Safe Swimming Spots for your Pets
Summer time in Texas means margaritas, burgers on the patio, and HOT weather.
I don't know about your pups, but my retriever wants to swim all day, every day because it's too hot for other physical activities. We heard his (and the other active pups) outcry and put together a list of safe, pet-friendly swimming holes in the Austin and surrounding areas.
Important Notes: Please follow local and city guidelines regarding safety and closures.
The City of Austin confirmed a harmful algal bloom on Lady Bird Lake beginning in July 2019 and has since found low levels of this algae present as of May 2021.
This was caused by a rise in water temperature from the heat. As of June 15, 2021 – Risk is high. We recommend you do not allow dogs to ingest algae or swim in Lady Bird Lake or any of the Highland Lakes - this includes Mansfield Dam, Festival Beach, Red Bud Isle, and Auditorium Shores.
Monitoring data is available on the dashboards at http://austintexas.gov/page/algae
Hours: Sunrise to 8 PM, daily
Amenities: Five Mile Dam is 42 acres of green space and river bed. It's a San Marcos destination for river swimming, boating, walking trails, and even soccer. The large flat rocks and small waterfalls along the river bed make it easy for dogs to run and jump safety in water while playing fetch. No lifeguards are on duty, so swim at your own risk.
Location: walking distance East of 2201 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78704
Hours: Sunrise to 10 PM, daily
Amenities: Barking Springs (aka the spillover from Barton Springs Pool) is a popular spot in Downtown Austin for humans and pets to escape the heat by cooling off in the cold water from Barton Springs Pool. The spillover is located just east of the pool. Due to the constant flow of cold water from Barton Springs Pool, you may allow your dog to swim in the area at your own risk.
Stay at the front of the spill of area!
Hours: Open all day
Amenities: Rio Vista Park is a great place to put your kayak in and paddle upstream or just swim in the deep watering hole. Looking for your next fetch spot? You got it! The flat rocks along the river bed make it easy for dogs to run and jump safety into the water. No lifeguards are on duty, so swim at your own risk.
Pro Tip: Weekends get packed - arrived before noon to get the best spot.
Hours: Monday-Friday: 6:30 AM - 10 AM & 3 PM- 7:30 PM; Saturday-Sunday: 9 AM - 6 PM
Amenities: Jumping Jack Dog Ranch has a large fenced-in yard with a dog-themed pool. The circular pool features a beach-front entry for dogs that like to romp and splash through the shallow end, as well as a deeper end for the pups who enjoy swimming and jumping in! It also has a fire hydrant water fountain in the middle of a bone-shaped island! How cute is that?!
Bonus: Rent the private dog park complete with a swimming pool for your pups for $50/hr. You can bring a few of your dog's friends, or just have your pup, it's totally up to you. There is no lifeguard on duty, so you are responsible for your dog's safety. Note that kiddos under 12 aren't allowed at the pool, but you can bring food or soft drinks (just no glass).
Veterans Memorial Park, 2525 West New Hope Drive, Cedar Park, Texas 78613
Hours: Sunrise to 10 PM. Note that the Bark Park is closed every Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for cleaning and maintenance.
Amenities: The Cedar Bark Park is a 5-acre fenced in dog park located in Veterans Memorial Park at 2525 W. New Hope Drive, Cedar Park, TX 78613. Some of the amenities include a natural dog pond, pet waste stations, benches, drinking fountains, dog showers, and natural features. This park is a Cedar Park favorite!
3006 FM621, San Marcos, TX 78666
Hours: Office is open Monday - Friday 7:00-11:30 a.m. and 1-5 p.m.; Saturdays from 7:00-11:00 a.m. Their pool is open 7 days per week by appointment.
Amenities: K9 Water World was developed for dogs and their human companions. They offer a 48' x 21' swimming pool for exercise, therapy, and dock diving. You can even swim with your dog(s) if you like (and many people do).
1808 Carter Road, Dale, Texas 78616
Hours: Office is open 9:00 am to 8:00 pm daily. Their pool is open 7 days per week by appointment.
Amenities: Looking for low impact exercise for young pups or a therapeutic activity for senior dogs? Tailwind Dock Diving offers a large swimming pool for exercise, therapy, and dock diving! You can book the dock for private parties or lessons. Call ahead to make a reservation for your pup!
The following locations were considered but, because of their proximity to other locations that tested positive with low levels of toxic algae, we can no longer recommend they are safe for pets at this time: Inks Lake Park, Commons Ford Ranch, Emma Long Park, Mansfield Dam Park, Jessica Hollis Park.
Before heading out for a swim:
- Bring ample amounts of drinkable water for you and your pet(s)
- Avoid warm, stagnant water in swimming areas
- Rinse off after swimming
Unsure about your pet's safety at the mentioned swimming spots? A kiddie pool is another great option for your dogs to cool down while playing outside.
Know of any swimming holes that are safe and pet-friendly? Drop us a note at email@example.com.
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