Best Dog-Friendly Activities in Austin: 9 Awesome Adventures With Your Pooch

Lifestyle By Kelsey Leicht 21 min read September 18, 2023

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stuff to do with dog in Austin

Austin is a vibrant city with loads of entertainment for people, but did you know you can find plenty of pup-friendly places, too? 

That’s right, you can enjoy dog-friendly activities of all kinds in Texas’ capital city, and there are options for every doggo, whether you’re a pet parent to a young bouncin’ barker or a mature mutt cruising at a slower pace.

Below, we’ll share the best dog-friendly activities in Austin and some etiquette pointers to make your outing successful.

The 9 Best Dog-Friendly Activities in Austin

Austin activities for dogs

Canine enrichment activities are vital in keeping your pup content and helping him live his best life, and with Austin being the best city for dogs and dog owners, there’s no shortage of options. Let’s run through the best dog-friendly activities in Austin together and see which options suit your sniffer.

1. Visit a dog park with your playful pupper.

dog parks in Austin

City-living sniffers often don’t have access to backyards, making a trip to an off-leash dog park a win for social butterfly woofs. These public pooch playgrounds let your dog meet new floof friends and burn off energy.

Many dog parks have separate spaces for large and small dogs, allowing for safer play between pups, as some breeds may exhibit predatory aggression around smaller canines or accidentally injure them through rowdy play. 

When venturing to the dog park, follow the posted rules and those of unspoken dog park etiquette and manners to ensure you don’t ruffle any fur parent feathers.

While dog park statistics show these pupper play zones benefit communities, they aren’t right for every Rover. Like humans, dogs have unique personalities, and some just aren’t fond of strange canines or people. If your pup prefers solo play, consider dog park alternatives

See which of these dog parks in Austin match your mutt. 

Mary Moore Searight Off Leash Trail

About: This 1.25-mile, no-frills stretch of trail permits your pooch to get his run on and burn off zoomies in an off-leash setting. It’s an excellent match for larger, athletic dogs who can handle the rougher natural terrain, but your Rover must have a solid recall. Despite the park being fully fenced, the size would make wrangling a dog that doesn’t obey commands outside challenging.

Address: 9401 S 1st Street, Austin, TX 78748

Phone Number: (512) 300-5382

Website: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100069451055672 

Special Notes:

  • Open from dawn to dusk daily year-round
  • Skip visiting after rain, as the trail can get super muddy

Neighbors Dog Park

About: This private pupper play place requires visiting woofs to be spayed or neutered and current on rabies, distemper, Bordetella, and parvo vaccines, offering peace of mind to pet parents not keen on the Wild West nature of public dog parks. A day pass to this obstacle-adorned space costs $12, while a monthly pass for unlimited access is $35 for a single doggo or $48 for two pupperinos.

Address: 5609 South Congress Avenue, Unit 220, Austin, TX 78745

Phone Number: (512)-520-8666

Website: https://www.neighborsatx.com/ 

Special Notes:

  • Hours vary by season, with summer the summer schedule being Monday to Thursday from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Friday from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Saturday from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM, and Sunday from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
  • Artificial grass and mulch terrain
  • Plenty of seating for pet parents, with chairs and picnic tables
  • Check the social calendar for occasional maintenance closings
  • No children under 15, dogs under 4 months, yelling at dogs, or outside treats and toys are permitted

Auditorium Shores at Town Lake Metro Park

About: This dog park isn’t fully fenced, but it’s still a fun spot to take your canine to run if he comes reliably when called. There are shaded areas for relaxing with your Rover, plus water access for cooling off when temperatures rise.

Address: 900 W Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78704

Phone Number: N/A

Website: https://www.facebook.com/AuditoriumShores/ 

Special Notes:

  • Open from dawn to dusk
  • Dirt terrain and water can mean lots of mud, so expect to bathe your dog after visiting
  • One of the busier areas of the city for sniffers; avoid peak hours to avoid a mosh pit of mutts
Pet-Care Pro Tip: Want more pooch-friendly play parks in Austin?

You’re in luck, as this city is ripe with Rover romping spaces. Check out our list of the best dog parks in Austin to see even more options.

2. Beat the heat and let your hound swim.

take your dog swimming in Austin

Austin’s summers see high temperatures that can reach triple digits, making outdoor time downright dangerous for humans and doggos. Swimming is an excellent canine exercise on warmer days when it’s safe to venture out. 

You can invest in a dog pool or splash pad for solo play at home, but heading to a dog-friendly swim spot is a more enriching option to change your Rover’s routine. Bring water toys to increase your floof’s fun, too.

For safety’s sake, a dog life vest should be worn by weak woof swimmers or doggos who tire easily, like seniors. Continuously monitor your paddling pooch as well.

Soak up these Austin water holes for woofs.

Great Northern Dog Park

About: This dog park’s calm retention pond and creek runoff offer a more mellow swim experience than larger bodies of water, making it a good spot for senior pups or beginner swimmers. The area isn’t fenced, so keep your canine on a long leash unless he has excellent recall and doesn’t run away.

Address: 6916 Great Northern Boulevard, Austin, TX 78757

Phone Number: N/A

Website: https://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Parks/GIS/Great_Northern_Detention_Basin_OLA_Kiosk.pdf 

Special Notes:

  • Open from dawn to dusk
  • It can be more mud than water at times, depending on rainfall totals
  • Expect to bathe your barker after a visit

Jumping Jack Dog Ranch

About: While not technically in Austin, this pupper pool rental is a mere 20 minutes from town and gives you access to an entire dog-friendly pool free of the mud you’ll find at a lake or pond. That can save you a load of cleanup if your mutt’s a known mud wallower. Book online and bring your barker(s) in for some splashin’.

Address: 13731 Carpenter Lane, Manchaca, TX, 78652

Phone Number: (512) 580-3617

Website: https://www.jumpingjackranch.com 

Special Notes:

  • Pool rental fees range from $50 to $150, depending on the number of dogs and day selected, with weekends being more expensive
  • No children under 10 are allowed

3. Dine at a dog-friendly eatery.

dog-friendly restaurants in Austin

Visit a new Rover-welcoming restaurant with your dog and send his sniffer into overdrive with the mouth-watering scents wafting around.

Dining out with your doggo lets you fuel up for a fun day, especially if the business has a doggy menu with mutt-safe eats like grilled chicken. If they don’t, pack treats to satisfy his hunger instead of slipping him table scraps. Human food may contain excessive fat and toxic ingredients for dogs, putting your pup at risk. 

Most dog-friendly restaurants in Austin have patio seating areas, but you can also find open-air setups for scrumptious eats and sun. We recommend checking the forecast in advance, however, or considering a pupper-positive place with a covered dining area, just in case a stray shower pops up or the temperature is too high.

Explore these Austin area eateries that permit pooches the next time you’re in town.

Black Star Co-Op Pub & Brewery

About: Booze and epic eats combine at this canine-friendly stop in Highland. Pooches are allowed on the patio, where you can sink your teeth into corned beef sandwiches, butternut squash pasta, and more.

Address: 7020 Easy Wind Drive, Suite 100, Austin, TX, 78752 

Phone Number: (512) 452-2337 

Website: https://www.blackstar.coop/ 

Special Notes:

  • Open 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM Monday to Thursday and 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM Friday to Sunday
  • Check the social media schedule for events

Central Machine Works

About: Situated in an old airplane hanger, this brewery-pub combo welcomes your woof at its outdoor tables while you enjoy its casual menu of pizza, sandwiches, and salads. Best of all, you can wash it all down with draft beer, frozen drinks, or wine.

Address: 4824 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX, 78702

Phone Number: (512) 220-2340

Website: https://www.cmwbrewery.com/  

Special Notes:

  • Open Tuesday to Thursday from 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM, and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Closed Mondays

Maudie’s Tex-Mex

About: Dine with your doggo at the outdoor tables of this tasty restaurant famous for its vast menu of Tex-Mex eats like huevos rancheros, enchiladas, and chalupas. Special dietary finds like gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available, allowing more pet parents to chow down without issue.

Address: 2608 W 7th Street, Austin, TX 78703

Phone Number: (512) 473-3740

Website: https://www.maudies.com/ 

Special Notes:

  • Open Sunday to Thursday from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM and Friday and Saturday from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM (vary by location)
  • There are 6 Austin area locations to choose from
Pet-Care Pro Tip: Do you love the idea of dining out with your doggo in Austin?

Luckily, Texas’s capital city is crawling in canine-welcoming stops. Browse our list of the best dog-friendly restaurants in Austin to make finding your next dog-inclusive dining experience easier.

4. Head out for a hound-friendly hike.

hiking with dogs

Hiking is a favorite exercise for many pet parents and pups, and Austin has several areas perfect for the activity, ranging from flat, beginner-friendly routes to steeper, more advanced spans.

Hiking is best for active doggos, though seniors can still enjoy a short romp around a level path for outdoor fun. Go at your pup’s pace, and never hike on high-temperature days that’ll risk your or your hound’s health and safety. 

Ensure your pup is leashed and geared up properly before hitting the trail, whether it’s with a hiking harness or high visibility vest, for extra safety during hunting season. Stick to trails during day hours, too, as Austin is home to dangerous wildlife, including snakes and coyotes

Escape the city and explore one of these hiking trails with your four-footer.

Mount Bonnell

About: Head to Austin’s highest point with your leashed walking buddy to see the city’s beauty from above. You’ll need to climb about 100 steps to scale the summit, so this area is best for fit Fidos and humans. Also, note that the limestone ground can get hot on paws, warranting caution in the summer.

Address: 3800 Mount Bonnell Drive, Austin, TX 78731

Phone Number: (512) 974-6700

Website: https://www.mountbonnell.com/ 

Special Notes:

  • Open daily from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • No entrance fee
  • Pack water and apply sunscreen, as there isn’t much shade. (We also recommend a dog cooling vest for your canine!)
  • No public restrooms are available
  • Free parking at the base of the summit

Barton Creek Greenbelt

About: Couch potato canines and humans need not apply when covering this trail that spans over 14 miles. Check the weather in advance, stock up on water, and prepare for varied terrain, as this route isn’t great for unplanned, impromptu visits. Preparation is key!

Address: 3755 S Capital of Texas Highway B, Austin, TX 78704

Phone Number: (512) 974-6700

Website: https://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Parks/GIS/Barton_Creek_GBelt_Web_Map_reduced.pdf 

Special Notes:

  • Open 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • It is a popular route, so expect heavy foot traffic during weekends
  • Several points along the trail to dip into the water for a swim

River Place Nature Trail

About: Don’t let the 5-mile length of this trail fool you! This is one challenging route with its inclines and declines across rugged terrain. It’s the ultimate path for experienced human and hound hikers looking for a challenge.

Address: 8820 Big View Dr, Austin, TX 78730

Phone Number: N/A

Website: http://www.austinexplorer.com/locations/ShowLocation.aspx?LocationID=9337 

Special Notes:

  • Open 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily
  • All dogs must be leashed
  • It can get crowded during the weekend

5. Boat with your barker.

take dog boating in Austin

Boating in Austin? You bet.

This snifferific city has it all, including boat rentals allowing Rovers and public waterways you can explore with your own equipment, like dog-friendly kayaks.

Calmer canines might like to float around with you on the water rather than splash, especially if you have an older pup in his prime. Active doggos are sure to appreciate a trip out on the water too.

Remember dog boating safety when you’re on the water with your woof at any of these locations.

Austin Pedal Kayaks

About: This canine-friendly kayak rental isn’t within the Austin city limits, but it’s worth the drive if you’re looking for a fun day with your floof on Lake Travis. Pups can join you in a single, double, or pedal-powered kayak.

Address: 1499 Graveyard Point Road, Lakeway, TX 78734

Phone Number: (512) 522-2216

Website: https://austinpedalkayaks.com 

Special Notes:

  • Open Thursday from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Friday from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Saturday from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Sunday from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and Monday from 9:00 AM to 8:00 AM
  • Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Pricing starts at $15 per hour 
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times and cleaned up after promptly
  • Reservations and walk-in service accepted

Float On Boat Rentals

About: This tritoon boat rental business is a dream for private groups with pups, though the price tag is on the higher side, starting around $200 per hour. But divided between you and a few fur-parent friends, that isn’t so bad, right? Not for the memories you’ll make and your very own Float On captain to boat you around! This company services three Austin area lakes: Lake Austin, Lake Travis, and Lake Bastrop. 

Address: 5019 Capital of Texas Hwy N, Austin, TX 78746 for Lake Austina and 16405 Clara Van Street, Austin, TX 78734 for Lake Travis

Phone Number: (512) 436-3505

Website: https://rentalboataustin.com/ 

Special Notes:

  • Office hours are 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Please prevent your pooch from damaging the boat seats
  • 20% gratuity added to all rentals for the crew 
  • Dogs aren’t allowed on public tours

Walsh Boat Landing

About: Located on Lake Austin, this concrete public boat launch is the perfect place to set sail in your boat with your sniffer. However, dogs must be leashed at all times, and no jet skis or motorized surfboards are allowed during certain time frames, so double-check the rules before your visit.

Address: 1600 Scenic Drive, Austin, Texas 78703

Phone Number: N/A

Website: https://www.austintexas.gov/department/walsh-boat-landing 

Special Notes:

  • Open 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily
  • The boat launch fee is $10 and payable by card at kiosks

6. Go camping with your outdoorsy doggo.

go camping with your dog

Want to wander into the wild with your woof? 

How about trying out some canine camping?

Austin has scads of canine-friendly camping opportunities to choose from, ranging from overnight stints close to the city to weekend getaways further out in the country.

Camping lets you disconnect from the grind of #worklife and focus more on #wooflife with your pup. The relaxed, usually rural setting is also ideal for adding more exercise to your doggy’s day through hiking and swimming.

Camping can be stressful for dogs who struggle with change, so it’s not ideal for anxious pups or medically fragile floofs. It’s also not an activity we’d recommend with a puppy who isn’t house-trained yet, as no one wants to clean up tinkle in a tent.

Flee the city with your Fido and visit one of these dog-friendly camping spots around Austin.

Austin East KOA Holiday

About: Your floof can accompany you at this Austin area campground with tent and RV sites available. Dog-friendly amenities go beyond permitting pooches, as there’s also an onsite half-acre dog park for four-footed fun.

Address: 6029 Blue Bluff Road, Austin, TX 78724

Phone Number: (512) 732-2812

Website: https://koa.com/campgrounds/austin-east/ 

Special Notes:

  • Open year-round
  • Check-in is 3:00 PM, and check-out is 11:00 AM
  • There’s a 3-dog maximum per campsite 
  • All dogs must be kept leashed and monitored at all times
  • Dogs aren’t allowed in campground buildings, the swimming pool, or around the playground 
  • No excessive barking is allowed

Lockhart State Park

About: Travel south of the city to this state park to stay at a campsite with your pooch. Nightly fees start at $20 at night for tent sites and include electricity and water hookups, fire rings, grills, and more to keep you and your canine cozier.  

Address: 2012 State Park Road, Lockhart, TX 78644-9716

Phone Number: (512) 398-3479

Website: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lockhart 

Special Notes:

  • Day visitor hours are between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM daily
  • Make your reservation online
  • Park entrance fee is $3 for adults, and children enter for free
  • Dogs must be leashed on a lead that’s 6 feet or shorter

7. Enjoy some shopping fun with your fur kiddo.

shopping with dogs in Austin

Stopping at a dog-friendly store is a great way to flex your mutt’s manners and introduce him to new surroundings. It’s also a prime time to pick up fresh pupper gear, like a new dog bed or training toys.

Shopping outings are best for well-behaved doggos who walk nicely on a leash and don’t piddle on other people’s property. After all, no one wants to clean a woof-watered end cap!

Browse deals, doggo goods, and more at one of these pup-friendly shopping areas in Austin.

2nd Street District

About: Dog-friendly shops and restaurants dot this area of Austin, making it a perfect doggo destination for an afternoon of fun. The neighborhood is walkable and lined with trees, providing some shade for a more comfortable trek.

Address: 211 San Antonio Street, Austin, TX 78701

Phone Number: N/A

Website: https://www.2ndstreetdistrict.com/ 

Special Notes:

  • Valet, street, and garage parking available
  • Be sure a shop is dog-friendly before heading inside
  • Check the events calendar for dog-focused celebrations

Barton Creek Farmers Market

About: Set out for a leisurely Saturday stroll and shopping with your dog at this mutt-friendly outdoor market. Pick up produce, jerky, farm-fresh eggs, and more. Keep an eye out for four-footer finds, too, like dog treats.

Address: 2901 S. Capital of Texas Highway, Austin, TX 78746

Phone Number: (512) 280-1976

Website: https://bartoncreekfarmersmarket.org/ 

Special Notes:

  • Held Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • Pavement can be too hot for pupper paws in the summer

8. Grab a cold one at a barker-friendly bar.

Best Dog-Friendly Bars

Who better to grab a drink with than your best bud? 

Heading out to a dog-friendly bar isn’t something everyone has done, but for the right Rover, such an outing is a rewarding dose of excitement, bonding, and mental stimulation. It’s also a time to show off your sniffer’s good manners.

Most pooch-friendly places have a patio seating area, but we recommend ensuring the seating is covered by a tent or awning, just in case a storm pops up or you need shade from the sun. Some also have fans or air conditioning, creating a more comfortable atmosphere during the dog days of Austin summer.

Bar adventures work well for well-behaved, friendly dogs, but they’re not recommended for nervous doggos or those uncomfortable around new people or dogs. It’s not worth stressing your floof out or putting anyone at risk of a bite.

Visit one of the dog-friendly bars around Austin and make new muttastic memories.

9. See the sites with your canine companion.

austin trails for dogs

Learn more about Austin with your best fur buddy by visiting its landmarks. 

Sightseeing with your sniffer offers a double whammy of physical and mental exercise by exposing your pup to new smells, sounds, and scenery as you walk around. You can always mix dog walking games into the action to switch things up if your pooch needs a challenge here and there, too.

Get out and see Austin with your woofer in these three canine-friendly areas.

Tejano Walking Trail

About: Set aside a few hours with your floof to walk this 4.9-mile path dotted with over two dozen sites paying homage to the Hispanic history of the area. Murals and gorgeous architecture await, so pack a camera, but try to avoid high-temperature days, as the ground can be too hot for your pupper’s paws.

Address: 211 Comal Street, Austin, TX 78702

Phone Number: N/A

Website: https://www.austintexas.org/listings/tejano-walking-trail/10104/ 

Special Notes:

  • Open daily from dawn to dusk
  • Due to the trail’s length, we only recommend this route for active pet parents and pooches (Not ideal for senior sniffers or brachycephalic dog breeds!)

Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk

About: Visit this lakeside path with your pup for photo-worthy views as you stroll – plus plenty of moments perfect for honing your dog photography skills, too! While you might catch a breeze off the water, we’d skip midday walks, as there isn’t much shade in certain spans, leaving you and your mutt at the mercy of the sun.

Address: 1800 S Lakeshore Boulevard, Austin, TX 78741

Phone Number: (512) 495-9163

Website: https://www.austintexas.gov/department/ann-and-roy-butler-hike-and-bike-trail-and-boardwalk-lady-bird-lake 

Special Notes:

  • Open 5:00 AM to 12:00 AM daily
  • This is among the most popular places in the city, so try to avoid peak hours if you want to miss the crowds

South Congress Avenue

About: Affectionately known as SoCo to locals, this colorful stretch of road embodies Austin’s past and present with historical sites and modern architecture to observe with your pup. City skyline views offer sniffer selfie opportunities, while several sidewalk dining areas are doggo-friendly for eating.

Address: South Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704

Phone Number: N/A

Website: https://www.austintexas.org/listings/south-congress-avenue-(soco)/4359/ 

Special Notes:

  • Always check that a business is dog-friendly before entering
  • Heavy traffic in the area can be too loud for some doggos

Dog-Friendly Activity Etiquette

dog etiquette in public

Behaving in public is critical when enjoying dog-friendly activities in Austin, as nothing makes the fun dry up faster than a misbehaving mutt or pet parent. One bad incident is all it takes sometimes for barker-friendly events or businesses to end.

Keep your four-footed outing fun and safe by following these basic rules:

  • Ensure an establishment is dog-friendly before coming inside. Not every establishment welcomes dogs with open arms, and as much as we, as pet parents, may not like it, it’s their right. Call in advance before entering a business with your barker.
  • Never bring a sick dog in public. Your dog should rest at home rather than venture out when ill. Not only does he need to recover, but it isn’t fair to spread potential germs to other doggos.
  • Treat your pooch for pests. Don’t be a flea bag – literally. Ensure your dog is pest-free with a quality flea treatment to avoid spreading these biting bugs to other pups. This can also protect your floof from hairy hitchhikers while out and about.
  • Check your dog’s vaccination status. Per Austin law, your dog’s rabies vaccine must be current, but shots like distemper and parvo also prevent him from catching other communicable canine diseases. Ask your vet if you’re unsure which vaccines your dog should have.
  • Leash your pup. Austin has a leash ordinance requiring dogs to be leashed in public spaces unless within a designated off-leash area. Keep your canine close (and safe) by leashing him with a quality lead!
  • Respect public property. Don’t let your dog dig, chew, or damage public areas. This includes not allowing your pup to lift his leg on monuments, memorials, or plaques.
  • Give other people space. Don’t allow your pup to jump on others or invade their tables in restaurants and public venues. Everyone is entitled to have the day of their choosing – with or without a canine companion. 
  • Clean up after your canine. Simply put: You need to scoop your dog’s poop. No one wants to step in doggy diamonds on the trail or at the farmer’s market. Dispose of your dog poop bags properly, too. 
  • Skip cemeteries with dogs. Graveyards are a place of remembrance and memorials – not dog walking. Please keep your canine away from these places while enjoying Austin and other cities.
  • Only visit public spaces with a friendly woof. Dogs who display aggressive behavior shouldn’t be in areas frequented by people and other pets, as it isn’t worth the risk to others or your dog. It’s also not worth stressing your dog out. Stick to solo activities in more remote settings with proper precautions in place.

With a few adjustments in your plans and possibly a bit of training at home, you’re bound to have a memorable time enjoying dog-friendly activities in Austin with your pup.


Have you participated in any of the best dog-friendly activities in Austin we picked? Is there another fur-friendly find in the area that we missed? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about your four-footed Austin adventures.

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Written by

Kelsey Leicht

Kelsey is a lover of words and woofs. She worked hands-on with dogs for several years at a boarding kennel as a shift runner and office manager before venturing into the world of writing. She lives in New Jersey with her crew of crazy canines.


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