Giving your dog the chance to run free and off-leash is incredibly important for his or her overall physical and mental health, and fortunately, Austin has a ton of great places where dogs are free to have fun off their leash! Below are my 5 favorite places in Austin to take pups for a good run and/or swim.
1) Red Bud Isle
Red Bud Isle is an incredible spot for dogs who love to run off leash and who like to swim. This park is a peninsula that extends out into Town Lake, so the whole park is surrounded by water, keeping your pets safe and enclosed, and has tons of water for swimming.
2) Turkey Creek / Emma Long Recreational Area
Just outside central Austin near 2222 / 360, this off-leash park is an extended hiking trail that for most of the hike, runs next to a creek that is a great place for dogs to splash and swim. The whole trail is a 2.9 mile hike, so you can get a good workout along with your dog. Warning: don’t park along the main road — only in the designated parking spots.
3) Town Lake / Auditorium Shores
Want to hang out with a bunch of other dogs and their owners? Head down to Town Lake! Whether you are going to run or walk your dog along the trail, or you want to let your dog socialize with other dogs at the park at Auditorium Shores, this is a great, centrally-located park.
4) Zilker Park
Zilker Park is already one of Austin’s most popular outdoor spaces, and having a dog makes this place even more enjoyable. There’s a ton of room for your dog to safely run around, and you can always count on running into plenty of other dogs.
5) Walnut Creek
A little bit north of town, Walnut Creek is another great off-leash park / hiking trail that will give both you and your dog some good exercise. There are several large areas with water where your dog can run around, but a word of caution: you may run into mountain bikers along the way.