3 Best Dog Friendly Texas State Parks

Looking for a fun way to get Fido in on your summer vacation plans in Texas this year? Here are three great campgrounds that welcome dogs to plan your outdoor adventures this summer. Enjoy woodland, coastal, or the rugged terrain of the high desert. No matter which you choose, you are sure to have a better time with your furry friend in tow.

Inks Lake State Park

Inks Lake State Park

Located in the town of Burnet, about an hour Northwest of Austin, this family campgroundhas a lot to offer for those who love to enjoy the great outdoors with their canine companion. Whether you are looking for primitive camping, cabins, or plan to travel with your pet in RV style, Inks Lake has you covered. In addition, an onsite park store makes it easy to pick up a few of the essentials that may not have made it on your packing list.

This park is a popular destination and sites book early. Be sure to make a reservation well in advance of your travels. Fishing, swimming, kayaking, and bird watching are a few of the activities you can enjoy at this beautiful state park. And, don’t miss out on the extensive hiking trail offerings. Notably the 3.3 mile Pecan Flats trail that includes 28 points of interests marked on a special guided tour map you can pick up at the ranger’s office.

And, if you are looking for some nearby town activities to enjoy with your pet, it is a great chance to visit Austin, the nation’s 4th most dog friendly city, according to a 2018 poll. Enjoy a few of the over 470 dog friendly restaurants, bars, and cafes. And, make sure to stop by one of several specialty dog bakeries that cater to our furry friend’s culinary tastes.

Read Texas Outside’s review of Inks Lake State Park to learn why it’s rates as one of the best State Parks in Texas.

Galveston Island State Park

Galveston State ParkAbout an hour Southeast of Houston, this state park and campground normally features primitive camping on the bay side, along with RV campsites on both the bay and beach sides of the park. However, a recent hurricane did so much damage to the beach sites that those sites are currently closed.  In addition, a few large lodges are available for group camping, but plan on making your reservations well in advance.

This 2,000 acre state park includes access to wetlands, prairie, and the Gulf Coast and inland bays. Since the ecosystem is diverse, wildlife lovers will appreciate viewing a wide range of birds (over 300 species have been identified in this park!), amphibians, reptiles, and mammals that call this preserve home. Anglers will appreciate a wide variety of fishing including sandtrout, redfish, flounder, spotted seatrout and more.  

Be sure to check the busy event calendar while visiting this park. The park rangers and local naturalists have several guided tours, nature walks, and treasure hunts offered most weekends during the summer.

Due to its coastal location, Galveston averages 50 inches of rain a year. If your dog has a fear of thunderstorms, be sure to pack accordingly. Consider an over the counter natural product made just for dogs here to help calm your dog’s anxiety while enjoying the great outdoors. To learn more, read Texas Outside’s review of Galveston State Park.

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Ranch State ParkIf long hikes, mountain biking, or horseback riding are your thing, this park offers over 238 miles of trails to make use of. If you want to enjoy them with your dog, just plan on keeping him on a leash. The expansive views are complemented by gorgeous night skies thanks to its designation as an International Dark Sky Park in 2017.  Before heading out to Big Bend Ranch check out the Big Bend Ranch State Park Website.

There are both drive up and hike in primitive campsites as well as equestrian ready sites for your camping pleasure. If you would prefer lodging, book a stay at the Bunkhouse. This building was built in the 1960’s and features rustic ranch décor, a community kitchen, and indoor plumbing. However, pets are not allowed at the Bunkhouse so if you plan to bring your dog, camping is your best option.

Since it is located in a high desert location, this park offers great vistas for geology buffs, including the Solitario, found in the northeast corner of the park. This giant rock formation pushed through the surface over 35 million years ago, and has been eroded by wind and rain to create beautiful flowing patterns out of the solid rock face.

Desert weather, of course, means that temperatures get high, particularly during the summer. Make sure to keep your canine companion in mind when you pack, bring extra fresh water on your adventure, and keep an eye out for dehydration and overheating to make sure your furry friend stays safe on the trails.  

If you’re travelling this far to get to Big Bend Ranch you should take some extra time with fido to explore Lajitas Resort & Golf Course, Terlingua, and Big Bend National Park – all of with are dog friendly and loaded with lots of fun things to see and do. 


About Texas Outside

Texas Outside has been alive & well since 1996 - that's ancient by today's internet standards! Texas Outside was originally developed by Lone Star Internet which is an Austin based web development company with an excellent reputation & client base. In March of 2006, we purchased Texas Outside & made a commitment to add new, exciting, & informative content on Texas outdoor activities & fun things to see & do.

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