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.

URGENT! Shell Island Update! TAKE ACTION!

March 21, 2016: The State Park wants to give themselves a new "management authority" 50 feet out into all the waters around Shell Island. They will patrol our waters and decide when to close them down for "public safety" reasons. This is an unjustified regulation that is not needed because Fish and Wildlife already does these things. Based on the state park's bias against our dogs, the past police "raid" of innocent visitors, and the past incidents of abuse of power by their employees, we believe the catch-all phrase "public safety" will be used to frequently and randomly close off access to our favorite place in the world.

You, the public, owns the waterways and the wet sand beaches of our island. If this goes through, the state park will claim ownership and restrict your freedoms.

YOU CAN HELP! Please PRINT OUT this document. Take out a writing pen (use a non-black color like blue if you can because it will show up better), write your thoughts down by hand and mail, fax or scan-and-email it back to us ASAP.

Include your name and town. You can even take a picture of it with your phone and text it to us at 850-624-3219. Just write it by hand and get it to us by March 31, 2016. Please do this even if you have given your input before. We need it AGAIN in this format.

Mail to Bay Families with Dogs, 1016 Thomas Drive #121, Panama City, FL 32408. Or fax to 850-249-2599 with a cover letter asking to please put in box 121 for Bay Families with Dogs. Thanks for everyone's support!

Click to order your tshirt!

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...

  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.

In 2014 and 2015, the state will be updating the park's "Unit Management Plan" governing how it will manage the park and Shell Island for the next ten years. Please let your voices be known about your legitimate recreational requirement of boating with your dog to the island! You can use this helpful form (while the input was requested by January 2015, the state park has said that they will accept input from any citizen at any point in time). Please modify the words in the form to express your particular interests in taking your dog to the island!

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