How to navigate Miami with your four-legged friend

By Shayne Benowitz | Aug 18, 2017
Dog on bed at Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Ponce de Leon felt like a VIP (Very Important Pet) during his stay at Mandarin Oriental, Miami

Everything you need to know about traveling to Miami with your pet.

If you’re traveling to Miami with your pet in tow, you’ll be glad to know there are plenty of amenities and activities throughout the city to make travel planning a cinch. You’ll want to start by ensuring that the hotel you’re staying at is pet-friendly and familiarize yourself with local pet daycare and boarding options, as well as veterinarians. Beyond that, there are plenty of pet-friendly parks, outdoor shopping streets, beaches and beyond for you and your four-legged friend to explore in Miami.

Planning Ahead

Traveling with a pet requires a certain level of advance planning. Not only do you need to make sure you have everything you need for your trip, but you also have to pack for your pet and make appropriate arrangements. You’ll want to make sure your pet is up-to-date on her vaccinations and this paperwork may be required at hotels and dog beaches throughout the city. Make a packing checklist for your pet: food, toys, bed, medication, wee-wee pads, waste bags, treats, etc. In some cases, hotels and parks provide these amenities, so double check ahead of time to streamline your packing.

Pet-Friendly Hotels

The good news is, more hotels than ever are pet-friendly, especially when it comes to dogs. Many hotels also welcome cats and other domestic animals, but it’s important to check with your hotel to find out exactly what their pet policy is. It varies from property to property. It’s also important to note that housekeeping staff typically won’t service your room with an unattended animal inside, so make arrangements to take your pup out for a walk while your room is being cleaned.

Kimpton Hotels are amongst the most pet-friendly and Miami is home to three of them: the Epic downtown and the Surfcomber and Angler’s in South Beach. Your animals are welcome free of charge and they’re spoiled with a handful of VIP (Very Important Pet) amenities, including plush doggie beds on loan, toys, food, water bowls and mats. They’ll also get a special treat on their bed during turn down service. Check with the concierge for a list of pet-friendly restaurants, parks, groomers and boutiques nearby.

Other pet-friendly hotels in Miami include 1 Hotel South Beach and Washington Park Hotel where pets stay free. There are many other Miami hotels such as the Loews Miami Beach that accept pets with fees that range from $50 to $175.

Daycare, Boarding & Veterinarians

If you know you’ll be busy during your trip, consider boarding your pet overnight or having her spend time at doggie daycare. There are several fun, safe places available where she’ll have adequate company and care. Many facilities will walk your pet multiple times a day, offer pick-up and delivery and provide cage-less playtime. Try Rio Pet Grooming, Alton Road Animal Hospital or Wags to Wishes. Trusted veterinarians include the Silver Bluff Animal Clinic, Sunset Animal Clinic and Brickell Bay Animal Hospital.

Bark Parks & Bark Beaches

Miami is home to a wide variety of dog parks and dog-friendly beaches across the city. On Miami Beach, you can find shaded dog parks with enclosed areas designated for both small and large dogs along with amenities like water fountains, benches, waste bags and receptacles. These dog parks include the Flamingo Bark Park, Pinetree Bark Park, Washington Avenue Bark Park, Belle Isle Bark Park, North Shore Open Space Park and South Pointe Park. Find out all the details at the Bark Park website.

In Miami, head to Coconut Grove and the sprawling David T. Kennedy Park where you’ll find running paths, beach volleyball, wooden docks and two dog runs with scenic views of Biscayne Bay. Tropical Park in West Miami is a large suburban park that offers everything from boxing to an equestrian center. Their bark park, divided between large and small dogs, is located near a small lake and offers a water spray station and tire jumps.

There are also a handful of dog-friendly beaches across Miami, including Haulover Beach Park, Bark Beach at North Shore Open Space Park and Hobie Island Beach Park directly off the Rickenbacker Causeway on the way to Key Biscayne. If your pup has never experienced surf, sand and sun, it’s a joyful time that you’ll both enjoy. Just be sure to pack plenty of water, waste bags and monitor your pet to make sure she doesn’t get overheated in Miami’s subtropical sunshine. Hours and fees vary at bark beaches, so be sure to check ahead of your visit.

Shopping Adventures

What’s a trip to Miami without a little shopping? Dog Bar is a fun pet boutique on Lincoln Road that specializes in cutesy toys, treats and grooming products for your pampered pooch, like champagne and berry-scented shampoo, Sniffany + Co. or Alexander Mutt Queen chew toys and dog beds that looks like fancy shrunken couches.

Lincoln Road, itself, is arguably Miami’s de facto doggie mecca with a Yappy Hour every third Thursday. On a sunny, breezy afternoon, you might find yourself outnumbered by the pooches seated beneath café tables or prancing along the mall on leashes. That’s the beauty of many of Miami’s most desirable shopping centers—they’re outdoors and dog-friendly. In addition to Lincoln Road, you can also take your pup shopping at Bal Harbour Shops, The Shops at Merrick Park and the Design District.

Doggie Dining

When it comes to taking your pet out to eat, a good rule of thumb is that any restaurant with outdoor café seating is probably dog-friendly, but it’s always a good idea to call ahead and be certain. Some of the best spots on Lincoln Road include The Café at Books and Books, Spris pizza and Shake Shack where there’s even an item on the menu for your pooch, the poochini, a frozen treat made of peanut butter. Coconut Grove is another paradise for dining with your pup with its many outdoor cafes, including the Peacock Garden Café, Greenstreet Café and Lulu in the Grove, amongst many other spots.

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