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A Dog’s Travel Journal

Bradenton Area, FL 

Woof! Bark! I’m Sparky, or least I think that’s my name. That’s what my owners always yell when they want me to come play. I love playing catch, swimming in the water, and chasing small animals, particularly squirrels. Last month, I took my owners to the beach, and you should too!


We took a long car ride to The Bradenton Area, Florida – my new favorite vacation spot. I had my face out the window the whole time, tasting the salty air while my owner drove. I was a little sick of his off-key singing by the end of the trip, so I’ll remember to bring some headphones next time.


Once we arrived, we checked in to our amazing hotel. We stayed at the Compass by Margaritaville, Anna Maria Sound. Boy, was it cozy! They loved having me around. Usually I get all of the treats, but my owner was getting them too! He loved all of the complimentary snacks and buffets they offered.


The room had a huge TV, which is really only fun when my owner watches that show where the guy tries to wrestle crocodiles. He’s crazy. I think the rain-fall style shower head must have been amazing too, because my owner was in there for a long time while I waited to go play.

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We loved that the hotel was right on the marina of the Anna Maria Sound, so we got to watch all the boats and take in all of the stunning sights. The best part was that the Neal Preserve was right next door! We were in walking distance to epic trails through mangrove forests and coastal marsh habitats.

And there are plenty of other trails and adventures for dogs to explore like the Robinson Preserve, Bradenton Riverwalk and Joan M. Durante Park. Just remember, you need to keep your owners on a leash at all times. I think it’s so we make sure that they don’t drink too many margaritas or something. You know how it is…


We aren’t allowed on most beaches – bummer, I know. But, you can go to De Soto National Memorial Beach instead! It’s the best! There were tons of other dogs to sniff and meet. It’s a gorgeous spot too, right where the Manatee River meets the Gulf of Mexico. So the views are awesome! Palma Sola Causeway Park is another great beach where dogs are allowed. I met many new friends there, too.


There’s also the Happy Tails Dog Park at G.T. Bray Park. It’s kind of like the parks I’m used to at home, but it’s the only place where we can play off-leash here, which is always a blast. They have fenced in areas, and a separate section for small dogs, because sometimes they get a little overwhelmed by us big guys.

OK, let’s talk about food! Our favorite restaurant was the Waterfront Restaurant on Anna Maria Island. It has an open-air patio right on the water, so I could watch the boats go by as I waited for some food to fall to the ground. The food was delightful. They even have a “you catch, we cook” program with Anna Maria Charters, so my owner caught some fish on a boat and they cooked it up for us afterwards!


We just had the best time. Next time, I want to stay at the Zota Beach Resort on Longboat Key. It’s a beautiful contemporary resort on the island with a really cool vibe, and they love dogs too. I heard that the Best Western Plus Inn and Suites Bradenton is also very dog-friendly, and is right off of I-75 and close to shopping at the Ellenton Outlets to keep your owners busy.


Regardless, I can’t wait to come back to The Bradenton Area and get my feet in the sand again. ‘Till then, I’m going to go chase some squirrels.

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