Summer fun with your dog: Beaches, ballparks and sidewalk cafés

Now that Memorial Day has kicked off a summer of fun, don’t forget your best friend.

Our all-time favorite spot to cool off and enjoy the best of life in Florida is the award-winning Fort De Soto dog beach. Fort De Soto's Paw Playground is separated into large-dog and small-dog fenced yards, plus there's a beautiful stretch of beach where dogs can run off leash. The Paw Playground has a rinsing and cooling station where you can wash the sand and salt water off of your dog and give him a drink of fresh water. Please be considerate and pick up after your pet — bags are available in the Paw Playground and on the dog beach. Remember that dogs must be on leashes everywhere in the park except the fenced area and in the marked section of the dog beach. Rangers do patrol and ticket violators! Our dogs enjoy rolling in the sand, watching the occasional dolphins cavorting in the bay, and chasing balls and floating toys into the water.