While away a weekend in St. Augustine without leaving Bowser behind.
Photographs by Stacey Sather
Founded in 1565, St. Augustine, Florida, is considered the nation’s oldest city. Fortunately for dog lovers, it’s also a pet-friendly destination. With numerous hotels and outdoor cafés that welcome dogs and a historic downtown that’s best explored on foot, St. Augustine is a dog-lover’s dream destination. Your furry friend has the keys to the city as long as he’s well-behaved, leashed and you clean up after him. If you plan on visiting with your pet, winter, spring or fall are the most pleasant seasons.
History on the Go
You and Fido can stretch your legs and your knowledge of local history with Tour St Augustine/City Walks. Dogs are welcome on most tours. The second Saturday of each month, the company offers free Pet Walk Pup Crawls. To cover more ground while maintaining a relaxed pace, hop on an iconic Country Carriage horse and buggy ride. Next, stroll along St. George Street to the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse. After learning about 18th century education, take recess in the garden with your pet. Travelers with dogs can also explore exhibits and enjoy the Spanish Taberna and British Bull and Crown restaurants in the Colonial Quarter. The living history museum is a two-acre time machine spanning three centuries of St. Augustine history.
Dogs may be known as chow hounds, but tourists are likewise tempted when contemplating St. Augustine’s pet-friendly alfresco restaurants. Even upscale eateries like Old City House Inn and Restaurant accommodate diners and lodgers with dogs. Just call ahead to reserve a courtyard table or pet-friendly room. (Pets under 10 pounds stay free.) In the restaurant, servers provide dogs with their own side dish and water bowl. Another option is the patio at The Floridian, a local favorite for regional cuisine. After dining, relax on the Castillo de San Marcos lawn. While dogs aren’t allowed inside the fort, the grounds overlooking Matanzas Bay are the perfect place to watch boats drift by.
A Dog Day Afternoon
Speaking of boats, one of the best ways to see St. Augustine is from the water. The St. Augustine Scenic Cruise offers excellent views of the city, fort and lighthouse.
Got a terrier to tire out before checking into your hotel? Romp on the region’s 42 miles of dog-friendly beaches. If sand and sun aren’t your thing, visit Fountain of Youth Archeological Park. Its shady grounds include a 16th century boatworks, an Indian village and other exhibits. To get the most from your experience, take the guided tour.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
St. Augustine Beach House in nearby Vilano Beach among the friendliest of the area’s pet-friendly hotels. Here, pooches get water bowls, treats, pet waste bag stations and blankets to snooze on. Fees are $20 for the first pet; $5 per pet up to three per room for your total stay. Like a concierge for canines, the staff will suggest dog-friendly restaurants and attractions, too.
For more information, visit www.floridashistoriccoast.com and type “pet friendly” in the search bar.