“The Cowboy Capital of the World” is well known for its plentiful dude ranches, country-western music, rodeos, and horse racing.
Once part of the “Wild West,” Bandera Pass, located 12 miles north of town on TX 173, was the site of many battles between Spanish conquistadors and both Apache and Comanche Indians. Legend has it that following a battle with the Apaches in 1732, a flag (or bandera in Spanish) was hung at the pass to mark the boundary between the two opposing forces.
Bandera still clings to its Wild West roots more than most Hill Country towns, from rodeos to boot-scootin’ dance halls.
Dog-Friendly Attractions in Bandera
Bandera City Park. This 77-acre day use park is located on the banks of the Medina River. The park includes barbecue pits, fishing, and river swimming for you and your dog. Info: Main St. at Maple St. Free on weekdays; fee on weekends.
Hill Country State Natural Area. Originally geared to equestrian travelers looking for 40 miles of horseback riding trails, this park is also a favorite with dog lovers (if you know that your dog is not reactive to horses). Spanning 5,400 acres of rolling Hill Country, this park, located 12 miles southwest of Bandera, also offers walk-in campsites and backpack camping areas. Cool off with a dip in West Verde Creek or fish for catfish, perch, and largemouth bass. As at all state parks, dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet long and are not allowed in any buildings. Info: 10600 Bandera Creek Rd.; (830) 796–4413; www.tpwd.state.tx.us. Fee.
Historical Walking Tours. Turn your dog walk into a history tour by downloading a list of 29 historic stops on a Bandera County CVB walking tour. These buildings have witnessed Bandera’s evolution from a frontier town to a vacation destination and include the county courthouse, the old jail, Bandera’s first theater, and many homes that date back to the community’s earliest days. Info: www.banderacowboycapital.com.
Medina Lake Park. This day use lake park welcomes dogs on leash for a day of swimming, boating, fishing, and picnicking. Info: Park 37 off FM 1283; (830) 460-1654; www.banderacounty.org. Fee.
Medina River. The beautiful, cypress-lined Medina River fills with swimmers, canoeists, and -tubers during the summer months. You and your dog can find public access to the river from the TX 16 bridge in town. If the water level is high, however, be extra cautious of submerged trees. Info: TX 16, east of town.
Stay, Lie Down
2E RV Guest Ranch Resort. Adjacent to the Twin Elm Guest Ranch, this pet-friendly RV park offers guests use of many of the facilities of the 200-acre dude ranch on the Medina River. Campfires at night and swimming the dude ranch pool or in the river are available without charge; for a small fee, you can enjoy horseback riding by the hour, a hayride, and tubing on the river. Info: Just a half mile off FM 470 from TX 16 (4 miles from Bandera); (888) 567–3049 or (830) 796–3628; www.twinelmranch.com.
River Front Motel. Located across from the Medina River and Bandera City Park, the 11 no-frills cabins at this property welcome pets for an additional fee. (Pets aren’t permitted in the property’s Bandera Bunkhouse or Carriage House Inn.) Each free-standing cabin includes a furnished kitchenette (perfect for making Fido’s dinner), private bath with shower, daily maid service, ceiling fans, cable TV, heat and air-conditioning. When you’re ready for fun, just grab the leash, step and stroll through the park to the Medina River! Info: 1103 Maple St.; (800) 870-5671; www.theriverfrontmotel.com.
Fetch More Information
- Bandera County Convention and Visitors Bureau; (800) 364-3833; www.banderacowboycapital.com.
For more on traveling in Texas with your dog, please order a copy of our DogTipper’s Texas with Dogs guidebook!