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Taking the Dogs for a San Antonio River Walk

A little more than eleven years ago, Rod and I met at a conference at a hotel on the San Antonio River Walk. San Antonio is just 80 miles south of Austin, making it a great day trip or weekend get-away location. We spent a couple nostalgic days showing the dogs around the city where this adventure really got started.

When you see a place with your dogs, it’s like seeing it for the first time. Though Rod and I had been to San Antonio twice before, we didn’t have a feel for how the city would rate on pet friendliness.  We were excited to find out that San Antonio’s popular tourist attraction – the River Walk – is entirely pet friendly!

Actually a public park, the River Walk is more than 5 miles of paved walkways, passes and bridges. Parts are lined with restaurants, shops and businesses. Other sections are so quiet and green, you could easily forget you’re in a city.

Durty Nelly's Irish PubDurty Nelly’s, where Rod and I had our first drink together, is a fun bar right in the thick of things. The salty piano player draws the crowds here, and like most bars and restaurants on the River Walk, they have outdoor seating with a view of the river – the perfect perch for people watching.

We learned that San Antonio has some interesting rules when it comes to dogs and restaurants. Lori, currently a San Antonio resident and author of the blog, According to Gus, told us that restaurants with pet friendly outdoor seating areas must obtain a special permit from the city. This requirement has caused many eateries to be “unofficially” pet friendly – meaning that if you ask, your pet will likely be welcome, but the restaurant won’t be advertising the fact.

Finding a pet friendly hotel in San Antonio will not be a problem – we have more than 125 listed on the GoPetFriendly.com website. There are also plenty of pet friendly campgrounds to choose from. We stayed at Traveler’s World RV Resort, which was a nice park close to downtown. They have an off-leash area and are right on the hike and bike path (though both were closed during our visit due to improvements being made to the path). It’s also on the bus line, which makes it easy to get downtown without worrying about RV parking!

Evenings on the River Walk are crowded, and there is no barrier that would prevent you or your pup from falling in the river. While it’s not deep, it wouldn’t be a pleasant way to end your evening. If your pooch is like ours – too big for a pocket book and without a firm grasp on the concept of “heel” –  I suggest avoiding the throngs. Either stroll the downtown section during the day, or check out the new Museum Reach Extension for a real treat.

Beautifully landscaped and far less populated, the Museum Reach Extension runs 2.5 miles from downtown out to Pearl Brewery, a museum and the site of the Culinary Institute of America.

Dogs on Riverwalk - Pet Friendly San Antonio, TX

If you’re driving there is also plenty of parking around the Pearl, which is located just off Broadway at Newell Avenue. There are few cafes and restaurants on the Museum Reach Extension, so pick up a picnic lunch at the food market near the entrance to the River Walk and enjoy the scenery!

Pearl Brewery Food Market on San Antonio River Walk San Antonio River Walk Dog Bowl on San Antonio River Walk Wildlife on San Antonio River Walk Boat on San Antonio River Walk Dog Waste Stations along San Antonio River Walk Ducks and Turtle on San Antonio River Walk Walking on the River Walk - San Antonio

More recently we visited San Antonio to explore the dog friendly sites beyond the River Walk.

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
Pet Friendly Hotels | Pet Friendly Destinations | Pet Friendly Activities


Comment Archive

Amy@GoPetFriendly Jun 19, 2011 at 12:38 am
Excellent! We hope you two have a terrific time.
Clover Street Jun 19, 2011 at 12:30 am
I just adopted my pooch, and I have been planning on taking her to the RiverWalk, but wasn't sure if it was allowed. Now that I know, I'm definitely ready for some exciting times with her
Amy@GoPetFriendly May 18, 2011 at 3:51 am
Yes, Lori and Gus hang out on the River Walk a lot. The park is about 5 miles long - we were probably in a different section than Lori's photos. And, yes, that is definitely a turtle by the duck - the duck was keeping a very close him.
Adventurejess May 18, 2011 at 3:35 am
That looks like a very pretty park. Is it the same one Lori at Accoring to Gus is always talking about? The scenery looks different...and is that a turtle by that duck? 
Lori @ According to Gus May 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm
So glad you were able to walk the Museum Reach section - it's so lovely!  We walk and run there every weekend.  It's our favorite spot in SA. :D
Amy@GoPetFriendly May 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm
I agree, Hawk, it's a great place to visit in the winter. It was already in the 90s in April!
Amy@GoPetFriendly May 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm
I can understand that, Linda! It was into the 90s when we were there in April. We had to get up early and get the dogs out for their walk, or they wouldn't have gotten to see the River Walk - it was just too hot during the day.
Amy@GoPetFriendly May 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm
Yeah, they make it really convenient, and people seemed to be taking advantage of it - the whole area was very clean. Jersey is such a good girl, I'm sure you guys would have a great time even in the more populated areas. But the quite sections of the walk are great too. It's like you have the whole place to yourself.
Amy@GoPetFriendly May 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm
Thanks Michele! Yep, the boys were happy that we got up and moving early. If we'd waiting another hour or so we wouldn't have been able to take them - the temperatures were in the 90s!  
Michele C. Hollow May 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm
 Amy, I love the story about how you two met. Ty and Buster look like they are smiling in the photo. 
Karen Friesecke May 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm
I have had friends tell me about how awesome the River Walk area is and it is on the "to do" list. I am impressed with the public water dishes and poo bag dispensers for dog owners! Nice touch!!  
Roxanne Hawn May 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm
I've only been there once, ages ago, but I loved the River Walk area. 
Linda in Colorado Springs May 14, 2011 at 2:30 am
 We were stationed in San Antonio six years ago.We only made it to the River Walk once, but I will have to say San Antonio is not someplace I enjoyed living with my dog, especially one who preferred cold weather. He kept begging us to move back to Germany... cold weather. He kept begging us to move back to Germany...
Hawk aka BrownDog May 13, 2011 at 10:15 pm
Hi y'all, My Human lived in SA in the "olden days".  That's her favorite town.  We've been told she wouldn't know it there anymore... It's too hot here, so if she goes again, I hope it's in the winter. Y'all come by now, Hawk aka BrownDog