Is Fido ready for a Texas-sized spring break? Whether you want to paddle through the state capital, explore 300-year-old Spanish missions or visit rescued sea turtles, The Lone Star State has enough to keep your two- and four-legged family entertained all week.
Posted by Lauren Barker
South Padre Island
Pack your beach gear and head to the Texan coast for an unforgettable spring break. Kids and canines alike will have a ball at Padre Island National Seashore, where leashed dogs are welcome on over 60 miles of beach. Stop in Island Style Surf Sports to pick up the essentials before hitting the waves. If your furry friend isn’t keen on swimming, he can still get up close and personal with marine life at Sea Turtle, Inc., a nonprofit sea turtle rescue featured in the latest edition of our book, Ruff Guide to the United States. Well-behaved pups are invited to tag along as you visit the center’s permanent turtle residents, tour the museum, and browse the gift shop. Be sure to catch a ‘Turtle Talk’ in the education complex before stopping by the sea turtle hospital to observe the rehabilitation process. If your family is ready for some lunch after their marine encounter, make your way to nearby Lobo Del Mar Café for dog-friendly waterside dining.
Continue your aquatic adventures at the La Quinta Inn & Suites South Padre Beach. The oceanfront property offers human amenities including an outdoor pool, fitness center, and complimentary daily breakfast. But the best part for your pooch is that he can sleep just steps away from the dog-friendly beach. Up to two dogs of any size are welcome for an additional fee of $20 per pet, per night.
On your Austin spring break, make a beeline for Lady Bird Lake. Your whole family can enjoy the serenity of the water with canoe or kayak rentals from Zilker Park Boat Rentals. Located just 10 minutes from downtown, a scenic float on the lake with your pooch will provide you with magnificent views of the Austin skyline and a glimpse of the famous bat colony that resides under the Congress Avenue Bridge. When you’re back on dry land, head to Zilker Botanical Garden to explore over 30 acres of lush gardens with Fido. If your pup needs to cool off, nearby Red Bud Isle is the perfect spot to swim and play in the waters of the Colorado River. While you’re there, take the family on a hike around the .5-mile loop trail. Of course, a visit to Austin wouldn’t be complete without taking a self-guided tour of the Texas State Capitol Grounds. When everyone gets hungry, check out Austin’s Yard Bar, an outdoor restaurant and bar with its own dog park.
After a fun-filled day exploring Austin, recharge at Hotel Saint Cecilia. Every suite, studio, and bungalow in this secluded estate pays homage to the great writers, musicians, and artists of the decades. Introduce your kids to the sounds of the greats on the in-room Geneva sound systems with turntables. Other amenities include minibars stocked with gourmet treats, made-to-order breakfasts, and an outdoor pool. Furry guests also receive treats, bowls, and toys. Dogs of any size are accepted for an additional fee of $25 per pet, per night.
Adventure awaits on a spring break vacation in San Antonio. If your family is willing to brave the spirits still defending the Alamo, sign up for a Haunted History Ghost Walk with Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours. Your guide will take human and canine visitors on a 90-minute stroll past three of the most haunted spots in the city – the Alamo, the Spanish Governor’s Mansion, and The Menger Hotel. For more history, walk with your family and Fido on the grounds of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and learn about 300-year-old Spanish missions and the people who lived there in the 1700s. Then head to San Antonio River Walk, where many of the outdoor restaurants and shops welcome furry guests. Break for a bite at Casa Rio, which serves up authentic Mexican fare on its colorful, dog-friendly patio.
Stay in the heart of Alamo City at Hotel Havana, located on the River Walk. During your stay, order takeout or dine on the pet-friendly patio of the hotel restaurant, Ocho. Pups receive a comfy dog bed and food dishes to use during their visit. Dogs of any size are permitted for an additional fee of $25 per pet, per stay.
Located along the gulf coast of Texas, Galveston is home to some of the best dog-friendly fresh- and saltwater fishing spots in the South. Try your luck on the bay at Galveston Island State Park, where your canine angler can help the kids reel in speckled trout, redfish and flounder. Then let everyone stretch their legs with a hike along the bayside trails and boardwalks, or bring a canoe or kayak to enter paddling trails that provide access to beautiful dune hiking. After your family has reeled in the big one, relax with dinner at Marina Bar & Grill, where even Fido can order something delicious from the dog menu. If everyone is craving sand and surf, spend a day at dog-friendly East Beach or Stewart Beach Park, Galveston’s premier family beach park with concessions, restrooms, beach chair rental and a playground for the kids.
Located just one block from the beach, the Red Roof PLUS Galveston Beachfront is a convenient, budget-friendly option on Galveston Island. There is ample green space around the hotel for your pup’s potty breaks, and pet-friendly shops and dining options are within walking distance. Kids can splash in the hotel pool while Fido rests after a fun day in the sand. One dog up to 70 lbs is welcome for no additional fee.
Gather the gang and head to Palo Duro Creek Ranch – a working cattle ranch in the Texas Panhandle – where you can tour the nation’s second-largest canyon. Travel back in time to the fascinating Old West as your guide regales you with the vivid history and delightful folklore of the area. Enjoy spectacular views of Palo Duro Canyon as you travel over rugged terrain in a customized Jeep that’s well-equipped for the trip. You can also explore Palo Duro Canyon State Park by foot, and hike with your pup on the 6-mile Lighthouse Trail. After your tour, visit the world-famous Cadillac Ranch. At this public art installation, pose for a family photo next to 10 graffiti-covered Cadillacs that have been half-buried into the ground. The public is invited to leave their mark on the vehicles, so be sure to bring a can of spray paint and let the kids get creative.
After a long day of exploring Palo Duro Canyon State Park, stay in the conveniently located and pet-friendly Holiday Inn Express Canyon. Relax in the clean, comfortable rooms, and tuck into complimentary daily breakfast and evening snacks. The hotel also offers many amenities including a fitness center, indoor pool and hot tub. Two dogs of any size are accepted for an additional fee of $25 per pet, per night.
Escape the congestion of the city and bring your two- and four-legged clan to the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a 155-acre urban sanctuary on the western edge of Memorial Park. Visitors are invited to explore 5 miles of walking trails that wind through a variety of habitats. Guide your pup through the arboretum’s prairie on a loop around Meadow Pond, meander along an elevated boardwalk through the savanna grasses, or take a 1.7-mile woodland hike to reach views of the Buffalo Bayou. When it’s time for lunch, head over to the food truck hub in the Eastern Glades area of Memorial Park, which offers relaxing picnic areas next to Hines Lake. Check the Arboretum’s calendar for special family programs and children’s events, including a virtual spring break camp. After exploring the parks, stop in at the Hobbit Café. Four-legged "hobbits" and humans alike can enjoy Houston’s best patio and original mead bar, and Fido can rest up under the shade of a giant oak tree.
Located just 1 mile south of the Houston Arboretum’s west entrance, the La Quinta Inn & Suites Houston Galleria is a comfortable and budget-friendly place to put your paws up for the night. Four-legged guests will enjoy the secluded courtyard area with a walking path and gazebo, while the humans will appreciate the complimentary breakfast and outdoor pool. Up to two dogs of any size are permitted for no additional fee.
Wrangle everyone together for a spring break trip to the Fort Worth Stockyards and a taste of the Old West. Start your day by watching one of the twice-daily longhorn cattle drives through town. Then, take a GPS-guided walking tour of the historic district with your pup. Afterward, grab lunch or dinner at Mutts Canine Cantina and let your pooch meet new friends in the on-site dog park. Wind down after a full day by catching a family flick at Coyote Drive-In.
Continue the week in Dallas with some budget-friendly sightseeing aboard the McKinney Avenue Trolley. Fido can ride through the city’s vibrant Uptown neighborhood with you on the restored vintage streetcars. Hop off at the Katy Trail, one of the most popular dog-walking routes in Dallas that passes through Turtle Creek Parkway Park. Spend time getting a taste of Texas history at Dallas Heritage Village, the largest collection of 19th-century pioneer and Victorian homes and commercial buildings in Texas. Stroll along the pet-friendly grounds and learn what life was like in the early days of Dallas. Grab a bite and a brew at Truck Yard, where Fido will receive his own bowl of ice cream.
Stay close to the action in Dallas at La Quinta Inn & Suites Love Field. Enjoy free complimentary breakfast each morning and let Fido rest while the kids swim in the outdoor pool. Two dogs of any size are accepted for no additional fee.
The town of Fredericksburg will serve as your spring break hub for exploring Texas Hill Country’s numerous dog-friendly state parks. Start your tour at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Situated 20 miles north of Fredericksburg, the 1,643-acre park is popular among hikers and rock-climbers and is a prime location for spotting wildlife like armadillos and white-tailed deer. Drive an hour west to South Llano River State Park, where you can rent kayaks and canoes or go tubing with your pup down the scenic river. In nearby Johnson City, Pedernales Falls State Park offers excellent family-friendly hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities. Travel north to Inks Lake State Park in Burnet to fish for bass or catfish with your four-legged friend. If your family is adventurous, primitive camping and backpacking are available at the Hill Country State Natural Area, located 60 miles away in Bandera.
After spending some quality time in the great outdoors, savor the beauty of Texas from a relaxing rocking chair on the veranda at the Best Western Plus Fredericksburg. Fuel up in the morning with a complimentary hot breakfast and catch some rays on a lounge chair while the kids enjoy the outdoor swimming pool. Dogs up to 80 lbs are accepted for an additional fee of $30 per night.
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