Traveling with Pets in the Florida Keys!
By Joe Laing
Traveling to the Florida Keys in an RV is a great way to take a vacation while taking your pet or pets along with you at the same time. You will be driving from the southeastern tip of Florida across vast bridges and small islands to the southernmost tip of the U.S. And since the Keys are so pet-friendly, it’s the ideal getaway for the entire family.
It’s a long drive to Key West, and you’ll want to stop often to take in the sights on the various Keys you cross along the way. There are plenty of places to stay, but you will always want to plan in advance and book ahead. The Sunshine Key RV Resort on Big Pine Key allows pets. Also, on Grassy Key you’ll find Jolly Roger Travel Park, however you will be required to make a deposit when bringing a pet. At the Key Largo Kampground and Marina your dog’s size must be less than 40 pounds and you cannot be toting more than two pets. Pets are permitted at Sugarloaf Key/Key West KOA and they even have an interactive dog park just for your four-legged travel companion!
You need to have a place to let your dog out to run and get some exercise and the different parks on the Keys provide this. The most popular and talked about dog park in Key West is the Higgs Beach Dog Park, with areas for separating large and small dogs and drinking water provided. It is oceanside, which makes it nice for you.
Long Key State Park has nature trails to explore, and lots of plants and wildlife. Pets must be leashed and are allowed in many areas as long as they are well-behaved. The same is true for Curry Hammock State Park in Marathon, Florida. You’ll love exploring the mangrove swamps and wetlands there.
All through the year, you’ll find many events for visitors. One of the best for dog-lovers is the 8th Annual Key West Dachshund Walk. It is free to attend and you will love watching this unique gathering of dachshunds from around the world. The parade is short but sweet, so be sure to be there right on time at noon. It will probably be over by 1:00! National media coverage will be happening so get ready for some crowds as well.
A wonderfully thrilling activity in the Florida Keys is fishing, of course. You can charter a fishing trip with Dirty Water Charters and get yourself a trophy catch. This company allows dogs under 50 pounds to come along if they are well-behaved!
At the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key, you are in for a treat. Not only are dogs allowed (on a short leash) but you will discover thousands of acres of forests and wetlands to explore. You will find Blue Hole is an interesting place to visit and Jack Watson’s Nature Trail, too.
You’ll also find that John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is another great place to stay for a while. There is an RV campground conveniently inside the park. If you want to fish here, you can do so in designated areas, and you’ll need a saltwater fishing license.
Curry Hammock State Park provides a wonderful and thriving habitat for the wildlife of these tropics. If you have kids with you, they can play at the playground. There are picnic tables and grills and mangrove swamps to wander. The weather should be ideal this time of year, but you should still keep that suntan lotion close at hand.
The dog-friendly beaches are a great way to spend an afternoon. Take your pet to Veteran’s Memorial Park located on Little Duck Key. If dogs are leashed, they are allowed here. Anne’s Beach is another place to get some quiet, with nice secluded stretches of beach. Walk along the boardwalk with your pet leashed and enjoy some winter sun.
Remember, traveling with a dog is never completely simple, but you can make it as easy as possible when taking your vacation in an RV. Take your pet with you whenever possible. If you do leave an animal in an RV while you go off exploring, be sure to leave on some air conditioning, or at least a fan, so they don’t get too hot.
Always do your own research ahead of time, because rules do change from time to time and you don’t want any surprises. This way you can have a wonderful trip with your pet in the Florida Keys.
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