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A Day in Austin with the Dogs

We told you how weird, wonderful, and pet friendly Austin is, but we haven’t told you what we did during our visit. Here are our suggestions for a perfect day in Austin!

Pet Friendly - Austin, TX

Need coffee in the morning? Head down to Jo’s Coffee in the SoCo neighborhood.

Jo's Coffee- Austin, TX

They have shady outdoor seating, and the double chocolate muffin is to die for.

Jo's Coffee Outdoor Seating

After breakfast, take a walk over to Auditorium Shores and burn off a few calories at the dog beach.

Buster at Austin's Dog Beach

You won’t find a double gated entry here – in fact this dog beach isn’t fenced at all. Located on Lady Bird Lake Trail, you’ll know you’re there when you see these signs:

Leash free area

The trail is shared by runners, walkers, bikers, and off-leash dogs, so be sure your dog responds well to verbal commands. While Buster was playing, I saw a young dog run in front of a biker and get hit. The biker crashed to the ground and the frightened pup ran off. Fortunately, the closest street is across a large field and the owner was able to catch up to her dog before the mishap turned into a tragedy. As it turned out, neither biker nor dog sustained serious injuries, but watching it happen left me a little shaky.

When you’re done at the beach, take a stroll out Lady Bird Lake Trail to Zilker Park. Rent a boat and explore Town Lake, or enjoy a walk through the botanical gardens. There are huge fields where dogs run and play, and don’t miss Barton Springs Pool. Though the spring fed swimming pool is not pet friendly, it is amazing – and there is an area downstream where dogs can splash in the water.

Barton Springs Pool 1 Barton Springs Pool 2

From Zilker Park walk back on Barton Springs Road and stop at P. Terry’s burger stand for lunch. They use local ingredients and make everything fresh each morning. Their veggie burger is the best I’ve ever had, and do yourself a favor – get the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.

P. Terry's Burger Stand

Afternoons can get pretty warm in Austin – if it’s hot, head over to Butler Park and find spot to relax in the shade. If you’re up for a walking tour of downtown, cross the pedestrian bridge at Lamar and pick your poison: the live music venues that Austin is famous for are on 6th Street; Amy’s Ice Cream – the best in the city – is at 6th and Lamar; or mosey along the Shoal Creek Trail – you won’t even know you’re in a city.

Downtown Austin

When dinner time rolls around you’ll have plenty of pet friendly restaurants to choose from – there are more than 80 listed on the GoPetFriendly.com website! No matter where you decide to dine, be back on Lady Bird Lake for sunset.

Sunset in Austin

In Key West, sunset is a celebrated event each day – in Austin it’s the flight of the bats. Shortly after sunset, from March through October, you’ll see people congregating on the Congress Street bridge waiting for the largest urban bat colony in North America to depart for the nightly hunt. For the best view, walk down Lady Bird Lake Trail on the north side of the lake until you’re just east of the bridge. Bring a blanket and binoculars, and enjoy the show.

The last stop for the day – back to Amy’s for ice cream.

Amy's Ice Cream Shop

Pet Friendly Accommodations

Austin has a great selection of pet friendly hotels – there are 70 listed on the GoPetFriendly.com website. If you’re RVing, there is really only one place to stay – the Pecan Grove RV Park. It’s tough to get a site here, so make your reservations in advance. You won’t be disappointed – the park is located on Barton Springs Road and within dog walking distance of everything described above.

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

  • You’re welcome, Laura. We did take a trip down to Port Aransas last spring, and though the beach was pet friendly, I didn’t enjoy it much. The weather wasn’t very nice while we were there and after being in Austin the pet friendly spots seemed hard to come by. Perhaps we’ll have to give it another shot. Either way, I hope you enjoy your trip – Austin’s a great pet friendly city!

  • Great post! I’ve been wanting to take a road trip with my dog but was kind of worried about finding dog-friendly things to do. I think we may do the road trip to Austin. I’ve never been and always wanted to go. I would love a post like this about Galveston or Corpus Christi. I would also like to introduce the ocean and beach to my dog, but wondered what else there is to do and what places are dog friendly around there. Thanks for the Austin post!!!

  • Thank you so much for this post, we are still pretty new to the area and after reading this article this week we took our two pups down to Austin today. We pretty much followed the same route, starting at Jo’s and grabbing some delicious pastries and coffee. We added in a jaunt up to the farmer’s market and then back along the leash free. It was a great day and our girls are passed out now recovering from all the fun.

  • […] that one of the most pet friendly cities was actually to the south in Austin, TX. Her review of Austin includes many pet friendly restaurants and a list of pet friendly hotels, but […]

  • […] A destination guide lists activities by state, with three entries for Texas, including A Day in Austin with the Dogs. […]

  • MelF says:

    Wow. Sounds like Austin is a lovely town. I had heard they were very pet friendly, but it sounds better than I thought. Don’t know how I would feel taking my dogs to the park where bikers are riding by (that story of the biker and the dog made me cringe), but I love the idea of a beach. I also love the sunset – minus the bats on my part. :)

  • Pup Fan says:

    You had me at double chocolate muffin. :)

    Great post… and thank goodness the dog/biker incident turned out okay!  I’d never be able to take Bella to a dog park like that… she tends to get too distracted to listen to me!

  • So glad you posted all this info – we’re gearing up for our Austin trip with Yoshi and this will be a great reference for us.  Also….love the road trip planner!  It’s a long drive from St. Louis to Austin and  I used it to plot vet clinics w/phone numbers along the way (just in case!) and printed it out.  Very reassuring to have that info ahead of time rather than scrambling to find help during a crisis.  Yoshi just had his checkup and yearly vaccinations, so he’s ready for some AUSTIN ACTION, lol!

  • Peggy Frezon says:

    That off lead beach looks pretty cool. Kelly could probably cause some commotion there, lol.  I’m glad the pup and the bicyclist weren’t hurt. 

    • It was so funny watching Buster watch the other dogs. He doesn’t like to swim, so he was mesmerized by the dogs that launched themselves into the lake after a tennis ball. Some of those dogs were really great swimmers!

  • We take our two dogs, ones a lab and the others a Rottweiler/ Husky (“rusky”) with us when ever possible. Only thing is we also have a toddler and finding a place to satisfy all of them is next to impossible. Defiantly no leash free posted parks or swimming areas and there are lakes everywhere you turn. We tend to do some back woods camping when ever we can so that were able to spread out. Nice to know there are places that cater to mans best friend!

    • You guys might enjoy checking out the national forests. Most have developed campgrounds and backwoods camping – and most allow dogs to be off-leash. Just confirm the rules with a ranger when you make your arrangement. The forests that require leashes tend to have a good reason – like wildlife in the area that could harm your dogs.

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