Located in south-central Texas, Austin is the capital of the state and one of the most populated cities in the United States. It is known as the live music capital of the world, leading other cities with its many concerts and music festivals. The city is one of the oldest in the world, having evidence of humans living there since 9200 BC. It also gets over 20,000,000 visitors per year, passing up London, Hawaii, and Rome!
Because the city is located in the southern US, the temperatures never really get too cold so outdoor activities are really popular. And if you are looking for a park to enjoy in Austin, you have come to the right place because they have almost 500 of them! But if you are a pup parent and are looking for a good dog park in Austin, we have 15 of our favorites to share with you.
Is it a dog park, bar, or restaurant? You can decide for yourself at Yard Bar in northern Austin. As long as you are 21 or over and your pup is spayed or neutered, as well as up-to-date on shots, you and your fur buddy are welcome. According to the locals, it is better than having a dog park in your backyard because you can get all sorts of adult (or non-alcoholic) beverages as well as the food here. They even serve special foods for dogs, like peanut butter and yogurt, ice cream, and chicken meatballs.
The off-leash area is fenced, and there is tons of seating, including picnic tables, benches, and lawn chairs. They have a nice selection of beers, mixed drinks, and wine, as well as juices, soft drinks, and coffee. Everyone is really friendly, and the dogs love all the attention they get. The park has Bark Rangers, so you can relax and have fun too.
The Watering Bowl
In southern Austin, there is another cool dog park and bar where pup parents can enjoy a brew while their pups play. The Watering Bowl only serves local craft beers, which is great because it allows you to help small business owners in the area. They also have wine, cider, and non-alcoholic beverages as well. Because it is a bar, only those over 21 years of age are allowed, and your canine companion must be spayed or neutered.
The place is on the small side, but it is so much fun. The owner is a female pup parent who also loves craft beer, so she wanted to share what she has with other pup parents. The park is fenced and has a splash pad, a tire toy, and even a pirate ship to play on. They even have “rufferees” to help keep the peace. The small fee you pay is worth every penny for enjoying a brew or two while letting your dog have a blast.
Dog House Drinkery & Dog Park
One more dog park bar, Dog House Drinkery, is about 20 minutes from downtown Austin in Leander. It is located right across from Southwest Williamson County Regional Park, which is also dog-friendly, the Dog House Drinkery & Dog Park is a special bar/dog park where dog lovers can hang out with other pup parents and have a drink while letting Fido play with other pups. They serve a variety of craft beers, such as Blood and Honey, Firemans 4, and Thirsty Goat.
They also offer wines, soda, and water, as well as darts, disc golf, board games, corn hole, and pool. The fenced yard keeps your canine companion safe, and they have helpers who help you keep an eye on your fur puppy while you relax. They have live music on the weekends so if your dog does not like loud music, come on a weeknight. Also, you need to have a copy of your dog’s vaccination records either on your phone or on paper.
Round Rock Dog Depot Dog Park
The Round Rock Dog Depot may not serve beer and wine, but it sure has a lot of fun activities for your cuddly canine. You can find it in Round Rock, about a half hour from Austin, by Lake Creek Park (another dog-friendly park). The fully fenced yard has almost two acres split between three sections. One is for small dogs under 40 pounds, one for large dogs, and another that they rotate to keep the grass growing nicely.
The best thing about this spacious place is the agility equipment. Watching your pooch run up and down ramps, jumping through tires, and running through tunnels is so much fun. Your pup gets plenty of exercise, learns to socialize, and gets rid of the zoomies. And you can relax and meet new pup parents while he plays. There are restrooms at Lake Creek Park in case you have to go but bring your own doggie bags and water.
Emma Long Metro Park
Also known as City Park, Emma Long Metro Park was named to honor a true park lover and member of the city council who reactivated the defunct Parks Board. Emma Long was also the first woman who served as mayor in 1967. This huge park is located on the northern shores of Lake Austin and all along the eastern banks of the Colorado River. Although your pup cannot enter the designated swimming beach, he is allowed to play anywhere else he likes.
Your cuddly canine companion will need to stay leashed in much of the park, but there are areas for off-leash play as well. They are clearly marked with signs, or you can ask a park ranger if you need clarification. Or just look for the area where you see a lot of fur babies running around. There are several hiking trails, too, and 60 campsites if you want to stay for a while. Just make sure you reserve a space in advance.
Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park
Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park is situated in northern Austin in the village of Walnut Creek and features a dog park where your pup can play off his leash with the other fur babies. Although there are no fences within the 293 acres, everything north of the creek is an off-leash area. If your pooch does not have good recall, it is best to keep him on a leash because that is a lot of space to have to track him down if he runs off.
Everything south of the creek is dog-friendly for leashed pups, so keep that in mind as you meander along the water’s edge with your pup. There are 15 miles of trails that loop in and out of the woods, along the creek, and all over the park. If you have the little humans, take them to the playgrounds where they have a huge slide as well as a bunch of other fun items. The park also has picnic areas, ball fields, and basketball.
Davis White Northeast District Park
Another park that allows your fur puppy off the leash is Davis White Northeast District Park. There are certain parts of the 110 acres that are leashless, including the southeastern area of the park east of Crystalbrook north and of the basketball courts. He is also allowed anywhere in Walnut Creek and some areas around the retaining wall. Look for signs or just follow the sound of happy pups playing. It is a large area dedicated to free-range dogs and their pup parents, but make sure he is voice trained.
Located in northeast Austin, Davis White has a variety of fun activities to enjoy with your canine compadre, including picnic tables with grills for having a barbecue, playgrounds for the kids, and several nice trails. Some of these areas require leashes, so you will need to keep yours handy. And bring plenty of doggie bags to clean up after your pup.
Red Bud Isle Park
Situated on the Colorado River along Lady Bird Lake, Red Bud Isle is an off-leash haven for all four-footed fur babies. The island (which is more like a peninsula) is about 17 acres and has plenty of room to roam on and off the leash. There is a nature trail to explore, a whole lake to splash around in, and the Colorado River by Tom Miller Dam, where you can go kayaking, fish, or play in the shallows.
The half-mile trail is an easy loop that is very popular, so if you want more solitude, try early on a weekday morning. You are likely to run into native wildlife, such as raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and possums, during those peaceful times, so keep your pet close. Bring your own dog cleanup bags and extra water whether you are planning on hiking, swimming, boating, or just playing. If your pooch does not have good recall, there is a small fenced area to let your pup out to play.
WB MUD Dog Park
Despite the name, this dog park is only muddy after long rains and only in certain areas. But there is a pet refresh station at the gates where you can clean him up before leaving. Located in Willow Bend Park, there are three fenced sections. One section is always closed as it is on a rotating cleaning and regrowth pattern to keep the yard from getting too ruff. One section is for small and shy dogs, while the other is for large pups.
All sections of the dog park are loaded with fun things to do, from playing on the artificial turf areas to climbing and running around on play structures. They even have some natural stone tunnels for Fido to play in. Outside the fence on the eastern trail behind the office, there is a large detention pond where your fur baby can cool off in the water leash-free. However, there are no fences here. And pup parents are welcome to join their dogs in the water or just relax in the shade to watch him play.
West Austin Neighborhood Dog Park
Like the name says, the West Austin Neighborhood Dog Park is in the local community park just west of downtown Austin. Because it is small, the park is often overlooked for the larger parks nearby, like Ladybird Lake-Zilker Park, Lamar Beach, and Pease District Park. But this hidden gem is one that you and your fur baby should not miss! The off-leash dog area is huge and spacious, with tons of mature shade trees, chairs, and benches all over, and so many fun things to climb on.
The rest of the park is nothing to be scoffed at, either. Just hook his leash back on, and Fido can join you for a game of basketball, fetch, or frisbee. There are over two dozen picnic tables, and they have grills if you want to cook up some lunch. And if you have the two-legged kids with you, there is a huge playground for them too.
Lady Bird Lake-Zilker Park
The aforementioned Lady Bird Lake-Zilker Park is also a pup popular park with over 465 acres of recreational space, including the 400-acre lake that is part of the Colorado River. Named for Lady Bird Johnson, former first lady and wife of US President Lyndon Johnson, it is a major source of water fun for locals as well as tourists. In fact, the park boasts over 1.3 million visitors every year. And there are many areas in the park where your fur puppy is allowed to play off the leash.
There are miles of trails that lead you from one side of the river to the other from Zilker Park as well, so you can start on the western side of the river at Lamar Beach and end up at Butler Shores, where you will find Butler Park Auditorium Shores. In many sections of the recreational area, you will also find food trucks and outdoor eateries where you and your pup can grab a bite if you get hungry.
Auditorium Shores Off-Leash Park
Speaking of large parks, Auditorium Shores Off-Leash Park is located in the large Auditorium Shores at Town Lake Metro Park inside the even larger Butler Park. Just across the Colorado River by Lady Bird Lake, this pup park is not your average dog space. It is not fenced, and being right on Lady Bird Lake, your fur puppy is welcome to swim and play in the water. In fact, there is an area known by the locals as the Dog Launch at Vic Mathias Shores, where your pooch will have plenty of fur babies to play with.
One thing to note is that the off-leash area is limited to a certain part of the waterfront and the Auditorium Shores Town Lake area. The rest of Butler Park allows dogs, but he will need a leash. Besides that, you and your pupster are welcome to go boating, kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding if you have the means. Just remember the life jackets and doggie bags.
Norwood Estates Dog Park
Downstream from Zilker Park, Norwood Estates is a public yard for unleashed dogs to play along the Colorado River. It is just off the Austin Boardwalk on 1-35 Frontage Road. Your pooch will love this large shaded green space because it is almost always full of friendly fur babies and their pup parents. The place has a good reputation for responsible and nice pet parents who pick up after their canine companions and keep them in line.
You will also find lots of seating for the humans to enjoy while their dogs are frolicking with the other fur puppies as well as water fountains and Mutt Mitt dispensers. However, it is always a good idea to bring your own baggies and water, just in case. The locals claim that it is a very clean park in an awesome location, but there are no restrooms for the humans. You will have to go to a nearby business if you need to go.
Mary Moore Searight Metro Park
With more than 300 acres of space, your fur baby will find plenty to do to stay busy at Mary Moore Searight Metro Park. Although he will need to stay on his lead in a lot of the park, there is a leash-free section as well as a leash-free trail where you and your cuddly canine can explore. All throughout this special dog section, there are many places to let your pup cool off in the creek. You can even go fishing if you bring a pole.
Besides the off-leash areas, your leashed pooch can join you to play disc golf, hiking, biking, soccer, volleyball, and basketball. He is also allowed in the picnic areas where you can enjoy a meal with your best furry friend. There are playgrounds for the little humans, too so bring them along too if you have some. But do not forget to pack lots of poo-poo pickup baggies and extra water.
Onion Creek Greenbelt Dog Park
The Onion Creek Greenbelt has more than 550 acres that include a metropolitan park as well as an off-leash dog area for your pupster. You may hear it called by many other named like the Metro, District Park, or just the Onion Park, but whatever you call it, your dog will just call it fun! Although it is not completely fenced like some dog parks, it has Onion Creek on one side and the forest on the other. And get this; the off-leash area has over 100 acres!
There are lots of spots to sit and relax, too, including picnic areas, benches, and just random boulders in the middle of the woods. Your dog will love the freedom but make sure he is voice-trained, or he may get lost in all the space. On the other side of the creek, the park section is still pup popular, but your little buddy will need to be leashed.
The Final Woof
Need to do a little shopping? Go to The Domain so you can take your fur puppy along with you. You can find Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Macy’s, Dillards, and more. If you want to see more of Austin and learn about its history, take an Austin Guided Walking Tour. There are three dog-friendly tours to pick from. For those pup parents that are into games and comics, take your canine companion to Dragon’s Lair. But only if he likes cats because the store has two furry felines. You could also take your doggo on a boat ride in Zilker Park. They have kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards.