Pet-Friendly Flights, Hotels, Activities and More

Austin, Texas, is a dog-friendly destination renowned for its live music scene, vibrant culture, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin warmly welcomes tourists traveling with their canine companions. With numerous pet-friendly parks, trails, and restaurants, it’s a city where both locals and visitors can explore the Texas Hill Country alongside their beloved dogs.

From the serene shores of Lady Bird Lake to the bustling streets of South Congress Avenue, Austin offers a diverse range of dog-friendly experiences. Its commitment to inclusivity ensures that travelers can enjoy a blend of cultural attractions and natural beauty while sharing memorable moments with their furry friends by their side.

Austin Dog Friendly

Should You Travel with Your Dog?

Whether or not you should travel with your dog depends on your dog’s personality and health. If your dog gets anxious easily, bringing them on a trip isn’t ideal. However, some dogs are great at adapting to new situations and love exploring different places, so those dogs would probably do well on the go.

Regardless of your dog’s temperament, there may be times when they need to travel with you, such as if you’re moving to a new location. If that’s the case, you may need to take extra precautions to ensure they’re as comfortable as possible. That could include stopping more frequently during a long drive or asking your vet about whether or not medications could help.

What to Pack When Traveling with Your Dog

Your dog may not need as much stuff as you do for a trip, but they still need the essentials. Plus, bringing items that look and smell familiar to your furry friend can help them feel more comfortable.

Here’s a list of supplies you should bring for your dog:

This list is just a general guide of things you may need. Your packing list may vary based on where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and what activities you have planned. If you have space to spare, it can’t hurt to pack extra pet supplies out of caution.

Dog going for road trip

What to Include in a Dog First Aid Kit

A dog first aid kit should include essential items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, a thermometer, and a muzzle for safety. It’s also important to have saline solution for eye washing and a blanket for shock or cold. For a complete list of everything you need, see a comprehensive dog first aid guide here!

Finding a Dog-Friendly Hotel

While planning your trip, make sure you find a dog-friendly place to stay. Many lodging options, whether they’re a large hotel chain or a small local property, are willing to allow pets with some restrictions. The best way to know if your dog is welcome is to call the property before booking.

Looking for a pet-friendly Hotel so you can share your vacation with your four-legged friend? We’ve partnered with top travel sites to find you the best possible deals around. Just enter your travel plans below, and you’ll find pet-friendly hotels wherever you’re traveling. 

Dog sleeping at hotel

Other Lodging Options

Even though most popular hotel chains allow pets to some extent, they still might not be the right choice for you. Many prevent large dogs or more than two dogs at a time. Some may also prevent you from leaving your dog alone in the hotel, which can be difficult if you have some plans that aren’t pet-friendly. In this case, consider finding your pup a pet sitter who can take care of your dog while you’re enjoying a quiet dinner, seeing the sights or even taking in a show.

Book a Rover dog sitter and give your dog the best day ever!

So, if you’re struggling to find a good hotel, you may want to check other types of lodging, such as campgrounds or booking sites like Airbnb and Vrbo. Those options are often more flexible with pet restrictions because they don’t need to follow the policies of big chain hotels. Like with hotels, you should always contact the property to get the most detailed information on their pet restrictions.

Dog-Friendly Transportation Options

For most dogs, the scariest part of going on a trip is getting there. Dogs who aren’t used to riding in a car are likely to be anxious during a road trip and even more so on an airplane. So, here are some tips for how to keep your dog safe and comfortable when heading to your destination.

Driving with Your Dog

If possible, driving long distances with your dog will usually be easier and more comfortable than flying, especially if you have a large breed. However, you should make sure your dog is okay with riding in the car before you bring them on a road trip. If they don’t ride in the car much on a regular basis, start by taking them for short drives in preparation for the trip.

Here are some tips for taking a road trip with your dog:

  • Get your dog’s energy out before the long drive (take them for a walk, play fetch, etc.)
  • Make sure your dog is secure and comfortable (use a crate or dog seat belt, and make sure they have a cozy bed)
  • Stop more often than you need to so your dog can stretch their legs and do their business
  • Offer your dog fresh water every time you stop
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car on a warm/hot day

Buckling dog into car

Flying with Your Dog

Most dogs have ridden in the car at one point or another, but flying with your dog is a much different experience. If your dog is under 20 pounds, they can ride in the cabin on most airlines, but if your dog is larger than that, they may have to fly in the cargo hold. Not being able to see your dog during the flight can be stressful, which is why families with larger dogs typically prefer to drive when possible.

Almost every airline allows dogs, but some have stricter rules than others. Always check an airline’s pet policy before planning to fly on it with your pup.

Dog in airplane carrier

How to Travel with an Anxious Dog

If you have an anxious dog, driving and flying might both seem tricky. Luckily, there are things you can do to help a stressed-out dog feel more at ease while on the go.

  • Get your dog familiar with travel – take them to places they enjoy, such as the park, instead of only the vet.
  • Bring familiar items, such as their favorite beds and toys.
  • Keep their feeding times and bathroom breaks as close to their normal routine as possible.
  • Give them lots of exercise before getting in the car or entering the airport.
  • Stay calm – your dog may pick up on if you’re stressed and become more worried as a result.
  • Try anti-anxiety products, such as ThunderShirts and heartbeat toys.

While the above tips may reduce your dog’s anxiety, extremely anxious dogs will likely still show some fear in unfamiliar situations. Pet CBD Products, such as those made by Cannanine, can help calm down nervous pups during travel. Cannanine offers CBD oil and soft chews, both of which effectively calm dogs while being THC-free. Plus, every Cannanine product purchased donates meals to shelter dogs.

Top Tourist Attractions in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, is a city rich in culture, live music, and outdoor activities, making it a popular tourist destination. Here are some of the most popular attractions and events in Austin:

Tourist Attractions:

  1. The State Capitol: Explore the Texas State Capitol building, an impressive piece of architecture and an important government center.
  2. Lady Bird Lake: This scenic reservoir offers opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking, and picnicking along the waterfront.
  3. Barton Springs Pool: A natural spring-fed pool in Zilker Park, perfect for swimming year-round.
  4. South Congress Avenue: Known as SoCo, it’s a vibrant district with eclectic shops, restaurants, and live music venues.
  5. The University of Texas at Austin: Stroll through the beautiful campus, visit the Blanton Museum of Art, and take a photo with the iconic UT Tower.
  6. Zilker Park: Enjoy this urban oasis with walking trails, a botanical garden, and the annual Zilker Kite Festival.
  7. Bullock Texas State History Museum: Explore Texas’ rich history through interactive exhibits and artifacts.
  8. Mount Bonnell: Hike to the top for panoramic views of Austin and the Colorado River.
  9. Austin Bats: Witness the famous bat colony emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge at sunset.
  10. LBJ Presidential Library: Visit the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum to learn about the 36th President of the United States.

Annual Events:

  1. SXSW (South by Southwest): An internationally renowned festival featuring music, film, and interactive media, drawing creative professionals from around the world.
  2. Austin City Limits Music Festival: A multi-genre music festival that takes place in Zilker Park, attracting top-tier artists and music enthusiasts.
  3. Austin Film Festival: A celebration of filmmaking with screenings, panels, and industry events.
  4. Austin Food + Wine Festival: A culinary extravaganza featuring top chefs, wine tastings, and food-related events.
  5. Austin Trail of Lights: A beloved holiday tradition with dazzling light displays and festive entertainment in Zilker Park.
  6. Bat Fest: A family-friendly event celebrating Austin’s bats with live music, food, and bat-themed activities.
  7. Formula 1 United States Grand Prix: A thrilling international racing event at the Circuit of The Americas.
  8. Austin Pride Festival and Parade: A celebration of LGBTQ+ pride featuring a colorful parade and festivities.
  9. Kite Festival: The oldest kite festival in the United States, held annually in Zilker Park.
  10. Austin Marathon and Half Marathon: A popular race event that showcases the city’s scenic routes.

These attractions and events offer a taste of Austin’s unique culture, natural beauty, and vibrant arts scene, making it an exciting destination for travelers from around the world.

Picking Activities Your Dog Can Join in Austin, Texas

If you’re traveling with your dog for vacation, you should make sure they can join you for most, if not all, of your activities. Since dogs aren’t allowed indoors in many places, you should travel when the weather is nice to ensure you can spend time outside with your furry friend.

Austin, Texas, is a dog-friendly city with plenty of activities to enjoy with your furry companion. Here are some popular dog-friendly activities in Austin:

  1. Hike and Explore Parks: Austin boasts numerous dog-friendly parks and hiking trails. Places like Barton Creek Greenbelt, Bull Creek District Park, and Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park offer opportunities for hiking and outdoor adventures with your dog.
  2. Lady Bird Lake: Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail that encircles Lady Bird Lake. Dogs are welcome, and the scenic views are sure to please both you and your pet.
  3. Zilker Park: Visit Zilker Park and enjoy a day of picnicking, frisbee, and relaxation with your dog. You can also cool off together in Barton Springs Pool if your pup loves to swim.
  4. Off-Leash Dog Parks: Austin has several off-leash dog parks, including Red Bud Isle, Auditorium Shores, and Norwood Estate Dog Park, where your dog can socialize and play freely.
  5. Dog-Friendly Breweries: Many breweries in Austin welcome dogs on their outdoor patios. Enjoy a craft beer with your pup by your side at places like Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden.
  6. Dining Al Fresco: Austin is known for its outdoor dining culture. Explore pet-friendly restaurants and cafes with patio seating, such as Jo’s Coffee, Home Slice Pizza, and Red’s Porch.
  7. Paddleboarding and Kayaking: If your dog enjoys water activities, consider paddleboarding or kayaking on Lady Bird Lake. Some companies even offer dog-friendly watercraft rentals.
  8. Yappy Hours and Pet-Friendly Events: Keep an eye out for Yappy Hours at local bars and restaurants, as well as pet-friendly events and festivals that often take place in Austin.
  9. Pennybacker Bridge Overlook: Hike to the Pennybacker Bridge Overlook for stunning views of the 360 Bridge and the surrounding Hill Country. It’s a great spot for a photo op with your pup.
  10. Visit a Pet-Friendly Market: Check out the Barton Creek Farmers Market or other pet-friendly markets where you can shop for local goods while strolling with your dog.

Always ensure your dog is well-behaved, on a leash where required, and cleaned up after in public areas. Austin’s warm embrace of dogs and outdoor activities ensures a memorable and enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend. This is just a list to get you started because the dog-friendly activities will vary based on where you’re visiting. While most outdoor events welcome pets as long as they’re well-behaved and you clean up after them, it’s always a good idea to check the event’s details to be sure. With enough planning and good weather, you can hang out with your dog the entire vacation!

Dog Friendly San Jose

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are dogs allowed on public transportation in Austin?

Yes, dogs are generally allowed on Capital Metro buses and trains in Austin. Small dogs can be carried in a pet carrier, while larger dogs should be on a leash and well-behaved.

2. Can I bring my dog to restaurants with outdoor seating in Austin?

Yes, many restaurants in Austin have pet-friendly patios. It’s best to check with the individual restaurant for their specific pet policies and patio availability.

3. Where can I find off-leash dog parks in Austin?

Austin has several off-leash dog parks, including Auditorium Shores, Red Bud Isle, and West Austin Dog Park. These parks provide designated areas for off-leash play and socialization.

4. What are the rules for dogs in Austin’s public parks and trails?

Most Austin parks and trails welcome dogs on a leash. Some parks also have off-leash areas, so be sure to follow posted rules and regulations.

5. Are there any dog-friendly hiking trails near Austin?

Yes, Austin offers various dog-friendly hiking trails, including Barton Creek Greenbelt, McKinney Falls State Park, and River Place Nature Trail.

6. Can I take my dog to Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park?

Dogs are not allowed within the Barton Springs Pool area, but they are welcome in other areas of Zilker Park. Nearby Red Bud Isle offers a dog-friendly swimming experience.

7. What are the pet-friendly options for outdoor activities in Austin?

Consider activities like kayaking or paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake, picnicking in Zilker Park, or enjoying a hike in the Barton Creek Greenbelt with your dog.

8. Where can I find pet supply stores and grooming services in Austin?

Austin has numerous pet supply stores and grooming salons. Popular options include Tomlinson’s Feed & Pets, Mud Puppies, and Phydeaux and Friends.

9. What should I do in case of a pet emergency in Austin?

Familiarize yourself with the locations of veterinary clinics and emergency animal hospitals in Austin. Keep their contact information handy for any unforeseen situations.

10. Can I bring my dog to local festivals and events in Austin?

Some outdoor festivals and events in Austin may allow dogs, but policies can vary. Check event websites or contact organizers in advance to confirm if dogs are welcome.

Final Thoughts

Traveling to Austin, Texas, with your dog can be a memorable adventure filled with outdoor activities, live music, and delicious food. To ensure a successful trip, keep these final thoughts and tips in mind:

  1. Check Pet Policies: Research the pet policies of your accommodations, dining options, and attractions in advance. Knowing the rules and any associated fees will help you plan accordingly.
  2. Leash and Clean-Up: Always have a leash on hand for your dog and carry waste bags to clean up after them. Be respectful of public spaces and dispose of waste properly.
  3. Hydration: Austin’s climate can be warm, so carry water for your dog during outdoor activities and offer regular breaks for hydration.
  4. Identification and Records: Ensure your dog wears identification tags with your contact information. Carry proof of vaccinations and medical records, just in case.
  5. Veterinary Information: Familiarize yourself with the locations of veterinary clinics and emergency animal hospitals in Austin, and keep their contact information accessible.
  6. Pet Comfort: Pack essentials like your dog’s food, medications, bedding, and favorite toys to ensure their comfort during the trip.
  7. Weather Awareness: Be mindful of the weather, especially in warmer months. Plan outdoor activities for cooler times of the day to prevent overheating.
  8. Respect Local Regulations: Abide by local leash laws, off-leash areas, and specific pet regulations. Always follow posted rules to maintain a positive experience for everyone.
  9. Pet-Friendly Activities: Take advantage of Austin’s dog-friendly parks, trails, and dining options. Explore the city together and create lasting memories.
  10. Enjoy the Live Music Scene: Austin’s music culture is a big part of its identity. Many outdoor venues and patios welcome dogs, so you can enjoy live music while your pet relaxes beside you.

Austin’s warm and inclusive atmosphere for dogs ensures you can make the most of your trip while sharing special moments with your beloved pet. Whether you’re exploring the outdoors, enjoying a meal on a patio, or tapping into the city’s vibrant cultural scene, Austin has something to offer every traveler and their canine companion.

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