer floats, frozen yogurt, sugar-free ice cream, and rainbow sherbet. Bring your doggie along for a tasty treat after a trip to the dog park at Rotary Park. Be sure to call for hours/details, 239.541.9100, 520 Cape Coral Pkwy E.

First Round Draft

Pet friendly on the full-service waterfront patio, you can enjoy a menu filled with bold-flavored, made-to-order items, including a variety of appetizers, a Kids Menu, specialty salads, burgers, deli sandwiches, wraps, pastas, seafood and steaks, with boat dockage on the Honolulu Canal. Watch the game on the outside bar, 239.673.9010.

Fort Myers & Fort Myers Beach

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The Shell Factory, Fort Myers

Be sure to take your four-legged friend on your next trip to the Shell Factory in Fort Myers. Inside you will find the perfect dog park known as “Doggy Heaven”. You can also bring your dog over to the outdoor Dog Bones Cafe for a special doggie treat! The restaurant is the perfect spot to stop off for a cool drink between shopping, activities in the Fun Park, and a visit to the Nature Park. Get your adrenaline fix on the Soaring Eagle zip line for only $8.50 per person!

The Shell Factory has been a Southwest Florida staple for more than 70 years. With more than five million shells  and over 18 acres of shopping, displays and entertainment, you and your pup are sure to have a blast. Call 239.995.2141. Visit  www.shellfactory.com for exclusive coupons and calendar of events.

Nervous Nellie’s, Fort Myers Beach

Is a casual, family-fun restaurant that boasts a large selection of appetizers, fresh seafood, over- stuffed sandwiches and entrees. Dine in air- conditioned comfort or outside on Nellie’s expansive waterfront patio. Free parking for car and boat. Each time I visit this place, I have more fun than the last!  Bring your doggie and sit on the patio – typically you will be directed to the perimeter of the patio to enjoy dinner, drinks, live music with your friends, and your pup close at your feet.

This place is popular which means it is busy – especially in season, so you might have to wait a few minutes. But not to worry, take a walk on the nearby doc ks and tour the boats, or take a photo in the HUGE over-sized beach chair!  Get ready to make some memories! 1131 1st St, 239.463.8077.

Parrot Key Caribbean  Grill, Fort Myers Beach

Looking for a Key West type of experience? The minute I walked into Parrot Key, the Key West mood overwhelmed me! This casual open-air restaurant features a spectacular view of Matanzas Harbor a n d offers the best in tropical drinks, tempting appetizers and delicious entrees. Special seating is available for you and your dog on the right side of the restaurant – a prime view in g spot that overlooks the water. The staff and others seem to gravitate to you once they see you with the cutest dog in the world! Soak up the stunning waterfront views and enjoy live entertainment Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Call, 239.463.3257.

The Fish House,  Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs & Sanibel

If you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, try out The Fish House, a funky seafood restaurant accessible by boat or car. Located right on the water, this colorful restaurant is not only pet friendly but offers a wide range of delectable seafood, from fried lobster nuggets to oysters on the half shell. Soak up the sun with your pup at your side. They even have two other pet friendly location on Bonita Beach Road in Bonita Springs and Sanibel Island. Fort Myers Beach, 239.765.6766. Bonita Beach, 239.495.5770. Sanibel, 239.472.7770.

Matanzas on the Bay, Fort Myers Beach

This hidden secret offers fabulous views of the Bay whether you choose the upper or lower deck. If you have a big dog, I would suggest the upper deck because there is a lot of room to spread out, great corner tables overlooking the water and the lower deck – all for your dog’s viewing pleasure! My dog was offered a bowl of water and had a few pepperonis for an appetizer. The service is great, the food is great and the location – wow what a view! Take 2 rights just as you arrive on the island over the bridge from the north. The entertainment is just right – an acoustic singer with lots of variety including Jimmy Buffett, Credence Clearwater, James Taylor, and Pink Floyd. Dogs welcome! 414 Crescent St between 1st and 2nd, 239.463.3838.

The Connection Bar & Grill, Fort Myers

Dogs are welcome at this grill, located in the heart of the downtown River District in Fort Myers. The Connection has been a local mainstay since 1977. A casual atmosphere combined with a friendly staff and great food makes this a downtown favorite. Whether it’s a quick lunch or casual dinner, you are sure to enjoy. Open Monday through Thursday, 11:00am to 10:00pm; Friday and Saturday, 11:00am to midnight.  Sunday’s from 11am to 4pm. Call 239.332.4443

Beyond the Cape

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Coconut Point Mall, Estero

This Simon Mall has been pet friendly since opening in 2005. With doggie water fountains and clean up bags all around the property, your dog feels welcome no matter where you are. Most stores and restaurants are dog friendly – keep in mind it is up to individual stores whether they allow dogs inside. Dogs must be well behaved, leashed, and under their owner’s control at all times. This great center has monthly events dedicated to our beloved furry friends; for example, the first Thursday of every month from 6:00pm-8:00pm is Dog’s Night Out.  Check the web site for the most recent info, or call to find out more.

This place has it all! 140 stores and over 25 restaurants – all surrounding    several acres of lakes with a boardwalk, and everything in every price range.

Coconut Point Hyatt Regency Resort

Is a dog friendly resort, situated on 26 acres with a championship golf course, tennis course and numerous swimming pools, bars and restaurants. Call 239.444.1234 for additional information.

  • Reservations with a pet must be booked directly through the hotel 3 days in advance
  • Charges a one-time $150.00 fee (1-6 days)
  • Dogs up to 50 lbs. are accepted
  • A doggie bed and treat/water dish provided in-room

Bell Tower Shops, Fort Myers

This dog-friendly mall is an open-air lifestyle center, located in Fort Myers at U.S. 41 and Daniels Parkway, with 40 retailers, inc luding Saks Fifth Avenue, The Fresh Market, nine restaurants inc luding Bistro 41, and Bell Tower 20 Regal Cinemas. The center’s sidewalk garden setting of lush landscaping, splashing fountains and

covered walkways makes it a popular gathering place. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the center. DOGS welcome in most stores, including Ann Taylor. There are loads of special events happening at this center, including dog friendly activities and events! To learn more call 239.489.1221.

Dog Beach, Bonita Springs

Believe it or not, there is a beach right here in SW Florida made just for dogs!  The Dog Beach is located just south of Fort Myers Beach off Estero Blvd, as you are passing Lovers Key State Park and entering Bonita Springs. Watch closely for a small sign that marks the location off to the right. Parking is just off the side of the road. Be sure to check for “high tide or low tide” because it makes a difference in how easily it is to walk to the beach. There is a bit of a trail to get there, and at high tide, you may find yourself wading in knee-high waters to get to the actual beach. Once you follow the trail, it is well worth it – the beach opens up in front of you and it is beautiful! On good days (low tide) there is quite a bit of area to play, frolic, set up a beach chair, and enjoy your favorite beverage. Throw a stick, football, tennis ball, and even swim with your best buddy right in the Gulf. Keep in mind a good pet owner always watches their pet. If you have a boat, anchor near the beach, and let your dog cool off while playing with his new furry friends.

Picnic Island, from  Cape Coral

Jump on your boat with your pup and head out to the Gulf! From Cape Coral, this island is located just west of Marker 101 at the Pine Island and Fort Myers Beach split.  Look for a fabulous little island where families enjoy playing with their pooch. It’s a great place to stop, have lunch (it’s a “bring your own food” thing), and most importantly, play and swim with your dog! This little hideaway has become known as a stomping ground for pups and humans alike and a nice break from the sun as you are boating towards one of your favorite destinations. If you’re feeling really adventurous, bring a tent, camp out, gaze at the stars, and stay the night. It’s the perfect little island getaway that’s not too far from home.

Fred’s Food, Fun & Spirits, Naples

Get 5 star foods at 2 star prices while having fun with friends and family! Fred’s offers entertainment almost every night and even hosts Poker games on Friday! Named after one of the owner’s 14 pound Chihuahua, this diner thrives on welcoming you and your furry friends where Fred’s patio is always pet friendly! Fred’s has a tapas menu and two bars that will serve your favorite cocktail. Call for details, 239.431.7928.

The Dock at Crayton  Cove, Naples

“The Real Taste of Naples” Waterfront dining in the heart of Old Naples where 12th Ave South meets Naples Bay. Their Bloody Mary cocktail was awarded “Best in Naples” by the readers of Naples Illustrated magazine! The Dock’s Bloody Mary Bar is available on Sundays from 10:30am- 2:00pm. Call, 239.263.9940.

The Survey Café, Bonita Springs

The Survey Café is a small historic house turned Café in old Florida tradition. The name “survey” was from the original name of Bonita Springs, which was a c amp for survey crews long ago. There is always an antique hand tool, historic local photograph, or unique original local art piece hanging on the walls, and generally there’s a “local” there to tell you about it. Sit on the patio with your pup for all-day breakfast every day and all-day brunch on Sundays. Call for details, 239.992.2233.

Island Cafe on the Bay, Matlacha

Island Cafe on the Bay is a water front dine/carry out restaurant. They specialize in broasted chicken, seafood, and Love Boat ice cream (14 flavors). There’s no better place to dine on the water and see sunset than this café on the bay. So, how do they make their famous broasted chicken? It’s a pressure cooking method that keeps meat juicy and tender inside and crispy on the outside without being greasy. With conventional frying, 30% of the oil is absorbed; but with broasting, only 2% is absorbed. Bring your pup or doggie, have dinner on the patio and check out the amazing waterfront views of Matlacha Pass; it is one of the most incredible places to view sunsets!!! 239.540.3463.

Bert’s Bar, Matlacha

Come by  boat or car to the best kept  sec  ret  on   Pine Island   in Matlacha. As the song s ay s, some folks come for the music, and some come  for the view of beautiful Matlacha Pass. Either way, I found locals  and  tourists alike having a blast at one of Pine Island’s favorite watering holes. Sit on the edge of the dock   and dangle   your  feet close to the water, while your dog lies at  your side, or choose to sit on the patio at a picnic table with your  doggie.  Another  local’s favorite, the audience at Bert’s is a wide variety of fun loving people; anyone is welcome and everyone feels  welcome as soon as they walk in! Bert’s Bar hosts the BEST bands in town, focusing on the BLUES. 239.282.3232.

The Waterfront  Restaurant, St. James City

Have you ever wondered what happens at the southernmost tip of St. James City? Take a look at the map and it appears the road just ends. Well guess what? The street literally ends at the water’s edge overlooking San Carlos Bay. It’s the perfect place to bring your doggie for a quick jaunt in the water, then for a bite to eat. The Waterfront is the hot spot on the southern tip of Pine Island. Inside I found this  place has a ton of personality. I couldn’t stop looking at the walls, the ceiling, and behind the bar. Everywhere I looked there was some original piece of “artwork” created or donated by previous patrons and regulars. It could literally take you all day to get through the decor! Bring your dog and hang out on the back deck while you watch the sunset directly over the water. Come by boat or car. Call for details, 239.283.0592.

Miceli’s  Restaurant, Matlacha

This is a down-to-earth, waterfront restaurant specializing in Italian & American meals, plus l i v e music seven days a week under the tiki where you can jam out to your favorite tunes with your pup. Miceli’s was voted “Best Happy Hour” on Pine Island three years in a row. Check out their great deals Tues, Wed, and Thurs nights. If it’s your birthday come on out and Miceli’s will g i v e you a FREE meal (with valid ID). There’s always something to c lebrate here with your furry friends! Call for details, 239.282.8233.

Saltwater Smokehouse, Saint James City

From baby back ribs, black beans and rice, to pulled pork and slow smoked brisket, slaw and fries, to roasted chicken and home-made mac n’ cheese, this restaurant mixes traditional Southern BBQ flavor with the local SW Florida seafood culture. Mouthwatering meat is smoked slowly on premises from 6 to 20 hours, covered with a special dry rub and served with your choice of sauce. Your doggie can rest on the deck area while you savor the smoking flavors! Call for details, 239.282.8811.

Island Seafood Market & Restaurant, Matlacha

Both a market and seafood restaurant, this popular place offers fresh and smoked fish, shrimp, chowder and crab cakes. In addition, they carry a variety of specialty spices, original sauces and dips, and products to compliment your seafood. The freshness is unmatched in Island’s because they catch their own fish  and work alongside local fishermen to make sure the customer’s dine in or dine at home experience is like no other. You and your pup can sit out back and the staff will gladly bring your little friend a water bowl. Call for details, 239.283.2525.

Lazy Flamingo 3, Bokeelia

The Lazy Flamingo has a menu consisting of high quality, uniquely seasoned entrees such as steamed shrimps, fried shrimp, conch fritters, and Buffalo wings. Dogs are allowed at outdoor tables. With three locations in Sanibel, Fort Myers and Bokelia, there is always a Lazy Flamingo close-by for you and your pup to visit! Look for a variety of “signature” dishes Including the famous Flamingo garlic bread, dead parrot wings (try at your own risk) and Teri hot wings. Call for details, 239.283.5959.

Keylime  Bistro, Captiva Island

The Award winning Keylime Bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is sure to tantalize the most demanding palate, with a full bar and live entertainment featured 7 days a week.  This restaurant was awarded #1 for island dining by the News Press, the local newspaper. Located in “Olde Captiva”, this is the perfec t place to take your pup for a walk while enjoying the beautiful views of this undisturbed town. After lunch or dinner you can head out to the crystal clear beaches nearby. Call for details, 239.395.4000.

Woody’s, St. James City

For dog owners, I consider this a must-visit restaurant! Situated along the water in St. James City, Woody’s is an Old Florida original – laid back, nothing fancy. Just cold beer, fresh Gulf seafood, and great burgers! Whether jumping in the car to visit a new place, or enjoying a day out on the water, Woody’s is your one stop shop for great food, great atmosphere, and great company. Located in the heart of St. James City and Old Pine Island, you will find fresh ingredients, local seafood, and a wonderful menu with a little something for everyone. Be sure to bring your pup, order a LandShark beer with a plate of shrimp, and hang out for music on the back patio. What a great day to spend with friends and your dog! It doesn’t get much better than this. Come by boat or car.

I also learned Woody’s has a great story to tell for dog lovers. The restaurant is named after a pure bred yellow Labrador, born in 1994 outside Lightstreet, PA, a town boasting a small population of about 450. Woodrow Wilson (Woody for short) was definitely not the runt of the litter… in fact, he is all paws, a giant dump truck sized head, and most importantly a huge heart. There was never a bigger, gentler dog around. He was more than happy to lie around and be a jungle gym to all the kids in the family. Woody was a true character. Want to learn more? Go to Woody’s and read the rest of the story on the menu. Call for details, 239.283.5555.

RC Otters, Captiva Island

When I think of one of the best places here in SW Florida, I think of RC Otter’s. Here’s why: Your dog is welcome, they offer tasty food at an affordable price, tropical drinks, Jimmy Buffet type entertainment, a casual atmosphere, and a friendly staff. You can even play a game of ring toss with complete strangers, who after a few beers, and love pats for your dog, become your friends! This is a place for the whole family. Located in the heart of old Captiva Village, on Andy Rosse Lane. Call for details, 239.395.1142.

Fisherman’s Village, Punta Gorda

The Village Fish Market, Harpoon Harry’s, and the Oyster Bar, are three separate restaurants at Fisherman’s Village that offer pet friendly accommodations. You can even bring  your pet inside the promenade as long as they are on a leash, or carried if you have a small pup. Enjoy live music, waterfront views, casual dining, and a full-service bar with your furry friend at your side. Call for details, 941.639.8721.

Blue Dog Bar & Grill, Matlacha

Blue Dog is names after the owner’s first dog, Blue. This bar and grill serves up SW Florida’s favorite dishes including local mullet, fried with grits for breakfast, smoked in dip as a starter, and blackened with lemon-caper sauce come dinner. Steaks are hand- cut in house. Cracked conch is fried in panko breadcrumbs and served with Asian chili sauce. Whether your dog’s name is Blue or not, pass by with your pup and see for yourself what every local and tourist is raving about! 239.558.4970.

Pooch Park, North Fort Myers

Pooch Park, located at  Judd  Park, h a s  large and small dog areas with potable water available for both do g s a n d owners.  The  entire  system is irrigated to maintain the turf and to regularly clean the facility. Dog lovers are asked to use the facility and pick up after their dogs. The standard rules apply : Keep dogs in fenced areas when off their leashes, “scoop the poop” with provided bags and deposit in trash cans, carry a leash, and if your dog digs, fill in the holes. Located off Driftwood Drive and Parkview Court. Call, 239.229.1627.

Buckingham Community  Park, North Fort Myers

This is the first Lee County and Recreations park providing recreational opportunities for  dog owners and their pets. Look for two fenced in areas for dogs to play off leash. There is a small agility area, too. There is also a smaller fenced area for shy/small dogs and puppies. They have dog water fountains, a dog shower, dog waste disposal centers, park  benches and many trails to walk your dog on leash. 9800 Buckingham Road, 239.369.1521. You can find a Lee County brochure of the amenities and rules of this dog park by clicking:  Lee County Dog Park Brochure.

Koreshan  State Park, Estero

It’s always a good time taking a self-guided tour of the Koreshan gardens and buildings. You can sit along the Estero River in the shade of the historic Bamboo Landing, or watch the Koreshan story play out in the founder’s house. Picnic facilities are available for a comfortable day along the Estero River.  Or, if activity is what you crave, rent a canoe/kayak and paddle 3. 5 miles out to Mound Key Archeological State Park.  You can even set up c amp for the weekend -everything from tents to motorhomes . Domestic pets are permitted In designated day-use areas . Call for information on park fees, camping fees, and guided tours, 239.992.0311.

Love Boat Home Made Ice Cream

The most popular place for ice cream near Ft Myers Beach, you will find some of the most delicious home- made ice cream in SW Florida. With lines literally out the door, and during season extending alongside the building, it is well worth the wait! My favorite is the “grasshopper” flavor with chocolate cookie chunks and mint flavored ice cream. It is fabulous! My dog gets a small doggie vanilla ice cream cup and we both enjoy our treats sitting at the picnic table directly out front, people watching of course. It is magical to watch how my baby girl (now 11), makes people smile. Ice cream and petting a dog – what could be better? Choose from 50+ flavors of the creamiest ice cream, sugar/fat free selections, sorbets, and more! Bring your furry baby for a warm and fuzzy experience. 239.466.7077.

2 locations: 16229 San Carlos Blvd, Ft. Myers (on the way to Ft Myers Beach near Kelly Rd) and 1700 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel Island. There is also a place on Matlacha that serves a few flavors of LOVE BOAT ice cream called Island Cafe, which is also pet-friendly.

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