A list of all the best pet-friendly parks in Austin, TX
Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. It also happens to be one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country, too. This is largely related to all the amazing access to parks, lakes, rivers, and other outdoor activities. The best part about Austin’s natural spaces is that almost all of them are pet-friendly!
With so many amazing parks and dog parks in the Austin Metropolitan area, one of the hardest choices you’ll have to make is where you want to spend a sunny afternoon with your four-legged friends.
In the interest of helping you maximize the fun, here is a list of Austin’s best parks, dog parks, and swimming holes!
The Best Parks, Dog Parks, and Off-Leash Areas in Austin, TX
- Zilker Metropolitan Park
- Vic Mathias (Auditorium) Shores
- Mueller Lake Park
- Emma Long Metropolitan Park
- Red Bud Isle Off-Leash Dog Park
- Norwood Estate Dog Park
- Shoal Creek Greenbelt
- Harris Ridge Dog Park
- Onion Creek District Park
- Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail and Boardwalk
- Bonus Dog Parks
Zilker Metropolitan Park — 2100 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704
If the city of Austin was a college campus, Zilker park would be the quad. Just across the river from downtown, this 350-acre park is the hub of Austin activity on any given weekend. When Zilker isn’t playing host to festivals like Austin City Limits, or the occasional sports tournament, it’s the perfect place to picnic or run around with your pups!
Of the sprawling, 350 acres of green space, the 45-acre Great Lawn is designated as an off-leash dog area. The area is not fenced-in, so having a well-trained pup is essential.
As a bonus, Barton Springs Pool is located at the Southeast corner of the park. The pool is for humans only, but the affectionately named Barking Springs is just below the natural pool and a great place for your four-legged friend to swim and cool down on a hot day.
Vic Mathias (Auditorium) Shores — 900 W Riverside Dr, Austin, TX, 78704
Like most parks in Austin, Vic Mathias Shores occasionally plays host to live music and other special events like outdoor movie screenings and specialty food festivals. Located just off the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and Lady Bird Lake, this park is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon with your pack!
Besides having an amazing view of downtown and being on the river, the park also has a 5-acre partially fenced dog park. The dog park has recently been updated with several swimming areas and pet showers to clean them off when they’re done splashing around! Like Zilker, this park isn’t fully fenced in, so it’s best to only let well-behaved and trained pups off-leash.
Mueller Lake Park — 4550 Mueller Blvd, Austin, TX 78723
While Mueller Park doesn’t offer a place to let your dogs run off-leash, it is an exceptional place to walk around and have a picnic with the family! The new, 30-acre park has a beautiful lake and over 5 miles of trails. It also offers some of the coolest playground equipment ever for your two-legged pups!
In addition to being a great place to hang out, Mueller Lake also hosts many special events like concerts and an incredible weekly farmer’s market! It is also close to The Thinkery, the Children’s Museum of Austin, and an Alamo Drafthouse movie theater.
Emma Long Metropolitan Park — 1600 City Park Rd, Austin, TX 78730
Emma Long Park is definitely one of the biggest and most sprawling parks in Austin. The park is an impressive 1200 acres, including 193-acres for off-leash dogs! The park also has miles and miles of hiking trails and a refreshing creek that snakes through the property.
And if you are really hearing the call of the wild, Emma Long Park also has the option for overnight camping—and yes, pets are allowed. Just make sure to book your campsite ahead of time and bring plenty of S’ mores!
Red Bud Isle — 3401 Redbud Trail, Austin, TX 78746
Red Bud Isle is one of the real hidden gems of Austin dog parks. This 13-acre off-leash dog park is surrounded by water on three sides, so you can confidently let your pups run wild! Besides being absolutely beautiful, Red Bud also has a hiking trail that loops around the Isle so you can enjoy a nice walk while your four-legged companions run, swim, climb, and howl with joy!
One thing to note about Red Bud Isle is that it has minimal parking, so it’s best to go early in the day. It’s also a great place to launch a kayak or canoe if that’s the type of thing that floats your boat!
Norwood Estate Dog Park — 1009 Edgecliff Terrace, Austin, TX 78704
Norwood Estate Dog Park is more of a classic, no-frills dog park, but it works just fine when your pups have some extra energy to burn. There is a large, roughly 2-acre fully-fenced off-leash dog park for larger dogs and a smaller, separate area for smaller breeds. The dog park has a water filling station and lots of chairs and picnic tables for watching the fun or reading a book!
Shoal Creek Greenbelt — 2600 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78705
Nestled into a narrow, but expansively long strip of Central Austin, the Shoal Creek Greenbelt offers about 80-acres of beautiful oak trees, limestone, creeks, and trails. Of that 80-acres, there is about a mile designated for an off-leash area that runs between 24th Street and 29th Street. This area passes close to Pease Park, another of Austin’s favorite parks.
Like with some of the other parks, this area isn’t fenced in, so keep a close eye on pets.
Harris Ridge Dog Park — 14400 Harris Ridge Blvd, Pflugerville, TX 78660
Harris Ridge Dog Park is another simple, fully fenced-in off-leash dog park. Just outside of Austin City limits in neighboring, Pflugerville, Harris Ridge Dog Park has a separate area for smaller dogs and benches in the shade. While not as glamourous as some of Austin’s other parks, there’s no doubt your pups will be happy with the space to run!
Onion Creek District Park — 7001 Onion Creek Dr, Austin, TX 78744
Another park on Austin’s lush Greenbelt, the Onion Creek Park, offers 106-acres of beautiful, off-leash area for your dogs to roam, romp, and swim. When it’s flowing, Onion Creek provides a cool and refreshing respite on hot Austin days! There are plenty of hiking trails and picnic spots, so you can bring the whole family and make a day of it while tiring out your canine companions!
Like other Greenbelt parks, Onion Creek isn’t fenced in, so make sure your pups are well-behaved and have a good handle on recall.
Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail and Boardwalk
While it’s not your standard park or dog park, the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail is a can’t miss adventure in Austin. The entire loop is about 10 miles, but with multiple entrances, you can walk any portion of it that suits your mood.
The trail borders Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) in Downtown Austin. The path is a central hub of activity in Austin with easy access to Zilker Park, Vic Matheson Shores, Lady Bird Lake, and Downtown. That said, the trail is usually full of runners, bikers, and pet owners. It’s important to keep a close eye on your surroundings and always keep your dogs on leash unless you are in one of the off-leash areas.
Bonus dog parks with a little extra to offer:
Yard bar — 6700 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757
Austin has a long list of amazing public green spaces, but if you are looking for somewhere that offers a little extra fun for pet parents, you might want to check out Yard Bar. Part dog park, part bar, part coffee shop, part social club, Yard Bar is the perfect place to meet some friends for a delicious Austin craft beer while your dogs get to run wild! Yard Bar always has “Bark Rangers” on duty to keep the peace, so you don’t have to worry about popping out for a quick refill or a snack.
Yard Bar offers day passes, multi-visit passes, monthly memberships, and annual memberships. Their motto is “Good Food. Good Dogs. Good Beer.”
Woof and Work — 4930 South Congress, Building A, Austin, TX
A new addition to Austin, Woof & Work is part dog park and part co-working space. It has all the amenities you’d expect from a coworking space like wi-fi, printing services, office supplies, and coffee. When you mix those amenities with an indoor and outdoor dog park, you and your pets will both be able to get some serious work done! They also offer dedicated desks, private offices, and daycare services.
Time To Get Outside!
Listed above are some of the best parks and dog parks in Austin, but this is only a portion of what Austin has to offer. And we haven’t even mentioned all the fantastic hiking, camping, and exploring outside of Austin city limits. Austin is definitely one of the most pet-friendly cities in the country. So grab the leashes, the water bowls, and get outside; your pets will thank you!