15 Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in Texas

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dog is having fun in a dog friendly vacation in Texas

Texas is the second largest state in the US, with 268,596 square miles, 30 million residents, and an estimated five million fur babies. It is bordered by New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mexico, and the Gulf of Mexico. The most popular city for pup parents and their pets is Houston, although the capital is Austin. 

It is known as The Lone Star State because it used to be an independent republic after fighting and gaining its independence from Mexico in 1836. The flag has a single star to symbolize this accomplishment. Being in the southern part of the country, most Texas states enjoy a warm climate all year long, with 90s in the summer and 60s in the winter. This means you are going to find some great outdoor activities in Texas!

When planning a trip to Texas, you will find over 15,000 pet-friendly rental properties, almost 300 dog parks, and 15 dog beaches, as well as more than 5,000 dog-friendly restaurants, bars, and pubs. But some places are more pup-friendly than others. We prepared a list of our top 15 dog-friendly vacation destinations in Texas to help you out.


Situated in southeastern Texas, Houston is a city where dogs are a beloved part of the community. With a population of 2.3 million people and more than 383,000 dogs, Houston boasts the highest dog-to-human ratio, indicating a plethora of dog-friendly amenities. The city offers over 700 dog-friendly rentals, with Magnolia Hotel Houston being a top choice among pet parents. This hotel features a pool, gym, restaurant, bar, and room service catering to both human and canine needs.

For those on a weekend getaway with their furry friends, Houston is a treasure trove of activities. The Houston Arboretum, spanning 155 acres, welcomes leashed dogs to explore its diverse array of flowers, forests, and endangered plants. For a fun and interactive experience, try The Houston Hustle Scavenger Hunt, a two-hour tour that’s both entertaining and informative.

In addition to these attractions, Houston is home to numerous dog-friendly parks, providing ample space for dogs to play and socialize. One notable spot is the Danny Jackson Family Bark Park, which spans nearly three acres and features separate areas for large and small dogs, each with its own dog pond. These parks are perfect for letting your dog run free and enjoy some off-leash time in a safe and welcoming environmentץ


Taking your best friend to the beach is something fun you can both enjoy, especially in Galveston, which is surrounded by water. With West Bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, there is a lot of waterfront space to choose from. East Beach is located on the eastern tip of the island and has lots of golden sand. It also has a boardwalk, concessions, and playgrounds. If you get bored here, you are doing it wrong. 

Want to get out on the water? Take your fur puppy to see the dolphins on Baywatch Dolphin Tours, where leashed dogs are welcome. You are almost certain to see some dolphins on this trip. Or at least something swimming in the water.

How about something a little different? Al’s Paranormal History Excursion is a 90-minute tour given by Al, who will tell you all about the scary and strange Galveston history. Be sure to bring doggie bags, though.  


As the capital city of Texas, Austin is packed with people and pups. It has an estimated 975,000 people and about 160,000 pups, so you will most likely see one or two (or more) around the town. You may not find any sandy beaches in Austin, but you will find some fun! Actually, there are beaches in Austin. They just do not have any sand. The Colorado River and Lady Bird Lake cut right through the middle of town, so there is always a spot where you can let Fido splash around in. 

Austin has something unique for you and Fido to enjoy. It is called Cosmic, and it is a gathering of locals and visitors enjoying music, art, crafts, and food. Just keep your cuddly buddy leashed and pick up after him, and he is welcome to join you as you peruse the wares and even sit with you in the beer garden while you have a brew or two.

Then, let your fur baby get rid of those zoomies by chasing around other fur babies off the leash at Round Rock Dog Depot Dog Park. It has some fantastic agility items like A-frames, ramps, tunnels, and tire jumps. 


Another large city with a lot of people and plenty of pups, Dallas is one of the most well-known cities in the state. Located in northeast Texas, it is famous because of the Dallas Cowboys football team, as well as real cowboys and girls. Don’t be surprised to see that about 70% of the residents wear cowboy boots, hats, or both. 

Since it is warm here all year, outdoor play is popular, so you will find a lot of parks, lakes, and other recreational spots, including 10 dog-friendly parks. The most unique is Bacon’s Dog Park. Sure, it has a fence and a separate little dog area. But it also has The Shacks. The Shacks is a collection of six restaurants with an open-air patio for everyone to eat, drink, and be merry. Be sure to pack extra doggie bags.

Don’t miss the pet-friendly Fabrication Yard. This park is nothing but stunning street art and cool people who hang out there. 


You will find Amarillo in northern Texas, where you will also find the second largest canyon in the US, after the Grand Canyon. But that is not the only exciting thing about Amarillo. The Wonderland Amusement Park is loaded with fun and excitement for the whole family. You will have to leave Fido at Central Bark or Le Chateau Pet Resort while you and the kids ride some rides, play games, and scarf down some yummy carnival food. 

Of course, there are plenty of places to take your pooch to run around, too, since there are more than 30,000 dogs living in Amarillo, with 200,000 residents. The John Stiff Memorial Dog Park has 2.3 acres with lights, so you can play after dark. And Thompson Park Dog Park has a separate area for small and shy dogs as well as a pond for pups to swim in. 

Then, take everyone to the Golden Light Cantina, where there is a huge patio for dog families to eat. They have an amazing donut bacon cheeseburger!

Davy Crockett National Forest

This summer, take your cuddly canine companion to the Davy Crockett National Forest for a swimming, boating, hiking, and camping vacation. Located in southeastern Texas in Kennard, the 160,000-acre forest is home to one of the most popular lakes in the area, Ratcliff Lake. It has swimming, camping, picnicking, and boating, as well as trails to explore. Be sure to bring a fishing license and gear so you can catch some dinner. 

You can also spend some time with Fido floating or kayaking on the Neches River or take a hike along the 20-mile Four C National Recreation Trail. The trek goes through boggy sloughs, towering pine trees, and a variety of campsites from rustic to basic. The area has a variety of flora and fauna, with critters like bears, coyotes, and raccoons. 

If you plan to stay overnight at any of the campsites, reserving a spot is recommended. Although there are many places you can pitch a tent along the trails, be sure to pitch your place at least 100 feet from the trails and bring baggies to pick up after your pup.

South Padre Island

Pack up the kids, the dog, and the honey, and head to South Padre Island for a vacation you will never forget. First, forget the hotel and pitch a tent instead. The KOA Campground is more like a resort with 188 campsites for RVs or tents, a boat launch, a playground, a pool, a spa, fishing, and an off-leash dog park. You can also camp at Andy Bowie County Park, which has RV sites, concessions, a beach, and more.

Then, take everyone to Sea Turtle, Inc., where your leashed pooch can tag along to see all the awesome giant turtles. If you want to take the family out on a boat, Captain Murphy’s Isla Tours loves dogs. You can choose from a fishing trip or a boat tour. 

After you work up an appetite, take the family and the dog to BurgerFi to see why this place is so famous. They have eight different kinds of burgers (including a vegan burger), hot dogs, chicken, fries, onion rings, and shakes. They also have kids’ meals.

San Antonio

In southern Texas, about an hour from Austin, San Antonio is a large city with a population of 1.4 million and 233,000 pooches. If you enjoy hiking or just walking in the park, this city has a myriad of possibilities for you and Fido. The most well-known is the San Antonio River Walk Mission Reach Trail, which is a 10-mile loop trail that takes about three hours. It is lined with parks, shops, and eateries that welcome dogs on their patios.

If you want something shorter, try the Woodlawn Lake Loop at Woodlawn Park. It takes you around the perimeter of the lake, so you get to see it all. Be sure to keep your pup on a leash. For something in between, the Missions San Juan River Walk is 3.6 miles and takes you to several of the local missions. 

For something guided and spooky, take your pooch on a ghost tour with Bad Wolf or Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours. Both are 90 minutes, and they are both really exciting.

Fort Worth

Known for its Texas Longhorn cattle stockyards, the Fort Worth Zoo, and the Texas Motor Speedway, you get a little bit of everything in this northeastern Texas city. An estimated 156,000 dogs are living with their pet parents in Fort Worth, and there is a total of 960,000 humans. Why not take your sweetheart to the Rosen House Inn, a bed and breakfast that allows dogs for $10 per stay? The romantic Magnolia Room would be perfect, but any room here is special. 

For a real couples’ dinner, drop off Fido at the House of Wag doggie daycare and take your honey to Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine. They serve pork porterhouse steaks, buffalo tenderloin, and roasted game hen for a stunning and unique meal. For dessert, try the chocolate amaretto cake.

If you want to bring your pooch with you, Mutts Canine Cantina is a different kind of restaurant. Your pooch can play off the leash at the dog park while you enjoy some delicious food and great drinks with other pup parents. 

El Paso

El Paso is famous for its Spanish Missions that are hundreds of years old, as well as its rodeos, Mexican cuisine, and country western music. If you could count all the people in El Paso, you would come up with around 678,000 and then count their pets, which should be about 113,000. If you are on a tight budget, this is a good place to visit because you can get a room for about $75 at Motel 6, and they do not even charge a pet fee. 

Your fur baby is going to love this city with all its off-leash dog parks. There are six, and they are all free of charge, so you will not have to spend a penny to watch your best furry friend have a blast. One of them, Tierra Buena Dog Park, has a bunch of agility stations to enjoy.  

Don’t miss the K9 Bulder Memorial Splash Park. It has a spraying fire hydrant to cool off the pups as they play.

Big Bend National Park

In southwestern Texas, just a few miles from the Mexican border, you can find the dog-friendly Big Bend National Park. With over 800,000 acres of mountains, valleys, canyons, and desert areas, there is a little bit of everything here. From float trips on the Big Bend River to stargazing at night in the desert, you and your pooch can plan to do a bunch of things when you visit the park. 

First things first, set up camp at one of the four campgrounds before you head out to play. Then, pack some snacks, lots of water, and doggie bags and head out for a hike. There are more than 150 miles of trails to explore. Keep in mind it gets hot here, so bring several bottles of water for you and your dog. And always be sure to pick up anything he drops. 

If you get hungry, there are quite a few food trucks that hang out in the most popular spots so you can grab a bite with your cuddle buddy. 


Arlington has 400,000 residents, 65,000 dogs, and… Six Flags Over Texas! Time to take the kids to Six Flags! You can get a hotel close by that allows pets for next to nothing. The Days Inn is just one mile down the road, so you can walk there in less than 30 minutes. Everyone has heard of Six Flags, so you know what to expect. Lots of rides, roller coasters, games, and carnival food!

If you have smaller kids who cannot ride all the big rides or you just do not like such a big place, take the kids to Bolder Adventure Park and Epic Central. But it is not small either! It has 66,000 square feet of climbing, sliding, jumping, gaming, and playing for all ages. 

Don’t forget about your fur baby! Take him to Tails N’ Trails Dog Park, where they have almost six acres of fenced-in fun. No leashes are needed! Perfect for running, playing fetch, or tossing around the frisbee.

Corpus Christi

If you live in one of the temperate states where the temperatures drop to freezing in the winter, maybe you need to plan a trip to Corpus Christi next winter. Even in January, the average high temperature is 70 degrees F. It is not a small town by any means, with approximately 317,000 people and about 52,000 pooches. And since it is right on Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, you can even go swimming in January!  

In fact, there are four dog-friendly beaches in the city. McGee Beach is one that is pretty popular because it is close to shops and restaurants. But Mustang Island State Park is out on the island with the bay on one side and the Gulf on the other. There are five miles of dog-friendly beach and a campground with 48 sites. 

Don’t miss the Dolphin Connection tour. Dogs are welcome on the boat tour, where you will get up close and personal with dolphins. 


In northwestern Texas, Lubbock is one of the most friendly cities in Texas, according to Travel Magazine. The city has an estimated 328,000 residents who have about 55,000 dogs. The city boasts a big music district with Buddy Holly Plaza. The legend of rock and roll was born in Lubbock, and there are many different places to learn more about him, including a museum and the Buddy Holly Center. However, Fido will have to stay at the hotel if you go to them. 

There is a museum where your fur baby is welcome, though. The American Windmill Museum has the largest collection of windmills in the world. Or you can take your pupster to The Range, a dog-friendly golf driving range. There are not many places where you can hit a bucket of balls, drink a cold beer, and have your canine companion right next to you. 

Then, head to Cook’s Garage for some delicious music and live music. Leashed dogs are welcome on the patio. 

San Angelo State Park

San Angelo State Park is right in the middle of Texas and has almost 7,700 acres to explore and enjoy with your puppy pal. One of the most unique things about this park is the bison. You will have the chance to see the herd in the park. However, do not get close to these majestic animals because they are not as friendly as they look. 

The park also has over 100 campsites. Some have electricity, water, and other hookups, while others have tent pads, picnic tables, and fire rings. If you like to fish, bring your gear and a Texas fishing license. The 5,440-acre OC Fisher Lake has bass, catfish, and crappie that reach record sizes. You can also take a hike. There are 50 miles of trails to enjoy, but bring lots of doggie bags and water. 

When your dog is ready to run off that excess energy, you can find the San Angelo Dog Park right outside the park. It is fully fenced and has water, waste stations, and benches.

The Final Woof

Texas has so many dog-friendly parks, beaches, and other dog-friendly attractions that it may be hard to decide where to go on your vacation. If you have to pick only one, we can help you out with this list that is separated by activities. For a family vacation, Amarillo, South Padre Island, and Arlington are great places to visit. A romantic trip can be easily spent in Fort Worth, where they have a sweet little bed and breakfast. For the best camping, check out Davy Crockett National Forest, South Padre Island, Big Bend National Park, or San Angelo State Park. And hikers will love San Antonio, Davy Crocket National Forest, or Big Bend National Park.  

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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