Pepper Pause: Miami Dog Parks

Welcome to my new blog series – Pepper Pause!

Pepper Pause













Pepper Pause will be all about pets (dogs in particular). We should all take a moment (or 10) a week and pause to enjoy some time with our pet. This series will be about pet friendly places, events, activities, products, and businesses. I spend a lot of time with my dog Pepper, so I get a lot of experience with these things and thought I would share them with you.

Today’s post is about the two dog parks that we visited while in Miami recently. We visited the Bark Park at Tropical Park and Dogs on Dunes at Haulover Park. Both locations were totally different but equally amazing.

Tropical Park is a 275-acre urban park in metropolitan Miami, Florida. This park has everything you could want! The Bark Park is WAY in the back and on the water. Don’t worry, the whole bark park is fenced in and your pups can’t get to the water unless they scale a 6 foot fence.

When you first arrive there is a small fenced in area that I started calling “the lobby.” It has a couple of picnic tables and a dog washing station. I didn’t notice the dog washing station at first, but boy was I glad it was there (more on that later). Off the lobby is a small dog area and a big dog area. We had Pepper’s best bud Ozzie with us and even though he’s a small dog, we took them both in the large dog area. They had a blast!

There are plenty of shade trees and a LOT of room to run. There are benches for folks to sit on and water fountains for 2 and 4 legged visitors. The pups had a great time and there was only one downside…. a very large muddle puddle. From all the rain they’d recently gotten and the location of said muddle puddle (in the shade) it hadn’t had a chance to dry up. I was able to keep Pepper away from it for most of our visit, but then she decided she was hot and went over and laid down in it. What a mess! Thankfully there was the dog wash in the lobby that I was able to take full advantage of.

Haulover Park a 99-acre urban park in the north part of Miami Beach, just north of Bal Harbour, Florida. The park is located on a shoal between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay. The park includes a marina, kite area, beach access (there is even a clothing optional section), and a dog park. It is $6 per car to get in unless you are going to the dog park and then its only $2. What a deal!

We went to Haulover Park for one reason – to take the dogs to the beach. On Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday there is a section of beach right by the dog park that is open to dogs (Dogs on Dunes). Neither of our dogs had been to the beach before so we were excited about taking them. The parking is close to the dog park, but it is a little bit of a walk to the beach access. This wouldn’t have been a problem if it hadn’t been 95 degrees out. It was a little hot for naked puppy paws. Pepper and I ran across the lot while my mom carried her small dog. I saw one person that had put these rubber booties on their dogs paws and thought it was a genius idea.

Dogs are required to be kept on a lease unless both the dog AND owner are in the ocean. Most people did not follow this rule. For the most part it wasn’t an issue because most of the dogs (and their owners) were friendly. We did have one run in with a not so nice dog, but no one was hurt and the dog was kept on a leash after that. I kept Pepper on a leash the entire time we were there, even when we were in the water. She’s never been swimming in anytime other than a pool and I was worried about her swimming away.

Miami Beach is not flat like beaches in Daytona, so it was a little harder for the dogs to just head right out into the water. There is a drop off before the waters edge and there tends to be more than a few waves. Once Pepper got past the waves she was fine, but mom’s dog Ozzie wasn’t able to do it on his own because he was too small. I had to carry him out past the breaking waves and then he was able to swim on his own.

There is a dog (and people) washing station between the beach and the parking lot that we took full advantage of. We were able to rinse off a good amount of the sand before loading everyone back into the car.

Both parks were amazing but we realized during our trip to the beach that there were a few things that we should have packed that we didn’t think about. I’ve decided to share this list so that you too can be fully prepared for your next doggie adventure.

Mom & Meg’s Dog Beach packing list:

  • Backpack to carry your stuff – we had a bag and it was hard to carry a big bag on one shoulder and a dog with the other arm. A backpack would have made things SO much easier.
  • Towels for dogs AND people – we packed towels for the dogs but didn’t really think about towels for ourselves. Whatever number of towels you think is enough – double it! You will need them, believe me.
  • Lots of water and a dish for the dogs – again we thought about the dogs but not ourselves. Make sure to bring enough water to keep everyone well hydrated.
  • Chairs or blanket to sit on (or both) – we brought a blanket to sit on but then the dogs ended up on it as well, so make sure to bring enough for everyone
  • LONG leash – if you want to keep your dog on a leash in the water you are going to need more than 6 feet
  • Dog shampoo – one of the people at the first park had brought dog shampoo and I wish I had too. If I was gonna have to spend all that time getting mud off my dog I might as well have given her a full on bath.

I totally recommend checking out either, or both, of these parks if you are ever in Miami. We will definitely be bringing our pups back the next time we are in town.


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