Updated: Jun 18
Anna Maria Island, Egmont Key, and Longboat Key are endangered/vulnerable turtle and migratory bird sanctuaries and are protected by Florida law. As such, dogs are not allowed on the beaches of Anna Maria Island and surrounding barrier islands. That's painful to me the owner of a dog who would swim to Texas if I let him, BUT:
Dogs are allowed to swim in Palma Sola Bay on the Manatee Ave. causeway between AMI and NW Bradenton. BE AWARE that the traffic DOES NOT STOP along the causeway, and unless you have flawless control of your dog along the road, it may be hazardous to allow your dog to swim in these dog-friendly areas. To provide an extra measure of safety, consider using a long/check line (20-30 ft leash or rope) to ensure that your dog doesn't dart out into traffic. ALSO: This area frequently has swim advisories due to poor water quality. Your dog will very probably ingest water, or at the very least have mouth, eye, ear, and nose exposures to it! Remember that we sell OTC products to help alleviate diarrhea, and eye and ear irritation. Just sayin'.
A better option might would be to take your dog to swim at the dog-friendly beach of Ft. DeSoto National Memorial in NW Bradenton, which is approximately 7 miles from AMI. This is NOT a dog beach or dog park where dogs can run free off-leash. This is a human beach that is dog-friendly, where dogs are allowed to enjoy the beach with their people as long as they remain on leash (again, a long/check line is totally acceptable to give your dog some freedom to swim and run!), and under human control at all times. The entire park is dog friendly, the hiking trails are mostly shaded, there is access to public restrooms, and bunches of benches are sprinkled throughout the park to stop, rest, and enjoy the beautiful view where Tampa Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Manatee River all come together.
Approximately 1 mile west of the memorial, you'll find Robinson Preserve: 682 lush acres of preserved mangrove, tidal marsh, coastal wetland habitat, over 7 miles of hiking trails, and several kayak launches, paths, and picnic areas. A 4-story observation tower, education center, and children's play area is also available. The best part? It's all dog friendly! If you head out to Robinson, pack your long line, as there are a couple of places where you can swim your dog to cool off. Also bring EXTRA water for your dog. There isn't much shade, and it can get VERY hot on the paths and trails.
Since people ask me every day where they CAN take their dog on AMI, see our blog on Dog Resources that lists the parks/beaches, restuarants/bars, and shops that are dog-friendly. Please feel free to throw your hard-earned cash at these fine establishments, as it's a sure-fire way to let them know you appreciate them!
Also, if you need dog supplies while you're here, please come see us at the store. We carry lightweight long/check lines, life vests, canine sunscreen (FDA approved), day packs for dogs to carry their own supplies, portable water bottles/bowls, toys for both sea dogs and land lubbers, waste bags, Stella & Chewy's and Fromm foods, treats, and pretty much anything else you might need for your pup while you're on the island. We also offer delivery, or some modified version of it. (Even though we have other cool dog stuff in the store that your life won't be complete without.)
Enjoy the island and all of the surrounding resources!