Dogs on Beach

Off Leash Area. Photo from Lee County Parks

If you’re a (good) dog owner, you will want to know what the rules are for taking your dog on the beach while you’re visiting. Fortunately, Lee County is one of the apparently few counties in Florida which allow you to take your dog on the beach, and Fort Myers Beach also has not passed any laws to ban dogs from the beach, similar to a number of other towns such as Bonita Springs, aka Bonita Beach.

The rules that allow dogs on Fort Myers Beach are important to follow, so the ability to take your dog to the beach won’t be lost because the county or city is forced to revisit their rules because of complaints. Please follow the rules, and be a good dog owner.

Rules for Dogs on Fort Myers Beach

  • Dogs must be on leash at all times – although I don’t know if officially allowed, a number of dogs are off leash while swimming in the water off the beach and it has not caused any problems that I have heard of.
  • You must pick up after your dog

Where You Can Take Your Dog

  • Anywhere on the public beach on Estero Island (Fort Myers Beach) and Sanibel, Captiva. In Lee County, the cities can restrict this ability, but these locations have chosen not to do so. However, Bonita Beach has elected to do this so dogs are not allowed.
  • Dog Beach on Lovers Key. Not to be confused with the state park which is also on Lovers Key, Dog Beach is a small stretch of beach that is kind of hidden but very easily accessible. See below for more information.

Where You Can’t Take Your Dog

  • Dogs are not allowed in county parks. This includes Bowditch park at the north end of the island and Lynn Hall park next to the pier.
  • Dogs are not allowed in state parks. That means no dogs inside Lovers Key State Park. Don’t confuse this with Lovers Key Dog Park where dogs are welcome, as mentioned above.
  • Any private beach access that have signs which say no dogs or pets allowed.
  • Any businesses that have signs which say no dogs or pets allowed. If in question, ask the owner or manager first.

Go Off Leash at Dog Beach

Dog Beach is probably the best bet for getting some off leash time with your dog while at Fort Myers Beach. There are a couple dog parks around, but the beach is a lot more fun, especially if your dog likes being in the water. Dog beach is quite small though, and very susceptible to the tide. At high tide, there is not much beach at all, and even on low tide the beach is not very large. However, the water is very shallow for quite a ways out, and there is ample opportunity to let your dog play in it. Dog beach is usually not very crowded during the week, but weekends can be quite busy.

Getting to Dog Beach

It is very simple to get to Dog Beach from Fort Myers Beach. Just follow Estero Blvd south from the main island of Fort Myers Beach, and cross the bridge onto Lovers Key. The road will curve to the right, and you will cross another small bridge but still be on Lovers Key and the road will straighten out. Drive past the entrance to the State Park, and watch for a spot on the right just before the next bridge. There are usually a few cars parked off the side of the road, and there is a small sign. Park here, and walk down the path until you get to the beach – it’s not very far at all.

The address is officially stated as 8800 Estero Blvd, and you can get a Google Map link here.