5 best dog parks in Austin

December 13, 2021 - 2 min read

Austin Parks and Recreation maintains several off-leash parks, so whether your dog prefers grassy space, hiking trails or water features, there’s a place where you’ll both enjoy the great outdoors. Be sure and look for the official off-leash areas, because failing to follow Austin’s leash ordinance (all dogs on a leash no longer than 6 feet on all city land) can result in a maximum fine of $500.

Here are a few favorites around town:

Red Bud Isle

Address: 3401 Redbud Trail

This island oasis in the middle of the Colorado River near Tom Miller Dam was designed with dogs in mind. From hiking the easy nature trail loop to splashing around (or sitting on a kayak) in the many impromptu swimming holes, this park is a dog’s perfect day out.

Vic Mathias Auditorium Shores

Address: 900 W. Riverside Dr.

Downriver from Red Bud Isle, this redesigned park allocates 4.5 acres of green space for off-leash fun. Featuring a dedicated dog-walking trail, three water access areas (including a dock for dog flops) as well as a water fountain for drinking and rinsing off, your dog will find their fun here. Be sure to grab a complimentary dog bag, leash up and check out the Stevie Ray Vaughn memorial statue before you head home.

West Austin Park and Wading Pool

Address: 1317 W. 10th St.

Despite its name, the wading pool does not allow dogs. However, if you’re looking for an urban adventure in a park that caters to both kids and dogs, the fenced-in area is top-notch. It features graduated stone walls for your dog’s version of parkour and shady spots with plenty of seating for you.

Work & Woof

Address: 4930 S. Congress Ave., Building A

Phone: 512-460-1488

Social: Facebook, Instagram

Here’s the place where it’s “bring your dog to work day” every day. Coworking memberships allow you to log in with your favorite coworker with free daycare during the weekly office hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) while Saturdays are for letting loose at the large indoor/outdoor park with an $8 day pass.

Zilker Botanical Garden

Address: 2100 Barton Springs Rd.

Social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Pet-friendly botanical garden plants and pups

While not a park by definition, the leashed-dog-friendly Zilker Botanical Garden adds flora and fauna to your walk. Explore native plants like the West Texas cactus all year long and mark your calendar for spring to experience the fleeting beauty of blooming cherry trees in the Isamu Taniguchi Oriental Garden. If you’re lucky — and have your camera ready — you may be able to capture your dog meeting a new friend along the Douglas Blachly Butterfly Trail.