It’s almost comical. The idea of bringing your dog to the Everglades seems like a cruel trick. How long would a dog of any size truly last in the Everglades? Probably not very long if it were loose without a leash. The thing is, you might be surprised about bringing your dog to the Everglades.
Your dog is going to be more at risk of having a heat stroke in the Florida Everglades than ending up in the stomach of an alligator. However, the Everglades is a National Park; if you want to bring your dog, you must follow the rules and guidelines.
Alligators live in the Everglades, but they’re not bloodthirsty, raving mad, insane reptiles that run after dogs and eat children. Instead, they’re carnivores, and if the opportunity presents itself, they’ll attack a dog close to the shoreline in a heartbeat. Fortunately, that’s a pretty rare thing.
Florida Everglades Rules And Regulations
The Everglades National Park allows pets in, but they are pretty strict about where they can go and what you have to do as a responsible pet owner. Other state parks are located in the Everglades.
Each has rules you must abide by if you want to bring your pup along with you.
Everglades National Park
According to the rules, the Everglades have the authority to remove anyone and their pet, causing problems or concerns for park officials. So it’s really a rule that has less to do with a threat from alligators and a hypothetical dog’s threat to everyone around it.
In the park, pets are limited to certain areas and must be kept on a leash at all times, no longer than 6′ long. The following areas are permissible for pets:
- All of the public roadways throughout the park
- Campground/picnic areas that are close to the road
- All public facilities and residences
- Pets are permitted on your boat
Pets are not allowed on the trails. That includes all of the paved and unpaved trails throughout the park. That also includes any unpaved roads throughout the park.
Why unpaved roads? Who knows? But pets are not allowed on them if they’re not paved, and you can’t bring your pup out on any hiking trails with you.
According to the Everglades National Park’s pet restrictions, they aren’t allowed on the Shark Valley Tram Trail.
Other Parks in the Everglades
The truth is, the Everglades are massive, and there are a lot of parks throughout both the Everglades and the surrounding areas. Every park has its own rules on pets and where you can and can’t take them.
Collier Seminole State Park
To reach Collier Seminole State park, you must travel to the East side of Naples, Florida. This park includes the famous Prairie Hammock Trail. Dogs are perfectly welcome here (just not on the trail), and all you have to pay is $5 to park your vehicle there.
You might see alligators here, but you are more likely to spot gopher tortoises. Be sure that your dog is reasonably socialized because you don’t want it to go tearing off down the trail after a gopher tortoise.
You will have to maintain your dog on a leash throughout your stay and must clean up after your dog, which is pretty much par for the course with any state or national park.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
This park is located in Martin County, Florida, and is one of the more beautiful parks in the area. You can also bring your kayak out here, and though dogs are banned from jumping on the trails, Jonathan Dickinson doesn’t add any additional restrictions.
That means your four-legged buddy is welcome to jump on board your kayak with you.
Best activities for your dog in the Everglades
Though dogs are prohibited on many of the trails, they are allowed on some paved hiking trails. Dogs aren’t allowed on unpaved trails at all, and many paved trails are also out of the question.
However, there are designated areas where you can take your four-legged buddy so long as you observe the other rules, such as maintaining a 6′ or shorter leash. You must also have little baggies to clean up after your pup.
Boat Tours Allow Dogs
The Everglades offers many boat tours throughout the park; your pup is more than welcome to come aboard with you. But, of course, the leash rules still apply on the boats, just like they do everywhere else.
There are several tours throughout the area, and different companies offer them. The tours vary in price, and your dog won’t be able to go on all of them, so you’ll want to check in advance.
The price range for the boat tours is between $20 and $160, so they can get pretty expensive, but the cost is usually reflected in the tour, meaning the more expensive tours will offer a lot more.
Your dog’s socialization level is the only thing you need to worry about here. Remember, your dog will be penned up on a relatively small craft for a while.
That means the tour boats’ owners will expect your dog to be trained and calm around other people and potentially other animals.
Tram rides are tours just like boats, just in a different format. Your pup is more than welcome to ride the tram. But remember that it offers a smaller and tighter space for your dog to be in for a while.
Your dog must be socialized enough not to get anxious on these rides.
A tram tour through the Everglades costs $25 per adult and $12.75 for children. Dogs are completely free, so while your pup may not appreciate it, you certainly will.
At one point along the tram tour, you will get an unobstructed view of the Everglades from a 45′ elevation.
This might be a little too impressive for your dog. So long as you ensure that your pup is good at handling other people, other animals, and a lot of scenery with the potential for wild animals, you’ll be good.
If you have a four-legged best friend, it’s hard to imagine not bringing your pup along for a camping trip. But, of course, unless it’s a romantic camping getaway, you’ll want your puppy to come along with you. Fortunately, camping with your dog is allowed in the Everglades.
Camping comes with its own problems, however. You must maintain a leash and collar unless your pet is zipped into the tent with you or safely inside the camper.
So while your dog is not allowed to participate in off-road hiking and sightseeing activities, you can still do many things with your furry friend.
The rules are important to follow, especially if you don’t want any run-ins with an alligator.
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