Looking for a getaway for you and your dog in driving distance of Austin? Just north of the capital city on I-35 lies dog-friendly Georgetown, Texas.
Start with a small Texas county seat. Add a sprinkling of cultural attractions, a pinch of recreational sites, a dash of locally-owned businesses and a heaping helping of restored historic buildings and what do you have? The perfect recipe for one charming town that’s a favorite with dog lovers.
Today visitors and their dogs can stroll along an award-winning downtown square to get a feel for the small-town atmosphere that makes Georgetown so special. Just as it was over a century ago, the courthouse square still thrives as the heart of the Georgetown business community.
North of the courthouse square, San Gabriel Park has served for centuries as a gathering site. Today, park lovers and pets enjoy shady picnics under the oak and pecan trees. Crystal-clear springs bubble up at three sites on the park grounds, and often you can watch these little “salt and pepper” springs spew up chilly water. Dogs can enjoy a dip in the river on leash. Upstream, west of Georgetown, the North San Gabriel River has been controlled to create Lake Georgetown, a reservoir popular with dogs (for off-leash swimming), campers, hikers, and bird lovers.
Bark Park. This beautiful dog park, nestled beneath tall pecan trees, features small and large dog sections with plenty of room to run. Info: 151 Holly St. near San Gabriel Park. Free.
Blue Hole. West of the San Gabriel park at Blue Hole, where river waters reflect limestone cliffs, a revitalization has made this beautiful spot again a place to be appreciated by residents and visitors. At Blue Hole, walkers and joggers journey along the wide paths that wind beside waters as green as fresh spring leaves. On quiet mornings anglers try their luck with just the sound of an occasional cardinal singing its friendly song in the distance. Info: Austin Ave. at Second St. Free.
Lake Georgetown. Built on the north fork of the San Gabriel River, this 1,310-acre lake is home to three public parks that offer off-leash fun for Fidos including lake swimming (although not at the improved beach) as well as fishing, boating, camping, and hiking. Public facilities include Jim Hogg Park with overnight camping, electric and water hookups, and boat ramp; Cedar Breaks Park with picnic facilities and campsites with electric hookups; Russell Park for picnicking and camping; and Tejas Park for picnics and hikes along oak-shaded trails.
Good Water Trail Loop. Stretching nearly 26 miles, the Good Water Trail Loop traces the lake and can be accessed at the different parks. Watch for the protected golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo along with white-tailed deer, coyote, skunk, raccoon, ringtail, armadillo, and opossum. Info: FM 2338, 3.5 miles west of town. Fee.
San Gabriel Park. This park, just south of the junction of the North and South San Gabriel Rivers, includes picnic sites and walking trails; below the dam, dogs will appreciate a dip in the shallow water. (Leashes no longer than 6 feet are required.) Info: Off Austin Ave.; (512) 930–3595. Open daily. Free.
A growing number of restaurants in Georgetown are now welcoming dogs on their outdoor patios including:
- Dos Salsas. 1104 S. Main St.
- Fish City Grill. 1019 W. University Ave. Suite 1025
- Hat Creek Burger Co., 201 San Gabriel Village Blvd. — walk down to Blue Hole after lunch!
- Red Poppy Coffee, 402 W 8th St. — at the Georgetown Public Library
- Wildfire. 812 S. Austin Ave.
- Also see dog-friendly chain restaurants