This post is part of a series on the Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip, a 10-month, 15,000 mile tour of the top pet friendly attraction in each of the lower 48 states.
Choosing the #1 pet friendly destination in each state was the hard part – now we’re visiting each location, and sharing our experiences with you. The purpose of this grand adventure is to celebrate the bonds that grow and the beautiful moments we collect when we travel with our pets. We hope you’ll hop aboard and join us vicariously here on the blog and on social media by following the #pawsomememories hashtag. Waggin’ trails!
Seventeen years ago, when Rod and I met on the River Walk, it was a fun, touristy destination where paths rather than sidewalks connected restaurants and bars, and the river and bridges provided a certain amount of ambiance. It was a convenient place for visitors to bask in the tropical setting of an outdoor patio and enjoy some people watching. But if you wandered too far the Walk was deserted, and didn’t feel like a particularly safe place to be after dark.
If that’s how you think of the River Walk, it’s high time you returned for another look! Two initiatives have extended and beautified the River Walk, stretching it four miles north and nine miles south of the U-shaped downtown section we all remember. It now provides access to some of San Antonio’s most precious historical and cultural sites, and makes getting there part of the fun. San Antonio has taken what used to be a tourist trap and turned it into one of the most unique and tranquil parks in the country.
Pet On The River Walk
Our favorite part of visiting the River Walk is that it’s entirely pet friendly! Pets must be on-leash, and care should be taken in congested areas for the pet’s safety and the safety of other visitors.
Rules for Pets on the River Walk
Pedestrians and pets should stay to the right on the paths, so others can pass on the left.
Pets should be picked up after – some waste stations and trash receptacles are provided.
The San Antonio River Walk is open 365 days a year, and most of it is open 24 hours. The area through Brackenridge Park is open from 5am – 11pm, and the Mission Reach section is open from dawn to dusk as a natural area.
King William District
We started out south of downtown in the King William Historic District – one of our favorite sections of the River Walk. Some of the city’s oldest and loveliest historic homes are located here, and you can stroll from River Walk, to street level, and back again, imagining how life might have been in the mid-1800s.
The riverboat tours you see cruising by don’t allow pets, but you and your dog can navigate the river via standup paddleboard at SUP SATX! Located in the King William District, this company offers lessons, tours, and yoga – and your furry pal is welcome to join you.
It’s an easy mosey along the River Walk from the King William District to the downtown area. The Downtown Loop is the most popular section of the River Walk, so it’s where we spend the least time. Ty and Buster don’t do well around crowds, and if your dog feels the same way, plan your visit for early in the day.
Mornings here are lovely, with lots of benches to sit and soak in the scenery. The gardens in this section of the Walk shine in a rainbow of colors in the Spring, and this is where the annual Holiday River Parade and Lighting festival takes place just after Thanksgiving.
If you’re sniffing for a place to eat, and are lucky enough to have a social dog, head over to Rita’s on the River or Charlie Wants a Burger, where pets are welcome to join you on the patio. One thing we’d like to see improved is the number of pet friendly downtown restaurants – most don’t allow pets, which is disappointing.
North of downtown, the River Walk passes through the hip and trendy Pearl District. This pedestrian-friendly neighborhood has restaurants – several with pet friendly patios, a grocery store for picnic supplies, interesting boutiques, and a bakery with macaroons to die for! You also find public restrooms and bike rentals here, in case you’d like to explore more of the River Walk than is possible on foot.
This was the third of 17 meet-ups and adoption events we’ll be hosting on our 48-state tour, and we were excited to partner with the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services. It was lovely to see old friends and some people we’ve “known” online for a long time, but finally got to meet in person!
Most rewarding news of the day was that the shelter normally has adoptions in the low 20s on a Saturday, and a total of 31 pets went home with their forever families while we were there! We’re so excited to have been part of their big day!
Visiting these attractions with Ty and Buster is a dream come true. We’ll be blogging about each one as we go along, so fasten your seatbelt and stay tuned!
The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip wouldn’t be possible without the support of our wonderful sponsors: Winnebago, 2 Hounds Design, Alcott, goDog®, PetGuide.com, Red Roof Inns, Sleepypod, The Bark, PetHub, RVPetSafety.com, and The Honest Kitchen. Please be sure to visit their websites and social media pages and thank them for their participation!