Austin, Texas is known for its rich culture and urban atmosphere, complete with a busy city center and raging music scene.
As an additional perk, the city is also known for being almost ridiculously dog-friendly, with a wide range of pooch-approved restaurants, breweries, and events.
And as you may expect of such a four-footer-friendly town, Austin also boasts plenty of awesome dog parks!
Below, we’ll share some of the best dog parks Austin has to offer. We’ll also explain a couple key considerations to keep in mind when selecting the perfect park for your pooch.
The Best Dog Parks In Austin
Without further ado, here are some of the best dog parks you’ll find in Austin. Have fun exploring these dog-friendly destinations with your floof!
1. Red Bud Isle
Red Bud Isle is a huge island dedicated to dogs!
This off-leash park is pooch paradise, featuring natural lakes and rivers, walking trails, and a tree-lined shore. Your dog will love taking a dip here and socializing with other furry friends.
Since it’s an island, you’ll want to make sure you have all of Fido’s essentials with you. Pack plenty of poop bags, water, toys, and treats for your pooch before heading out to this hound haven.
- Area/Burrow: Red Bud Isle is situated between Ridgewood Village and Westfield.
- Link to Site: https://austinparks.org/red-bud-isle/
- Phone Number: 512-477-1566
- Open Hours: 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM
- Size: This massive dog park encompasses 13 acres.
- There are currents in the water, so you’ll need to keep a keen eye on your pooch.
- Make sure your pooch has a reliable recall command before heading to this massive off-leash oasis for dogs.
2. Harris Ridge Dog Park
If Spot isn’t much of a swimmer, Harris Ridge Dog Park is a great place for your pooch to play with other pups.
This fully fenced dog park has an array of agility equipment so that your furry friend can show off his skills. There’s also separate big and little dog areas, making it an excellent choice for pint-sized pooches.
Harris Ridge Dog Park also has plenty of trees so that your sweetheart can sprawl in the shade.
- Area/Burrow: Harris Ridge Dog Park is located in Sebastian Bend of Pflugerville, TX.
- Link to Site: https://northtownmud.org/parks.html
- Phone Number: (512) 246-1400
- Open Hours: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- Size: This dog park is about 1.5 acres and is situated within Stoney Creek Park, which is approximately 50 acres.
- This dog park has plenty of doggie water fountains and doggie waste stations.
- You and your pooch can also enjoy some of Stoney Creek Park’s trails, though your dog will need to be on leash when outside the fenced areas.
3. Onion Creek District Park
Onion Creek is a massive park that allows for complete off-leash fun everywhere except the kids’ playgrounds.
In addition to running around with other floofs, your pooch will enjoy shaded hiking trails and wading in Onion Creek. This is the perfect place to adventure with your four-footer, with 179 acres to explore. There’s also plenty of pooch waste stations for easy cleanup.
- Area/Burrow: Onion Creek in Southeast Austin
- Link to Site: https://austinparks.org/onion-creek-district-park/
- Phone Number: (512) 974-6700
- Open Hours: This park is open 24 hours a day.
- Size: Onion Creek park spans 179 acres.
- Note that this park has a creek, but not a raging river, making it perfect for hounds that are just learning to swim or those who’re a bit nervous about the water.
4. Emma Long Metropolitan Park
If you’re seeking an on-leash park for your furry friend, Emma Long Metropolitan Park is the place to be! (Though obviously, as you can see in the photo above, not everyone adheres to the leash rules).
Your pooch will enjoy exploring the hiking trails, gentle river crossings, and lush, shady areas. This park also has picnic tables available for reservation, so be sure to pack a lunch for you and your furry friend.
- Area/Burrow: Austin Lake Hills
- Link to Site: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/emma-long-metropolitan-park
- Phone Number: (512) 974-6700
- Open Hours: 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM
- Size: The park spans 1,142 acres (no off-leash area available).
- Dogs must be kept out of the swimming areas.
- This park charges fees to enter, but the price of entry varies by day from $5 to $10 per vehicle.
- Online registration may be required — check the website for details.
5. Zilker Metropolitan Park
Zilker Metropolitan Park is well-loved by Austinites and has plenty to offer to pooch parents too!
Your dog will love frolicking through the “Great Lawn”– a large, open, off-leash area featuring views of the Austin skyline. There’s also trails surrounding the park where you and your four-footer can get in a good workout so long as your dog is properly leashed.
- Area/Burrow: Shadow Lawn Historic District
- Link to Site: https://austintexas.gov/department/zilker-metropolitan-park
- Phone Number: (512) 974-6700
- Open Hours: 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM
- Size: The full park spans 351 acres, with 45.65 acres of off-leash open space.
- There aren’t many public restrooms near the “Great Lawn”, so you’ll want to make sure you’re taken care of before heading out with your furry friend.
6. Cedar Bark Park
Cedar Bark Park is a great doggo destination in the Cross Creek area (and we think it’s name is pretty cute too).
This secure dog park is fenced-in and features separate areas for small and large dogs. Pups have access to the dog pond, showers, and plenty of open ground to explore. There’s also shaded awnings for you or your pooch to cool off under.
And your furry pal will love the onsite doggie water fountains, which will allow him to cool down between zoomies.
- Area/Burrow: Cross Creek
- Link to Site: https://www.cedarparktexas.gov/departments/parks-recreation/park-amenities-services-facilities/cedar-bark-park
- Phone Number: (512) 401-5500
- Open Hours: The park is open Wednesday through Monday 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM. The park has limited hours on Tuesday from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM to allow for maintenance.
- Size: This dog park spans 5 acres.
- Due to maintenance, you can only bring 2 dogs per trip to the park.
- Be sure to bring plenty of waste bags (they aren’t provided)!
7. West Austin Dog Park
This secured fenced-in park is right next to downtown Austin, making it a great urban escape for your city pup.
This park features a great off-leash area, complete with trees, picnic tables, and plenty of sitting areas for humans. The ground is primarily dirt, and there aren’t any swimming holes, so your pup may need a bath after visiting. But that’s just part of the fun!
Dogs of all sizes are welcome at this popular 3-acre city park.
- Area/Burrow: West End
- Link to Site: https://www.westaustinpark.org
- Phone Number: (512) 974-6700
- Open Hours: The park is open 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
- Size: The full park spans about 3 acres.
- This park doesn’t have any swimming holes for dogs.
- Don’t forget to pack plenty of water to keep your hound hydrated.
8. Bee Cave Dog Park
Bee Cave Dog Park is fenced and full of fun areas for Fidio to explore. The off-leash park features a pond, trees for shade, and doggie waste stations. There’s also separate areas for small and large pups so it’s a great pick for owners with compact canines or gargantuan goofballs alike.
Don’t forget to bring you leash, as there are plenty of other neat areas to explore around the park.
- Area/Burrow: Bee Cave
- Link to Site: https://www.beecavetexas.gov/city-government/departments/parks-477
- Phone Number: (512) 767-6600
- Open Hours: The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
- Size: The full park spans 50 acres.
- Dogs can also enjoy the surrounding trails so long as they are on-leash.
- There’s access to restrooms on-site for humans.
9. Yard Bar
Looking for a cool spot to hang out with your hound? Need a refreshing beverage after a long day? The Yard Bar is just what the doctor ordered!
A cross between a dog bark and bar, Yard Bar features a secured, fenced-in area that has a small pool for the pups and plenty of room for your pooch to explore. There’s also “Bark Rangers” on staff to ensure that your furry friend is having a positive playtime experience.
Think that this sounds like an ideal dog park for you? Consider purchasing passes to frequent this canine clubhouse on a more regular basis.
- Area/Burrow: Between Allandale and Crestview
- Link to Site: https://www.yardbar.com
- Phone Number: (512)-900-3773
- Open Hours: Yard Bar is open from 12:00 PM to 10:00PM.
- Size: Yard Bar has 30,000 square feet of outdoor space.
- This is a popular dog-enthusiast hangout, so it’s wise to make reservations ahead of time.
- Sorry kiddos, but Yard Bar only allows patrons over the age of 21 in all areas.
10. Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park
This fenced-in park offers separate areas for large and small dogs. Your dog will love exploring the shaded trails off-leash and wading through the creek. This pooch paradise has plenty to keep your dog entertained, with plenty of frequent furry visitors.
Keep in mind that this park is known for having lots of cyclists, so it may not be the best pick if your dog is triggered by bikes.
- Area/Burrow: Park Central
- Link to Site: https://austinparks.org/walnut-creek-metro-park/
- Phone Number: (512) 974-6797
- Open Hours: The park is open 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
- Size: The dog park spans 1 acre.
- There are no bathroom facilities at this park, so make sure to go before you go!
11. Shoal Creek Greenbelt
If you’re lucky enough to have a furry friend that loves to run, Shoal Creek Greenbelt park is the perfect place for you and your pooch to enjoy. This park notably offers a 1-mile off-leash trail for you and your best buddy to sweat it out.
Thankfully, this park has plenty of trees to keep you cool and comfy throughout the summer.
- Area/Burrow: Old West Austin
- Link to Site: https://austinparks.org/shoal-creek-greenbelt/
- Phone Number: (512) 974-6700
- Open Hours: The park is open 24 hours a day.
- Size: The off-leash area spans 30 acres.
- Many cyclists frequent this park so keep an eye out for passing peddlers!
What Should You Look for in a Dog Park?
Dog parks should each be evaluated on an individual basis to find a good fit for your furry friend. Here are a couple of factors that make a dog park worthy of consideration for your canine companion:
- Room to roam: One of the trickiest parts about living in a city is the lack of space. An ideal dog park should give your dog plenty of space to stretch his legs and let out some energy — especially if your pooch is big or likes to run.
- Secure fencing: Secure, dog-proof outdoor fencing is a must, especially if your four-footer hasn’t built up a reliable recall. You’ll also want to look for parks that have double gates for entry and exit since these can help prevent escapes.
- Comfy substrate: Especially in a hot city like Austin, it’s important that your pooch has a comfortable substrate to play on like grass or mulch. Avoid concrete and cement at all costs, especially during the summer. You’ll also want to opt for dog parks with real grass over artificial turf, as the fake stuff isn’t nearly as engaging for your dog, with not nearly enough to sniff.
- Hydration for your hound: Dogs need plenty of water when playing, so try to select a park with plenty of doggie fountains (but always bring water with you anyway, just in case it’s temporarily unavailable for some reason). If your dog likes to swim, selecting a park with a swimming hole is a great idea. While access to water is important for all dog parks, it’s especially important in a high-heat city like Austin, Texas.
- Separate sections: Having separated areas for large and small dogs can help prevent injuries and keep everyone’s tails wagging. This makes it easy for your dog to play without excess limitations.
- Garbage cans and waste stations: Whenever you’re out with your furry friend, you should have plenty of dog poop waste bags to clean up after your canine. It’s an added bonus when your dog park of choice has waste stations of its own. Also, look for a park that has plenty of places to dispose of your dog’s deposits.
- Convenient hours: Some dog parks close early, so you’ll want to know your park’s hours before heading out with your furry friend.
- Good lighting: For parks open in the evening hours, you’ll want to make sure that the location is well-lit for both you and your dog. For that matter, it’s never a bad idea to bring a flashlight to help navigate any poorly lit sections (such as the route between the parking lot and the park).
- People-friendly amenities: Having access to shade, benches, and restrooms certainly makes any trip to the dog park more comfortable for you and the other two-footers.
- Posted and enforced rules: Posted and enforced rules keep everyone safe during pooch playtime. And make sure you read up on your park’s rules before letting Buddy have at it — it’s important to do your part too!
- Consider other social factors: It’s also worth considering other social factors including how responsible other dog owners are, the noise level of the park, and similar issues before zeroing in on a park. Also, scope out the park’s atmosphere before letting your pooch enjoy the space. There’s nothing wrong with leaving if you feel like something might be off.
A Reminder About Dog Park Manners
While you’re out adventuring with your furry friend, don’t forget the importance of proper dog park etiquette and manners. We’ll share some of the key points below.
- Keep an eye on your dog. Maintaining a watchful eye on your pooch is in everyone’s best interest and helps keep your hound as safe as possible. Monitor your dog to check in on his playing, energy levels, and bathroom habits.
- Make sure your pooch is having a pawsitive experience. You’ll need to make sure your dog is playing fairly with other dogs, and isn’t bullying or being bullied. Also, make sure your furry friend actually likes the dog park. Not all pups enjoy the dog park — and that’s okay! You could try out a couple of these dog park alternatives instead to engage your furry friend.
- Be courteous. Picking up your dog’s waste isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s the law. Clean up after your canine so that everyone can have a great time at the park.
- Make sure your mutt has mastered his manners. You’ll want to make sure your dog knows basic commands like “Come,” “Sit,” “Stay,” and “Drop it” before coming to the park. You’ll also want to make sure he has a good recall considering that many of Austin’s parks are off-leash.
- Respect park rules. Following park rules keeps you and your dog safe, and makes a better overall experience for everyone. You can usually find rules near an entrance or online.
- Leave the treats and toys at home. Having out treats or toys can distract other dogs and cause some pups to become fixated on your goods. At the very least, if you are working on recall and need treats closeby, make sure they are in an appropriate air-tight treat pouch so that they don’t smell too much!
Thankfully, Austin has plenty to offer in terms of dog-friendly activities, and vast dog parks are no exception to the rule! Enjoy exploring these pooch-approved parks with your furry family member.
On a cross-country road trip? Make sure to check out our articles on the best dog parks in Boston as well as the best dog parks in New York City as part of our assessment of the best dog parks in various US cities!
Has your dog visited any of these parks? Which ones are his favorite? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!