OKEECHOBEE — The article about area beaches in the June edition of Going Out inspired us to pack up our four-legged friends and head to the dog beach at Walton Rocks, 6700 South Ocean Drive, near Jensen Beach (on South Hutichen Island.)
Our two large dogs love car rides … maybe a little too much. We suspect they have been paying close attention to the Subaru commercials because the male dog keeps trying to get into the driver’s seat. But we were able to get the excited mutts settled down in the back seat, which we had covered with drop cloths in anticipation of the trip.
Since both dogs are from the Okeechobee Humane Society Pet/Rescue, we didn’t know if they had ever seen the ocean before or what they would do when the saw the waves. But they are both retriever mixes and love the water.
The dogs seemed a little relieved as we passed the vet’s office without even slowing down.
Following the directions in the article, we drove east from Okeechobee on State Road 70 until we hit U.S. 1, then jogged north on U.S. 1 until we saw the sign for “beaches,” then turned right to head over the causeway, then right again to go south on South Ocean Drive. (If you live on the south end of Lake Okeechobee, it might be closer to head over to Stuart, cross over to South Hutchinson Island and then go north.)
From the main traffic light at SR 70 and U.S. 441 in Okeechobee, the trip was about 50 miles and the drive took about an hour.
You can’t see the dog beach from the road, as it is hidden behind sand dunes, so watch for the sign. There is plenty of parking and a convenient rest room. There’s even a ‘doggie bag’ dispenser in case your pooch has an accident, and a trash can to dispose of what you clean up.
When you go over the dune, you find the beach has gone to the dogs.
This beautiful off-leash dog park has 24 acres for canines to romp in the sand and surf.
At first we kept the dogs on their leashes, just to get them acquainted with the area. They quickly exchanged the canine sniff greetings with other beach-going pooches with no sign of aggression on either side. So we unhooked the leashes and let them hit the surf. They happily swam in the ocean and romped with the other dogs and people.
Everyone was having a great time, with the humans watching over their own four-legged family members.
When the occasional accident did happen, the owners were quick to move in, clean it up and deposit the mess in the appropriate trash can.
We brought along a water dish and some bottled water for ourselves and our pets. We made sure to take frequent water breaks to prevent dehydration.
When we had our fill of sun and surf, we washed the dogs off with the hose provided for that purpose, and then took them for a short on-leash walk to dry.
The ride home was quiet … the back seat passengers were dog tired.
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