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Are Dogs Allowed on Destin Beaches in 2024? Rules & Location Guide

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Dogster Team

destin beach at florida

Are Dogs Allowed on Destin Beaches in 2024? Rules & Location Guide

During the warmer months, it’s difficult to keep our minds off of the beach—especially those pristine beaches in Florida. Destin, Florida is among several desirable vacation destinations and is full of sprawling beaches where you can kick back and enjoy the sun’s rays. If you are thinking of taking your family to any Destin beaches to soak in the sun, you’re likely wondering if your furry, four-legged friend can tag along. We’re sad to say that the answer is no, dogs are not allowed on any Destin Beaches.

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Why Are Dogs Prohibited on Destin Beaches?

To understand why Destin does not allow dogs on their beaches, we need to examine the county rules. Destin is in Okaloosa County, which greatly emphasizes keeping its property pristine.

As a part of the county’s regulations, dogs are prohibited from the beaches. This is because irresponsible dog owners may leave fecal waste or even ratty, used dog toys on the beach. In the instance of pet poop, there is a possibility that unscooped poop may lead to infections in other visitors.

There are no exceptions to this rule. Responsible dog owners or well-behaved dogs will not get a free pass, nor will leashed dogs be permitted on any beaches. If you want to take a trip with your dog to Destin, you will need to find other places that are canine friendly. Thankfully, there are plenty of options—but more on that in a minute.

Destin Florida during morning sunrise
Image by: Jay Beckerich, Shutterstock

Other Rules to Follow While Visiting Destin Beaches

While visiting any of Destin’s lovely beaches, be sure to follow their rules and regulations. Beyond banning dogs, there are other restrictions, including the following:

Restricted Items on Destin Beaches
  • Fires
  • Fireworks
  • Glass objects (such as bottles)
  • Vehicles of any sort

Any items that you bring with you, whether they are disposable or not, must return with you when you leave the beach. Likewise, the city’s initiative to leave no trace means the area is heavily cleaned each night. If you leave something at the beach expecting it to be there when you return, you will be out of luck, as everything is removed by the staff.

You will need to review the beach flag code for your safety. Destin’s beaches have flags that are maintained by the Destin Fire Control District. The flags are designed to warn visitors about rip tides, bad weather, contaminants, and other dangers. Some flags warn visitors of dangerous creatures or red algae in the water, so be sure to check the flag before making your way into the water.

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Top 3 Dog-Friendly Locations in Destin

While Destin beaches do not permit dogs, there are plenty of other ways to spend a day in Destin with your pup.

1. Nancy Weidenhamer Dog Park

The Nancy Weidenhamer Dog Park is a 3-acre park with separate areas for small and large dogs. The entire park is covered in lush grass and shaded areas. For your convenience, the park includes waste receptacles and watering stations for your dog.

Some of the rules for this dog park include:
  • Keep your dog on a leash while entering and exiting the park
  • Do not bring food or drinks (human or canine) into the park
  • All dog owners are responsible for cleaning up after their own dogs
  • All dogs must be taken out of the park at the first sign of aggression, and all dog owners are financially and legally responsible for their dog’s actions

The park is open from sunrise to sunset, giving you and your dog plenty of time to visit and have a blast!


2. Destin Commons

The Destin Commons is a shopping area in Destin, which includes over 95 shops and restaurants for you to enjoy. There are outdoor hydration stations placed throughout the center, allowing you and your dog to relax from shopping. Most of the restaurants and shops are dog friendly as well, just ask an associate about the rules before entering.


3. Crab Island Cruises

If you want to enjoy the aquatic life despite the beach ban on dogs, check out Crab Island Cruises. You can cruise around the island and enjoy the ocean with your dog, provided that your pup is well-behaved.

labrador dog fetching a tennis ball on water
Image by: MOHANN, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

Although Destin’s beaches do not permit dogs, there are plenty of other places in Destin for your four-legged family member to explore. Each location has its own unique set of rules, so be sure to brush up on them before visiting. In addition to the beaches, Destin has plenty of remarkable locations to visit. Even though you can’t bring your dog to the beach, the trip will still be one to remember.


Featured Image Credit: Feng Cheng, Shutterstock

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