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Miles of great Gulf Coast beaches and a festive atmosphere - a mix of middle-class families and singles looking to have a good time in their own way - are the essence of this town on Estero Island in southwest Florida. Some families nowadays want to bring Fido, and Fort Meyers Beach is a great destination for that - some of the best Ft Myers Beach vacation rentals and even hotels/motels welcome man's best friend, and there are a number of activities you can do with your four-footed friends. Here's a doggy half dozen:

Hit the Dog Beach

There's a dog beach at 8800 Estero Boulevard, about 15 minutes from Estero Island’s western end. It's a great place to give your hound an off-leash experience running around in scenic Lovers Key State Park. It has amenities including free parking, portable toilets, and dog shower station for cleaning up after getting sandy and maybe even wet at the beach. There's a limit of two dogs per person, and cleaning up behind them is mandatory. The park is open daily from 7 am till dusk.

Go for a Run

Fort Myers Beach is an ideal place for a run. There’s more than seven miles of hard-packed sand from Bowditch Point Park area in the north of Estero Island to the southern end of the beach to cover with your pup. Alternatively, hit the trail from Estero Boulevard towards Lovers Key State Park for a long-distance run. You can run, cycle, or hike the five-mile trail on Black Island, one of the four state-park barrier islands. Additionally, check out the six-mile Boca Grande Bike Path or the eight-miles Cape Haze Pioneer Trail at the northern end of FMB. A bit farther afield, you can also take a 45-minute drive to the 14-mile Pine Island Bike Path. Make sure to keep your dog on a leash outside of the designated no-leash areas.

Take a Hike

Dogs love the outdoors, of course, if you you like it, too, Black Island has hiking trails great for you to discover the diverse wildlife along the coast as your dog is roaming in the forest. the five-mile trail network includes two short loops accessed by a dirt road running down double peninsulas. There's another mile-long path through marshes and mangroves along the Caloosahatchee River in the Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, as well as trails running 10 miles through pine flatwoods in Estero Bay Preserve State Park. These are a 30-minute drive away from the center of Fort Myers Beach.

Go Boating & Fishing

Fishing Buddy Charters located at 18400 San Carlos Boulevard offers tours to spot local marine wildlife including dolphins, turtles, and sharks, as well as sea bird such as pelicans and eagles. It also runs pet friendly fishing excursions - a day at sea fishing tarpon, grouper, or snook with your pet by your side. Charters come with all necessities including bait tackle, licenses, and equipment.

Go Shopping, Dining & Drinking

You can also browse a number of Fort Myers Beach shops with your fur baby. Especially the ones around Times Square (the busy intersection of Estero and San Carlos Boulevard) are pet-friendly to dogs on leashes or in strollers, Estero's Coconut Point Mall has a dedicated "dogs' night out" every Thursday, and Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers (the city on the mainland just over the San Carlos Blvd bridge) has "Yappy Hour" every second Friday of the month from 6 to 8 pm at pet-friendly restaurants, some with live music. You can also give your pet a treat at DipidyDawg Gourmet Dog Bakery & Boutique or Pawradise Dog Baker in Estero.

Enjoy Quality TIme Indoors

And of course when you're back at your pet-friendly home away from home, you can hang out with your paw buddy on your beachview balcony, in your backyard, maybe catching some TV or laptop time. Chill and recharge for your next outing together in fun Fort Meyers Beach!