Collier and Lee County Dog Parks
Many people living in Naples have dogs as part of their families but don’t have a yard for them to run free. The dog parks listed below offer your dog a place to run free (without a leash) in most cases, although each has its own restrictions.
Naples Dog Park
Naples’ premiere pubic dog park, the Naples Dog Park on Riverside Circle gives your pet more than an acre to run and play. The public facility has a large 1.35 acre fenced-in area, with the south section dedicated to big dogs including a full one-acre to roam with the north section (.35 acres) dedicated to smaller breeds. There are plenty of doggie bags on hand, so please clean up after your dog in order to keep the park clean of surprises. For humans, the Palmer House has shaded benches, drinking fountains for man and man’s best friend, and a picnic area.
•The Naples Dog Park is free and open to the public; however, you must register your dog. Your dog must be up-to-date on all shots and license with Collier County; each dog entering the park must be registered and have a City of Naples dog tag on the collar. The cost for registration is free. For more information, visit naplesgov.com.
•Open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week.
Rover Run | Veterans Park
Located at Veterans Park in North Naples, Rover Run is an off-leash dog park designed to let dogs be dogs. With areas for both small and large dogs, owners can rest assured that pint-sized Fido won’t be bulldozed by that hulking mastiff. Equipped with plenty of shade and clean water for your pup, Rover Run is a great North Naples haunt for dog lovers.
•Open from 7:30 a.m. to dusk, seven days a week.
K-9 Corral | Estero Community Park
Part of Estero Community Park, the K-9 Corral lets your dog run free, off-leash style. The two-acre dog friendly of the park has separate small and large dog areas, plenty of fresh drinking water, a rinse station, and shade trees for human and dog. A covered shelter is always abuzz with dog-friendly folks, and a great place to meet like-minded dog owners.
•Open from dawn to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
Though your dog might love playing in the surf, there is only one Paradise Coast beach that allows those canines to run free, and that’s Fort Myers’ Dog Beach. Located at southern fringes of Lovers Key State Park, right on the Bonita Springs/Fort Myers border (8800 Estero Blvd. to be exact), Dog Beach allows you to bring your dog along for a day of fun in the surf too. There a few things you should know before you go:
Bonita Springs - Lovers Key State Park
•Leashes are not required, but are recommended for unruly pups and those that can get aggressive with other dogs. This is not just for the safety of beachgoers, but your dog as well. There tend to be a lot of dogs roaming these parts, and some of them are not as even-tempered as yours.
•If you have small dogs, be wary. Though most beachgoers are friendly, and their dogs too, some tend to be a little lackadaisical when minding their dog, letting them run a little too wild. There have been some rather nasty stories stemming from the beach and poor dog owner behavior—this is a visit-at-your-own-risk kind of place.
•Bring plenty of fresh water for your pup. There is no running water at this beach (also, no restrooms), so bottle H2O is a must. Dogs do not sweat to regulate their body temperature; they pant, which is not exactly the most efficient way of doing things. So when at the beach, it’s important to give your dog plenty of water to keep them cool.
•Try creating a doggie shelter. One set up idea is a towel, two sticks to prop up one end, and a shallow hole beneath. It makes for a cool, shady area for you dog to rest. Just be sure to fill in that hole before you leave; it’s not just a hazard for other beachgoers, but can be life threatening to nesting sea turtles and hatchlings.
•And on the sea turtle front, be vigilant that your dog does not disturb any nests. With their keen sense of smell, sniffing out a sea turtle nest is super easy for Fido. But if they are to disturb a nest, temperature shifts could kill the eggs, or make it easier for predators like raccoons or foxes to find the eggs.
•Clean up after your dog! Nature calls, we all get it, but that does not mean kicking a little beach sand over the mess consists of dealing with it. There are plenty of dog bags at the beach access point, so there is no excuse for leaving a mess.