Welcome to Bay Families with Dogs
Welcome to Bay Families with Dogs
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Shared Joy Welcome to Bay Families with Dogs!
Bay Families with Dogs is a non-profit advocacy group formed to improve the community environment for people who enjoy outdoor recreation with their dogs. Goals include better education and awareness for both dog owners and the non-dog owning community, and to obtain and maintain recreation zones on area beaches for Bay County families to enjoy responsibly with their dogs. ... more

Join Our Sister Organization, Friends of Shell Island While Bay Families with Dogs was formed to fight for our continued access to Shell Island (Panama City, Florida) with our dogs, we have received a huge amount of support from boaters who don't even have a dog, but are concerned about their continued recreational access. As a result, they formed "Friends of Shell Island" to support anyone who is interested in maintaining our access to Shell Island in the future (dog or no-dog). Please join our sister organization, Friends of Shell Island, now! Here: www.friendsofshellisland.org.

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NEW: I Belong on Shell Island T-Shirts!

Join up with Bay Families with Dogs and get your "I Belong on Shell Island" T-Shirt!. Learn more...



SHELL ISLAND - RECLAIMING OUR ACCESS
  Other Local Public Access Topics


You can take your dog by boat to Shell Island (off Panama City, Florida) due to Bay Families with Dogs members' efforts in 2006. Head to the center point of the island (where all the boats anchor). This section is a residential subdivision called "Spanish Ante." It is NOT a State Park in this area. If you don't have a boat, check out the pet-friendly charters and boat rentals on our Community page.

In the summer of 2006, a controversial decision by the State of Florida sparked the formation of Bay Families with Dogs. Citizens who had been enjoying the shores of Shell Island (off Panama City, FL) for generations with their dogs along were forced off the island by armed patrols making criminal charges. As the controversy raged, the Bay County Commission voted unanimously to ask the State to work with them on a solution for recreational access at Shell Island as well as on some mainland beach areas. In 2006, the state held a public meeting in Panama City that drew a huge turnout in favor of restoring the generations-old recreational access these families cherish.

The state park updated its park management plan in the spring of 2016, and added authority for its personnel to close off waters 50 feet from shore, but only for "public safety" risks. This should not impact your ability to visit Shell Island with your dog in the water, on the wet sand, on county roads or private property.

If any park personnel engage you and/or try to restrict your access, please get their name, agency, what authority they believe they have, and report it to us. Please video the encounter. You can reach us at info@bayfwd.org.

Click here to learn more, see pictures and sign the petition....*

First Mate Pets - Nautical dog beds and accessories


Dog Beaches:
Dog Friendly Beach
Established in Bay County!


Sign the petition here to show your support for keeping this dog beach
and adding others

Dog-Friendly Public Spaces:
 Panama City Beach:
  • Pier Park
  • Frank Brown Park
  • Panama City Beach Conservation Park and Gayle's Trails
  • Zollie Young Park

  •  Panama City:
  • Al Helms Dog Park - NEW!

    Panama City, Florida now has a top-notch dog park, just blocks away from the quaint historic downtown and the St. Andrews Bay. Featuring small dog and large dog sections, benches, a gazebo and fire hydrant watering stations, this park is a must for dog-loving visitors to the area. 1022 Balboa Avenue, Panama City, Florida.


  • Zollie Young Park
  • Everitt Avenue Dog Park

  • Click to Find out More
    Click to View DocumentaryVisit Xena's Corner



    Contact Us

    Related Links

      Dog Parks and Beaches Nationwide
      Pet Travel
      Pet Friendly Vacation Rentals
      Public Access Freedoms
      Responsible Dog Guardianship in Public

    Proposed Rules for Dog Beaches in Bay County
    • ALWAYS clean up after your dog!
    • Do not let your dog visit other people unless invited.
    • Your dog must be well-behaved and under your control at all times, whether by voice or leash.
    • Always pay attention to where your dog is and what your dog is doing.
    • Your dog must be fully immunized and wear ID tags.
    • Cooperation between dog owners is essential - ensure that other owners know and comply with the rules.
    • For Children and their Parents: How to Greet a Dog