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Texas’ Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk

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This post is part of a series on The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip, our 10-month, 15,000-mile tour of the top pet friendly attraction in each of the lower 48 states.

Texas’ Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk

Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.comSeventeen 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.

Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com

Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.comPet 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.

Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com
Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com

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.

Downtown Loop

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.

Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com

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.

Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com

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 where pets are welcome to join you on the patio. One thing we’d like to see San Antonio improve is getting more pet friendly downtown restaurants – most don’t allow pets, which is disappointing.

Pearl District

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.

Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com

San Antonio Meet-up

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!

Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com Texas' Top Pet Friendly Attraction: The San Antonio River Walk | GoPetFriendly.com

Thank You to our Sponsors

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: Winnebago2 Hounds Design, AlcottgoDog®PetGuide.comRed Roof InnsSleepypodThe 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!

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
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  • David says:

    Oh wow, I was totally going to create an article at some point cataloging the entire stretch of the San Antonio Riverwalk (15 miles). It looks like you have done a big chunk here. My dog and I have already hiked several areas including the Missions, downtown, and Pearl area. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say it’s the top thing to do with your dog, as we rarely see other dogs on the Riverwalk, but it is quite extraordinary.

    • Amy at GoPetFriendly.com says:

      Thanks, David! I agree – the Riverwalk is a wonderful place to enjoy with a pet. We’ve explored quite a bit of it with our dogs and enjoyed all the different vibes and sites in the different areas. The fact that so few people bring their dogs is difficult for me to understand. It’s such a lovely place to walk in the city – I’d take advantage of it very day if I lived in San Antonio! Anyway, than you for your note and enjoy your time on the Riverwalk!

      • David says:

        My girl loves the river, but she is partial to ducks! They may be her favorite animal to chase. She hates being wet, but I feel like she would jump in after them if I let her. You mentioned that most people don’t take their dogs to the Riverwalk and I think there are several reasons for that. Many of the people on the Riverwalk are touring, or visiting San Antonio so they are probably without their dogs. The downtown stretch is also THE high traffic area, some people are probably reluctant to bring their dogs around that. The outer stretches though I find are very vacant, good for jogging and biking, or dog walking. Do you have any suggestions for “cooler” places to visit? I’ve seen only swimming areas online, which are not cool, just more wet. Some of the local caves would be great, but they won’t allow dogs near their stalagmites and stuff.

        • Amy at GoPetFriendly.com says:

          There are certainly a lot of ducks on the Riverwalk! Lots of entertainment for your girl. =)

          Finding cooler places to visit in that part of Texas is tricky. They’re building a large indoor dog park in Austin, but it probably won’t be finished until next year. Right now, the best advice I have is to take a 2-hour drive down to the Gulf! Sorry I can come up with any better suggestions.

          • David says:

            Alright, thanks. I guess we will just keep getting up at sunrise and try to avoid most of the heat at that time. We are planning on heading to the Gulf, but not until it cools down a bit. I just saw Big Bend has a State Park with high walls that may be somewhat cool. Unfortunately it would be an 8 hour drive. Yikes!

          • Amy at GoPetFriendly.com says:

            Hi David! We spend a lot of time down in Big Bend in the winter, and there are a couple of trails there where pets are allowed. The hoodoo trail is sunny and would be very hot, but the box canyon trail is nice and shady. The only thing is, it’s only about a mile long. It would be an super-long drive for such a short hike.

            If you do want to get down that way sometime, I recommend staying in Lajitas – either at the RV park or at the hotel. The dog friendly trails at Big Bend National Park and State Park are both very limited – but all the trails on the Lajitas property are pet friendly. And there are a lot to choose from!

  • You girls will have a fantastic time in San Antonio, Edie! I hope that the book tour goes really well and that you can plan a couple days for yourself to enjoy the city. Madeleine will be a bit hit on the River Walk, and with those pleading eyes of hers, I’m sure she’ll score at more than just the burger joint. Thanks for your note on the adoption event – it was a great day!

  • Edie Jarolim says:

    Madeleine and I will be going to San Antonio in June (on the Author and Her Dog book tour) and it’s been years since I visited one of my favorite cities. I’m super excited to hear about all the big changes on the RiverWalk! Madeleine is especially keen on that burger restaurant you mentioned…. Congrats especially on the success of the adoption event!

  • Thanks so much, Bonnie! San Antonio has a special place in my heart and we never get tired of exploring it with the boys. There’s so much to do and see – I’m sure you’ll all have a wonderful time!

  • You’re right – it’s an amazing place for a picnic, Pam! And knowing that those pets now have loving families is a special part of what we’re doing. I’m so excited to think of them all heading out on summer vacations with their people!

  • What a lovely spot. I can’t say I’d be too disappointed there aren’t more pet-friendly restaurants. It looks like a great place to enjoy a oet-friendly picnic.Best of all, 31 dogs found news homes! That makes me really love San Antonio.

  • Another wonderful blog report! The kind of tasty and informative blog that I’ve come to expect from you, Amy. I always look forward to these vicarious vacations. It’s been a while since I’ve been to San Antonio but it’s on my list once again. Thanks for the beautiful pics as well ! WTG ! So happy you helped 31 dogs find their Furever Homes !!

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