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Why Central Florida is Perfect for Pet Owners

It’s no surprise that Florida is a popular spot for out-of-state home buyers. From the year-round, sun-filled weather and beautiful beaches to the family-friendly cities and strong public school systems, what’s not to love? Plus, many of its cities are pet-friendly, an important factor that 86 percent of dog owners consider when moving, per a 2020 report from Zillow. Accordingly, then, 84 percent of owners are willing to spend more on a home with puppy necessities like fenced-in backyards, nearby walking trails, and more.

Dog-Friendly Features of Orlando

With those ideas in mind, dog lovers are particularly drawn to the Sunshine State. In fact, a list of Top Emerging Dog-Friendly Cities for 2021, compiled by Rover and Zillow, ranks Orlando at number two in the country. The city certainly values its pet owners, as there are 11 pet-focused businesses for every 10,000 people. O-Town has just as many veterinarians as public parks, with more than 80 vet practices and 30 pet hospitals, as well as 45 pet washing and grooming facilities. It is also home to a number of dog-friendly restaurants, dog parks, doggie daycares, and even dog bakeries.

Of course, we can’t forget to mention the beaches! There are so many pet-friendly beaches in Central Florida, including Smyrna Dunes Beach in New Smyrna Beach. About an hour drive from the Orlando airport, dogs must be leashed when exploring the sand and surf. The park also has a boardwalk (where dogs are permitted before 10 a.m.), nature trails, picnic areas, and showers to wash off those sandy paws. This popular spot is often packed during the summer months, so arrive early in the morning or near dusk to avoid the crowds.

Five Favorite Spots for Pet Owners in Central Florida

For residents and visitors alike, here are five more of our favorite dog-friendly spots in Central Florida:

  • Lake Louisa State Park: Escape the hustle and bustle with a hike along the 20 miles of unpaved, multi-use trails at this park in Clermont. Every visit is a new adventure for both you and your pup. You’ll both surely spot (or smell!) the diverse wildlife that calls this beautiful area home, including deer, bobcats, gopher tortoise, bald eagles, and more.

  • Celebration: This planned community -- created by The Walt Disney Company! -- is filled with charming buildings, quaint tree-lined streets, and white picket fences. With miles of trails, dog-friendly restaurants, free public events, and exciting outdoor activities, you’ll find something special to do with your four-legged friend no matter when you visit.

  • Kissimmee Lakefront Park: Here, you’ll enjoy walking paths, a fishing pier, picnic pavilions, a splash pad (perfect for those hot days!), two playgrounds, and concession stands. It’s also home to holiday-themed events, farmers markets, outdoor concerts, and more. Beware: Chances are, you’ll spot an alligator or two during your visit — at a safe distance, thankfully!

  • Park Avenue in Winter Park: A walk down this well-known street in Winter Park will inevitably lead to dog-sightings at the multiple dog-friendly restaurants and stores. Boca Winter Park is one such spot: With an emphasis on farm-to-table food, their menu is filled with locally-sourced ingredients and unique offerings.

  • Vero Beach Dog Park: Although there are a number of dog parks in Central Florida, this one tops our list. An off-leash, five-acre green space along the Indian River Lagoon, it is free to the community and open seven days a week from dawn to dusk. Amenities include water fountains, seating areas, canopies and shade trees, waste bags, and more.

Let The Urban Dog Group help you with your real estate needs. Contact Christine Elias at

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