Austin is a dog loving town. Along with the dog friendly restaurants, and dog related businesses, Austin is home to several dog parks. While San Antonio and Ft. Worth offer one dog park each, and Houston and Dallas have two, Austin boasts twelve official dog parks in the city limits.
Just below the Tom Miller Dam on Red Bud Trail lies Red Bud Isle. It’s a beautiful wooded peninsula with open areas for dogs to run, secluded trails to hike, and several spots to access the water for dogs to swim, kayakers to launch, and fishermen to drop a line.
Bull Creek District Park is another lovely leash-free dog park bisected by Bull Creek, one of two spring-fed water supply creeks in Austin. Dubbed “The Galapagos of Texas” due to the many species of animals that have evolved here, Bull Creek also hosts many dog “meet ups” for different dog groups, such as “Active Dogs” or “Great Dane Day.”
Norwood Estate and The West Austin Dog Park are the only parks fully enclosed by fencing, a plus for those dog owners afraid of their unleashed canine running off towards busy thoroughfares. Norwood Estate is actually double-gated, and has a separate area dedicated for puppies.
As if twelve official dog parks weren’t enough, several other areas in town have become unofficial dog parks as well, many of them located along the Barton Creek Greenbelt, including “Dog Beach,” just below Barton Springs pool. Dog owners take heed- having a dog off leash in an undesignated area can lead to fines up to $500.
Dog parks bond a community of humans as well as their four-legged pets, though they might refer to each other by the dogs’ names- for instance, “You are Bingo’s owner, right?” According to the Austin Parks Foundation, the most popular dog parks are kept up by different volunteer community groups, such as Friends of Turkey Creek and Friends of Norwood Park. These groups maintain the parks by picking up waste, planting, and laying down fresh mulch, providing a fresh and clean area for all of Austin’s dog owners to enjoy.