Pup Walk – Smyrna Dunes Park

Dog Trail

Dog Trail

It’s my first day of vacation, y’all!

My original plan was to get everything I had planned to do in the house done, write, then goof off later this week.

I did run the dishwasher.

But it’s the first day of vacation, the weatherman was hinting at crappy weather over the weekend and the sun was shining, so the dogs and I hit the beach instead. Smyrna Dunes Park has a dog beach and is a fairly easy drive from Orlando (about an hour).

Good thing we went early – it was HOT!

The dogs were excited. They’ve never been to the beach.

Great day for the beach!

Great day for the beach!

It’s quite a haul down a sand trail to get there. Next time we’ll take the first cut through. This time, being in explorer mode, we went to the far end.

Usually I’m careful to choose hikes that have stretches of shade. About halfway down the trail the dogs started shooting me looks that clearly said “Shouldn’t we be getting to shade about now?”

It’s not that far distance-wise (according to my walk tracking app, we only traveled a little over a mile round trip, but it felt like ten). I had forgotten just how hot it can be at the beach and there was very little breeze. It was early (9-ish), which was a good thing.

The beach is not on the ocean side, but on the inlet side, which was a little disappointing. There were quite a few dogs with owners frolicking on the sand and in the water. The rules require dogs to stay on leashes, which kind of defeats the purpose of having all that space to run and swim in.

Gizmo absolutely loved it. He swam his little heart out all along the shoreline.

Gizmo had a blast

Gizmo had a blast

The girls hated every minute. I knew they didn’t like to swim, but I thought they would at least enjoy cooling their paws in the water. They didn’t. I had quite the balancing act to give Gizmo enough room and enough depth so he could swim while not strangling the girls, who refused to come anywhere near the water or even the cool packed sand. I wish I had a crab net – there were plenty of crabs in the shallows.

Word of warning: The last part of the walk before you get to the beach is on a boardwalk over some scrub, which is fine, except if you have a tiny dog like Tinkerbell who is smaller than the bottom railing. We met a huge dog on his way down and our way back, and scooted over to make room. Tinkerbell is shy around big dogs so she scooted a bit too far and much to my horror went over the edge. Fortunately, it wasn’t very high above the ground, she didn’t land on anything dangerous, and I was able to scoop her up and get her back on the boardwalk with a minimum of drama, but it scared me (and her) to death. I ended up carrying her until we got back on solid ground.

Going back, the dogs made a beeline for the one spot of shade. Yuki plopped herself down and informed me she was done with the death march, so I ended up carrying her the rest of the way.

Shade!

Shade!

At the head of the trail there is a spray shower, a hose, and a big steel bowl for water, which is a good thing.

It was so hot that Gizmo was perfectly dry by the time we got back to the car.

There is a $5.00 entry fee to get into the park. Gizmo and I definitely had $5.00 worth of fun. The girls want their money back.

We only stayed about an hour, and on the way home ran through some strong showers and wild lightning so I’m glad we went when we did and also glad we left when we did.

Gizmo and I may go back – but we won’t bring the girls.

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