Austin is regularly rated one of the top dog-friendly places in the nation, which is clearly evidenced by the number of canine companions found walking their owners throughout the city. Here are some ideal locations to take your pup on a stroll, whether you are heading out on a walk from your Austin vacation rental or live in the area.
1. Emma Long Metropolitan Park
Emma Long Metropolitan Park is the largest park owned by the city of Austin and Turkey Creek flows through it. Dog pick-up bags are provided in the off-leash section, spanning from City Park Drive to the bluff, and also between Turkey Creek and the west park boundary fence.
2. Cedar Bark Park
This park is designed specifically for dogs, with two separate divisions for large and small ones and enough tennis balls to fill a court at Wimbledon. It also hosts and swimming hole and dock with accompanying showers for your pooch after they’re done dog paddling. While not technically in Austin, they are located in Cedar Park, which is just outside of Round Rock in Travis County. Limit two dogs per visitor, and no food allowed.
3. Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail
Lady Bird Lake is excellent not just for leisurely trail strolls, but also for off-trail adventures for your pup! It passes by the Texas Rowing Center, which provides lifejackets for humans and dogs alike to go kayaking in the great outdoors.
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4. Zilker Dog Park
Zilker Dog Park is one of the most popular pooch parks in Austin, located inside of Zilker Metropolitan Park along Lady Bird Lake and overlooking downtown Austin. It is also an enjoyable walk to the Texas Rowing Center, and if you’re lucky you can peep at other kayakers bringing their dogs out to enjoy water sports. The park is not fenced and off-leash is allowed for well-behaved canines.
5. Barton Creek Greenbelt Preserve
Leashed dogs are allowed to accompany their owners of the extensive trails that span throughout this preserve, covering more than 7 miles in total. Swimming holes for pups and people are accessible from the trails, and worth the dip in the summer heat.
6. Town Lake
Hosting prime viewing to watch bats fly out from under Congress Bridge at dusk, Town Lake is an excellent treat between March and November, when the flights take place every night at dusk. It is also adjacent to Zilker Metropolitan Park and can be entered through there as well. Austinites can be found walking and bicycling there year-round, or relaxing at one of the many beaches.
7. Auditorium Shores
Music buffs sing praises of Auditorium Shores, a concert venue located outdoors and very canine-friendly. Located in a prime spot on Town Lake, and close to First Street Bridge, Auditorium Shores has a strategically brilliant position to view fireworks and music performances in the summer. If your pup isn’t sensitive to loud noises, this is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy. Dogs can roam sans leash between Bouldin Avenue and South First Street.
8. Northeast District Park
Northeast District Park is ideal for active dogs and their owners. While you’re playing a pick-up game of basketball, testing your volleyball serving skills, or grilling your perfect burger on one of the four available barbecues, Fido can run wild in the leash-free areas. The limits span between Decker Lake Road, Crystal Brook Drive, and the railroad right of way sign.
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