Pet Travel. Made Easy.

Pet Friendly Austin: A Love Affair

Austin is like an experiment in pet friendliness … where the walls between entertainment, recreation, and time with your dog have been dismantled and repurposed into a dog friendly patio at the local coffee shop. Young and old, Austinites love to be outside – and whether they’re running, biking, playing sports, eating, or just sitting back taking it all in, they include their dogs in their lifestyle.

Stop by the park any day of the week and you’ll find at least a dozen dogs romping off-leash, hanging on the sidelines of a volleyball game, or chasing the soccer ball around in a pick-up match. Restaurants announce their pet friendly patios, bars post signs exclaiming Bring the Dog! and even the “pitch ‘n’ putt” golf course has a pet friendly policy. There are no breed restrictions, everyone picks up the waste, and dogs are proudly introduced as rescues from one of the successful local animal shelters.

If I were going to create the perfect dog friendly city, it would look a lot like Austin.

A Tour of Pet Friendly Austin, TX

Map of Austin

Number 1 – Pecan Grove RV Park

The Pecan Grove RV Park has been our home for the past 7 weeks and the hospitality has been surpassed only by the location. With pet friendly restaurants like Austin Java, P. Terry’s, Uncle Billy’s, and Green Mesquite a literal stone’s throw from our front door, we’re lucky not to have gained 20 pounds. Fortunately, we’re also easy walking distance from some of Austin’s dog-friendly finest, and the afternoons of exploring have balanced the caloric intake. Let me show you around …

Number 2 – Zilker Park

Being just a 5-minute walk from the off-leash area at Zilker Park has been a huge blessing for us … and for Buster.

Buster at Zilker Park

If it’s not raining, you’ll find our goofy dog spending some part of every day checking the pee-mail and catching up with his doggy friends at the park. We never imagined how helpful the socialization and training we do there would be in overcoming Buster’s leash reactivity. We’ve made a lot of progress since we arrived.

Number 3 – South Congress

It takes a bit longer to get out to our favorite spots on South Congress, but it’s definitely worth the walk. Our favorite coffee shop, Jo’s Coffee has a great outdoor patio where the pooches like to hang out.

Jo's Coffee

A little further down the street is a pod of the trendy food trucks that are sweeping the country. These trailers are a common sight in Austin, and it’s fun to pull up a picnic table and sample some of the best food you’ll ever buy on the sidewalk.

South Congress - Austin, TX

Number 4 – Auditorium Shores

If your dog is a swimmer, Auditorium Shores just may be his favorite place in Austin. This huge off-leash area runs along Lady Bird Lake between Lamar and 1st Street. Austin’s dog beach is located here, and there is never a shortage of dogs willing to play.

Buster at  Auditorium Shores

Number 5 – Whole Foods

It’s a bit unusual to include a grocery store in a pet friendly tour, but the Whole Foods store in downtown Austin is the city’s most popular tourist attraction. The company is headquartered here and they’ve built a food buying experience like no other. Pets can’t join you inside, but there is a comfortable outdoor seating area where you can take turns keeping the dogs company and exploring the store.

Whole Foods Store

Number 6 – Warehouse District

Austin is known as the “Live Music Capitol of the World”, and a good number of music venues are on Sixth Street. Taking the dogs for a concert may be problematic, but finding a great place to eat in the Warehouse District isn’t! Even in chilly weather, the pet friendly patios are popular – and many are kept toasty with propane heaters.

Pet Friendly Patio in Warehouse District

 Number 7 – Texas State Capitol Grounds

The dome of the Capitol can be seen from many vantage points around Austin and it has been one of our favorite places to walk the boys. Completed in 1888, it is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most distinguished state capitols.

Texas Capitol Building

Located on the northern edge of downtown, it’s the perfect spot to grab a bench for a pet friendly picnic lunch. They also have a nice a self-guided tour that reveals the historical significance of the statues, historic markers, and trees around the Capitol grounds. If you’re feeling ambitious, continue north four blocks and take a stroll around the campus at the University of Texas.

 Number 8 – Lady Bird Lake Trail

The Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail creates a complete circuit around Lady Bird Lake and is 100% pet friendly. Austin boasts more than 190 miles of trails in the city, but this tree-lined gem has to be the most popular. The entire loop is 10.3 miles, starting at Zilker Park and stretching east to the Longhorn Dam that created the lake.

Lady Bird Lake Trail

If you’re not part of the RVing crowd, you’ll find a nice selection of pet friendly hotels in Austin. We’d probably choose the Driskill Hotel for it’s historic charm and prime location. Of course, the Four Seasons is also lovely – and even if you’re not a guest, you and your dog are welcome to enjoy the view from their back lawn overlooking the lake with service from the bar.

Watching the Sunset Over the Lake

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

  • We love Austin – we spend a few months there in the winter and the dogs have a great time!

  • There are some great dog friendly bars in Austin, too. Love having pooches on patios!…/5-dog-friendly-bars…/

  • […] favorite locations depend almost entirely on the time of year. For example, we adore Austin in the winter, but wouldn’t want to be there in August. Portland, Oregon is perfection in […]

  • Lauren M. Forgione says:

    Amy Burkert LOL! that does make me feel better. we’ve been to San Antonio (and loved it), but I’ve been scared of Austin. :-) so glad you guys enjoyed!

  • Lauren M. Forgione says:

    austin looks amazing. I’ve always wanted to visit, even before we got desmond. but here’s my one hesitation about austin: don’t you have to be, like, super cool and hip to not feel just plain foolish there? it intimidates me. I think I’d go there and feel very old and/or lame.

  • Dawn Ross says:

    Amy Burkert Here is a link to more abut it – It has some great swimming holes along the trail too. I’m not sure how much water it currently has since I understand there has been a severe drought over the summer and fall.

  • This proves the benefit of living in a city with a warm climate: tons of great dog friendly places, open year round! The few dog-friendly patios we do have are only open in summer months and it makes for quite a dismal winter. Perhaps one of these days we’re just going to have to head south.

  • Dawn Ross says:

    Zilker Park is a great place to take your dog in Austin. Zilker Park also has access to the 7.9 mile long Barton Creek Greenbelt. Dogs must be leashed but it is one of the best to take your dogs for a nature hike.

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