Paris Permenter, along with her husband, John Bigley, is the co-author of Texas with Dogs and the founder of PawZaar.com.
When you and your dog are ready to mosey across Texas, don’t think that you’ll need to limit your stops to dog parks and municipal greenbelts. Get ready for you and your four-legged travel partner to two-step across the Lone Star State and enjoy unique attractions. Our dogs Irie and Tiki accompanied us across their home state as we researched our Texas with Dogs guidebook, and gave it a big paws up when it comes to dog-friendly attractions like these:
1. River Walk, San Antonio
The Paseo del Rio, as it’s also called, is a European-style promenade that lies below street level and ranks as one of our favorite destinations in the state. If your dog is not afraid of crowds, you’ll find that the River Walk, with its many outdoor dining options, is incredibly dog-friendly.
2. LBJ National and State Historic Parks, Stonewall
Since the days of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, this ranch turned park has welcomed dogs. Bring yours on a fixed leash no longer than six feet to enjoy trails, picnicking, and a self-guided drive of the ranch.
3. Barking Springs, Austin
Only humans are permitted at Austin’s famous Barton Springs—but directly downstream what’s nicknamed “Barking Springs” is filled with Fidos!
4. The Exotic Resort Zoo, Johnson City
This private park permits well-behaved pooches aboard safari trucks for a look at 80 different species including camel, buffalo, deer, and more. You can even extend your trip with a stay in one of the dog-friendly safari cabins.
5. Stockyards Hotel, Fort Worth
A Lone Star institution since 1907, you and your canine companion can follow in the footsteps of such famous figures as Chuck Norris, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, and even notorious bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde by making this historic hotel home.
6. Luckenbach, Texas
Waylon and Willie—and the Bowsers—will be waiting for you in this burg made famous by the country song. Quiet except during evening dances, Luckenbach makes a fun photo stop with your dog.
7. Southern Star Brewing Company, Conroe
On Saturdays, you and your dog (on leash) are invited to visit the brewery for a free tour and (for you) a tasting. Food trucks are stationed at the brewery on many Saturdays but you’re also welcome to bring a picnic lunch.
8. Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, Nacogdoches
Over 500 varieties of azaleas fill the largest azalea garden in Texas. You and Fido can combine a visit to this garden with a stroll through the adjoining Stephen F. Austin State University Mast Arboretum and the nearby Pineywoods Native Plant Center.
9. Canyon of the Eagles Lodge and Nature Park, Burnet
On the shores of Lake Buchanan, this Hill Country resort and park is a nature lover’s dream with trails, birding, butterfly watching, fishing, kayaking, or even enjoying the stars at an observatory.
10. Pottery Ranch, Marble Falls
Don’t worry about feeling like a bull in a china shop; the wide aisles of this Texas-sized store welcomes you and your dog to shop for everything from pottery to patio furniture, Texana to teak.
11. Fire Museum of Texas, Beaumont
Don’t forget to pack the camera for a visit to what was once the world’s largest fire hydrant! The 24-foot-tall, 4500-pound, Dalmatian-spotted hydrant that sits in front of the Fire Museum was donated by Walt Disney Studios to celebrate the re-release of 101 Dalmatians. Dogs are usually permitted inside the museum as well.
12. The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor, Rockport
This non-profit aquarium exhibits the marine life of the area, from red drum found in the bays to sea urchins and sergeant majors seen around the jetties. This facility is a fun choice for families (and friendly, leashed dogs.)
13. Stockyards, Fort Worth
You and your dog have to mosey over to Fort Worth’s Stockyards Historic District, an area that’s surprisingly dog-friendly. Twice a day, you can experience the Fort Worth Herd, the world’s only daily cattle drive. Cowboys drive the cattle along the streets of the Stockyards, a must-see event if you feel your dog won’t be frightened by the sight of Longhorn cattle coming down the street.
14. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, Elgin
Acres of Virginia Pines and Leyland Cypress trees adorn the hillsides of this bucolic farm. The dog-friendly farm hosts special events throughout the year and includes a fenced area with farm animals to visit.
15. BayWatch Dolphin Tours, Galveston
Your dog can ride for free on this cruise that visits dolphins in their native habitat. The 45-minute tours are held on a boat with a covered interior; the boat has no propeller to keep the dolphins safe.
16. Caddo Mounds State Historic Site, Alto
Located 25 miles west of Nacogdoches, this 397-acre park welcomes dogs on leashes. The site was the southwestern-most ceremonial center for the great Mound Builder culture that dominated these eastern woodlands for 2,500 years.
17. Dallas Heritage Village, Dallas
Formerly known as Old City Park, this collection of historic homes and structures welcomes dogs on leashes on the 20-acre grounds. The structures, the largest collection of its kind in Texas, represent Dallas in the 1840-1910 period; costumed docents reenact farm chores.
18. Texas Capitol Complex, Austin
The iconic Capitol building is the heart of the city, surrounded by shady grounds that invite you and your dog to stroll.
19. Padre Island National Seashore
Think your dog isn’t welcome because this is part of the national park system? Think again! Although dogs are not permitted at the improved facilities at Malaquite Beach Visitor Center, you’ll find miles of beach just beyond Malaquite where Fido can splash in the waves.