Top Pet Friendly Things to Do in Levy County, Florida
When your pets are like family, it’s natural to want to bring them along on your Florida vacation. Consider Levy County the next time you’re looking for a pet-friendly Florida getaway. Home to gorgeous lakes, beaches, forests and hammocks, Levy County is the ultimate playground for man’s best friend. Here’s your guide to the top pet-friendly things to do in Levy County, Florida.
Levy County hosts a number of outdoor events year-round that are welcoming to pets. One of them is the Chiefland Watermelon Festival every year in early June. Spring is watermelon season in North Central Florida, and this annual event celebrates the fruit that’s important to so many local growers in the area. Plus, it’s really fun. Where else can you enter contests to see how far you can spit a watermelon seed or grow the largest watermelon? The festival also includes a live crowning of the Watermelon Queen. Pets are welcome to cruise the vendor market with you to meet all kinds of artisans selling watermelon-inspired goods.
Another event in Levy County to look forward to is the Cedar Key Seafood Festival every October, which features more than 200 craft and seafood vendors handing out samples of their best dishes (for you and your pets) to try while enjoying the live music. Saturday morning of the event includes a seafood-themed parade.
Unlike some areas in Florida, Levy County welcomes dogs to some of its local beaches (leases required). Beaches that are open to pets in Cedar Key are located between 1st Street and G Street, as well as Shell Mound Fishing Pier. Other prominent must-visit areas are Cemetery Point Park (also great for fishing), and Cedar Key City Park and Beach (convenient location to shops and restaurants).
Dogs are welcome at some of Levy County’s award-winning nature parks. Like the beaches, all dogs must be on leash before entering the parks. Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve in Yankeetown has several dog-friendly trails for visitors to hike, bike and walk alongside their pets. However, to take your experience with your dog up a notch, rent a kayak and paddle down a scenic route to see rich wilderness and wildlife like owls, turtles and more. The day trip is approximately 4.5 miles long round trip, giving you and your dog plenty of time to enjoy your surroundings. Other notable dog-friendly parks worth visiting are Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge in Old Town, Nature Coast State Trail Park in Chiefland and Fanning Springs State Park. If you’re traveling in the winter or fall, swing by Manatee Springs State Park to catch glimpses of the gentle giants floating across the springs. Goethe State Forest and Devil’s Hammock Wildlife Management Area are known for its secluded dog-friendly trails to see unspoiled Floridian forests.
Places to Stay
Levy County lives up to its dog-friendly reputation as the home to dozens of resorts and motels that will gladly accept your pets. In Cedar Key, several accommodations like Faraway Inn (cool cracker-style cottages on the beach), Nature’s Landing Condos (luxury condos for short-term rent) and Mermaids Landing (old-Florida bungalows with water views) are among the best places to stay with your pets. Park Place in Cedar Key prides itself on its pet-friendly accommodations (including both dogs and cats) and its apartment-like rentals. Directly located on the beach, Park Place is a haven for dog owners and their pets to take a few steps outside their rooms and instantly find themselves in tropical paradise.
Along the coast, dog lovers will find welcoming restaurants serving fresh seafood directly from its local waters. Since most restaurants revolve around the water, dog-friendly outdoor patios are often available. Though not on the water, the Blue Desert Cafe in Cedar Key is known for being pet-friendly. It’s located in a cracker-style historic house and serves delicious seafood dishes like crawfish etouffee, calamari and garlic shrimp. The cafe has a kitschy decor with vintage posters, masks, animal bones and baby pink wall paint. Sit outside and enjoy the warm weather in the shade while you wait for your meal to arrive. Kona Joe’s Island Cafe is another fantastic joint to get a taste of old Florida. Diners will have a hard time picking between wonderful options like shrimp n’ grits, blue crab quiche and chicken sandwiches. However, the restaurant’s biggest feature is its large outdoor deck that overlooks a river and marshland, perfect for pets. Other pet-friendly restaurants to check out are Away From the World Cafe (recommended for breakfast and beach view) and Big Deck and Raw Bar (shaded outdoor patio and fresh seafood).