Picture this: You're sitting on a white sand beach, warm sun on your skin. Coconut-scented sunscreen wafts through the air. A splashing noise comes from the blue Gulf of Mexico. It's your dog, happily retrieving his favorite ball from the water.
This could be your vacation, with a bit of planning. With miles of sandy beaches, endless winter sunshine and a laid-back vibe, there's no reason to leave your four-legged friend behind when you vacation in Florida. From lodging that offers special pet beds, to beaches with off-leash play, to theme parks with nearby kennels, many places around the state accommodate visitors with pets. Many Florida state parks also permit leashed dogs.
Lodging with your dog can be as rustic as a campground or as ritzy as, well, the Ritz Carlton. In places like Key West or Sanibel Island -- where all beaches are open to leashed dogs -- unique and funky pet-friendly accommodations are easy to find in various price ranges.
Most counties have their own tourism boards, and many have specific pages on their websites about pet-friendly activities, restaurants and hotels. Visit Florida has lots of information at http://www.visit-florida.com/ Pet_Friendly_Florida.