Beach. Spring break. NASCAR. Bike Week. These are some of the things I associate with Daytona Beach and never would have thought this popular Florida East Coast destination is dog-friendly. Boy, was I wrong!
As Radcliff and I discovered, Daytona Beach is dog-friendly and during a summer weekend we had a tail-wagging good time. Unfortunately, canines can’t dip their paws in Daytona Beach’s world-famous beaches, but, we found fabulous fun for anyone traveling with or without their fur-child.
Dog-friendly Daytona Beach Fishing Charter
The trip revolved around a half-day fishing excursion with Capt. Rachael Reynolds of R&R Fishing Charters who departs from Port Orange. Her vessel is a pontoon boat which was stable on the water and easy to walk around in the boat. Two friends joined Radcliff and me. Decked out in his cooling vest and orange life vest, Radcliff owned the boat!
Capt. Rachael’s boat is also ideal for those who need to sit in a wheelchair and she’s the perfect captain for anyone looking for a terrific day on the water. During our afternoon excursion, we landed several mangrove snapper from the Halifax River. She cleaned them after the trip and they ended up making a nice fish taco meal for me once I returned home. Located at the boat dock is Boondock’s Restaurant, the perfect waterside eatery to grab a grouper sandwich. Dog-friendly dining is outdoors. (Capt. Rachael Reynolds – Facebook.com/RandRcharterfishing.)
Be sure to read more in my post about my dog-friendly fishing trip in Daytona Beach.
Brownie the Town Dog and His Legacy
Along the Halifax Riverfront in Daytona Beach is the historic downtown area undergoing a revitalization. It was at a shop called Brownie’s Dog Boutique where I learned about its namesake, Brownie the Town Dog, and met a couple looking to keep Brownie’s legacy alive.
Eddie James and Alvin Almodovar opened the sweet dog boutique a year ago after reading about Brownie in the daily paper. Brownie walked the streets of Daytona Beach during the 1940s and was literally, the city’s dog. Lore states in 1940 he wandered into a taxi cab office and was beloved by the community.
For 14 years, this sandy-brown canine was a local celebrity. Brownie had a bank account and enough funds to care for him and pay for his annual license, he was always issued dog license number one, Christmas cards depicting him were sent to local children, and residents and visitors wrote letters to the paper asking if Brownie was okay after seeing him limping along.
Brownie was a good dog and when he passed, he was buried in Riverfront Park. He has a modest headstone and dog-shaped topiary to remember him but James and Alvin are on a quest to raise the visibility of Brownie’s story and his goodness by creating Brownie Memorial Park where he’s buried and install two statues, one of Brownie and a second of another dog named Brownie that lived at the post office (1955 – 1970).
Until then, people can view some of the only known photos of Daytona Beach’s beloved dog in Brownie’s Dog Boutique. It’s an adorable shop decorated with reclaimed furniture and accents, sturdy wood flooring, and resource for the perfect goodies for any pooch. Being a foodie, I was most interested in their made-in-Florida section which features dog treats made in Florida. (228 S Beach St, Daytona Beach; browniesdogboutique.com)
Read more in this post about Brownie the Town Dog.
A Bark, Err, Walk in a Park
This trip to dog-friendly Daytona Beach trip was tied to a night in St. Augustine and on the way up, I stopped at Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach. The lovely park, located on a 900-acre peninsula appears to be located in a residential neighborhood.
Many Florida State Parks are pet-friendly and dogs are permitted on most trails when on a leash. Radcliff and I took a nice walk in Tomoka State Park which included an amble along the kitschy, 40-foot sculpture of the legendary Timucuan Chief Tomokie standing next to spouting water and warriors protecting him.
Lore has it Timucua Indian warriors believed water from a local spring, the Water of Life, was sacred. They became so enraged when Chief Tomokie drank from it that war broke out between his warriors and those who thought the water was sacred. The Chief believed the water made him invincible and while he was drinking a cup of sacred water, Oleeta, an Indian princess, fatally wounded him with an arrow. When she reached for cup (I assume she was thirsty from the battling) she was felled by an arrow, too.
This sculpture was dedicated in 1957 and created by artist Fred Dana Marsh. Neither Chief Tomokie nor Oleeta existed. They are legend, along with sacred water and while the park is named Tomoka after native inhabitants, Tomoka Natives did not exist. Spanish and French explorers had difficulty pronouncing indigenous words and unable to pronounce “Timucua,” they called these native people Tomoka.
Fictitious or not, this sculpture oozes with quirkiness. I also found a painted rock! (2099 North Beach St, Ormond Beach; www.floridastateparks.org/park/Tomoka)
Dog-Friendly Dining in Daytona Beach
There were several dog-friendly dining options in and around Daytona Beach and some of the delicious places Rad and I ate include Zappi’s Italian Grill (the eggplant lasagna was magnificent and huge! Rad had meatballs; 128 S Beach St, Daytona Beach; italiangarden.com), Dancing Avocado Kitchen (Great, colorful vibe happening here. The Tofu Scramble with tofu, iguana vegetables and toast is fabulous! 110 S Beach St, Daytona Beach; www.dancingavocadokitchen.com), Sweet Marlay’s Coffee (great café for a fancy latte and spinach pie; 214 S Beach St, Daytona Beach; www.sweetmarlays.com), and LuLu’s Oceanside Grill (lively restaurant with delish seafood and beverages; 30 S Atlantic Ave, Ormond Beach; www.lulusoceansidegrill.com).
A fan of craft beer, I was excited to chill with Radcliff at Ormond Brewing Company. Like the dog-friendly eateries, the outdoor area of the brewery is dog-friendly and had a nice area with Adirondack chairs around a fire pit (not lit, I visited in July!). I ordered my IPA at the window which meant I did not need to leave Rad unattended. (301 Division Ave, Ormond Beach; www.ormondbrewing.com)
As for a sweet treat, there’s Rhokkoh’s Frozen Yogurt (200 N Beach St, Daytona Beach; www.facebook.com/Rhokkohs), a self-serve frozen yogurt shop. They welcome pets and provide a water bowl. I picked up a cup of peanut butter frozen yogurt for Rad and he wasn’t quite sure what to think of it! Before his first lick, I sampled it and it was delish!
A Doggone Good Time in Daytona Beach
I’m still new to the concept of traveling with a dog and I’m thrilled when I find things to do with Radcliff. I could not visit the world-famous beach with him (I tried to drive on the beach with him but was turned away) but there was plenty to do and see with him. If we had time, we would have gone for a swim (at least he would have) at Lighthouse Point Park in Ponce Inlet, a dog-friendly park.
As for where to stay, there are many dog-friendly hotels in the Daytona Beach area fitting all budgets. I chose the La Quinta Inn & Suites Ormond Beach / Daytona Beach. La Quinta has become one of my favorite brands because they are dog-friendly! Specifically, they do not charge an additional fee for dogs and offer a decent continental breakfast. Plus, rooms are usually clean and have microwaves and mini-fridges.
Looking to plan your dog-friendly vacation to Daytona Beach? Check out the Daytona Beach tourism website DaytonaBeach.com and follow #DaytonaBeach on social media.
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