Texas Living

Dog-Friendly Activities for the Dog Days of Summer

By Christiana Nielson 6.30.21

Many of us have been working from home for the past year, and our dogs have probably grown even more attached than before. If you are going back to work at the office this summer, the transition may be difficult for your loyal pup. But you can make it easier on them by planning fun dog-friendly activities and excursions together — and Texas is home to many.

These Texas trails, parks, restaurants, and other attractions are perfect for you and your canine companion to explore this summer. Your bond just might become stronger than ever.

Northwest Texas

The Panhandle’s Palo Duro Canyon State Park is the second-largest canyon in the country and has more than 30 miles of trails for you and your active dog to conquer. If you’re going for multiple days, you can camp (or glamp) with your pup — just keep them on a leash when hiking and bring plenty of water. In nearby Amarillo, grab a burger on the dog-friendly patio at Smokey Joe’s, followed by a view of the sunset from the rooftop of Six Car Pub & Brewery.

dog-friendly activities northeast texas
Katy Trail. Courtesy of Malcolm Wood Alamy

North Texas

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has no shortage of dog-friendly activities. Notable trails and parks across Dallas include Cedar Ridge Preserve in South Dallas, Katy Trail along Turtle Creek, White Rock Lake Trail, and Trinity Forest Trail. Let your dog cool off at MUTTS Canine Cantina with a “Pupsicle”. Katy Trail Ice House, Truck Yard, Manhattan Project Beer Co., and White Rock Alehouse & Brewery will also welcome you and your pup with open arms and extensive menus.

In Fort Worth, the Trinity Trails offer more than 100 miles of hiking so your dog can get all of their energy out. To unwind, take your pup to the dog-friendly Fort Worth Stockyards, where they can make some slightly larger animal friends. Pro tip: The 114-year-old Stockyards Hotel is also dog-friendly if you want to extend your visit.

dog-friendly activities central texas
Barton Creek. Courtesy of Greenbelt Mathew Lodge Alamy

Central Texas

The Austin area is one of the most dog-friendly spots in Texas. From the 13.8-mile Barton Creek Greenbelt trail to Barking Springs — a dog-friendly segment of the popular swimming hole Barton Springs — to Emma Long Metropolitan Park to the trail along the Colorado River, Austin is made for getting outdoors with your pup. It’s also made for enjoying meals and appetizers at one of the many dog-friendly patios around the city. Check out Café No Sé for brunch and Austin Eastciders for late-night bites with your dog.

The Hill Country, which sprawls out west of the city, provides a natural paradise for dog-friendly activities, including the serene Pedernales Falls State Park, perfect for swimming and camping with your dog. Even further west toward Fredericksburg is Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, where you can take your dog on the Loop Trail. If you make it to Fredericksburg, enjoy live music while you grab a bite with your pup at Hondo’s on Main.

dog-friendly activities west texas
Davis Mountains State Park. Courtesy of Guillen Photo Alamy

West Texas

Big Bend National Park might not allow dogs on trails, but there are plenty of other places in West Texas for you and your dog to explore. Davis Mountains State Park has several trails to choose from within the 2,709-acre park. In nearby Marfa, you can enjoy a pie on Pizza Foundation’s patio with your pup and stay in a yurt at El Cosmico, or treat your proper pooch to a bed at Hotel Saint George. And, of course, you can snap a photo with your dog in front of the Prada Marfa art installation on the side of the highway.

dog-friendly activities south texas
Island State Park. Courtesy of Historic Collection Alamy

South Texas

The rivers and beaches of South Texas provide a different kind of terrain for dog-friendly activities. Starting as far north as San Antonio, the River Walk is a great place to stroll and sightsee with your dog. If you want to take your pup to a beach instead, Galveston Island State Park has four miles of dog-friendly trails and lots of sand. Further south, on Padre Island, you can play on five miles of beachfront with your pup at Mustang Island State Park. Head to Tortuga’s Saltwater Grill in Port Aransas for dinner and a sunset.

If your summer includes heading back to the office, be sure to carve out quality time with your dog by planning fun Texas activities and outings to do together.

As you dive into summer with your four-legged best friend, dig into these six pet-safety tips for summer.

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