Gas up the Honda and gun it for the great American South, where good old-fashioned hospitality—for both people and their pets—rules.
By Jaime A. Hubbell, Lauren Lewis, and Rebekah Wolf
Nestled deep in the heart of Texas and framed by rolling hills and a rainbow of wildflowers, Austin attracts all walks of life—be it two- or four-legged. Take in the scenery of the area nature preserves, soak up some live music at the many pet-friendly watering holes, or simply do nothing—it’s that kind of town. Austin’s “come as you are” attitude includes both people and pets.
The “Live Music Capital of the World” knows how to take care of both visitors and their animal companions. Stay at the hip Hotel San Jose, which loans bicycles and cameras to guests. The Doubletree Guest Suites, a stone’s throw north of Town Lake, is conveniently located near the University of Texas and the state capitol.
Hotel San Jose
1316 South Congress
Pet Fee: $10/night
Doubletree Guest Suites
303 West 15th St.
The balmy hill-country climate allows for entertaining evenings on many restaurant patios. Sink your teeth into a grilled fish taco at Freddie’s Place while relaxing with Fido in the shade of native live oaks. After a long day at the park, pick up a burger and fries—and a dog-friendly treat—at P. Terry’s Burger Stand.
1703 S. 1st St.
P. Terry’s Burger Stand
404 South Lamar
Soak up summer in any of the capital city’s dog-friendly springs, creeks, and lakes. For off-leash heaven, pounce on Red Bud Isle Park at Town Lake. After tossing the Frisbee with Fido in popular Zilker Park, mosey over to pet-friendly Barton Springs Pool. Spotted with pecan trees and sun worshippers, the 68-degree spring-fed pool has been a popular destination for decades.
Red Bud Isle Park
3401 Red Bud Trail
Zilker Park/Barton Springs Pool
2101 Barton Springs Rd.
Supporting local businesses is a big deal in funky Austin. Bark ’N Purr Pet Center rivals its big- box competitors by offering high-quality food, grooming, and funky accessories for felines and canines alike. After pampering your pet, spoil yourself rotten with a lux spa treatment at milk + honey in Austin’s chic Warehouse District.
Bark ’N Purr Pet Center
4604 Burnet Rd.
milk + honey
204 Colorado St.
Recent years have proved the Crescent City’s enduring resilience—and charm. While rebuilding efforts are still taking place, the soul of the city remains intact, and heavily visited areas, including the Garden District and the French Quarter, are as welcoming as ever. The best way to help the city post-Katrina is to experience the culture, food, art, music, architecture, southern hospitality, and rich history for yourself and your pooch. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few good places to start.
Bed down for the night at the charming and canine-friendly Creole Gardens Bed and Breakfast. The inn is gated, so dogs are free to roam the premises, and a dog park is nearby. The adjoined three mansions are rich in history and delight with their authentic New Orleans vibe. Walking distance from the French Quarter is Loews Hotel New Orleans. All animals are welcome here, with a welcome note from the hotel manager and luxurious amenities, including a pet mat, pet bowl, toys, and treats. The spacious rooms offer an amazing view of the Mississippi River and an ideal location for exploring the Big Easy.
Creole Gardens Bed & Breakfast
1412 Prytania St.
Pet Fee: none
Loews New Orleans Hotel
300 Poydras St.
Pet Fee: $25
Toss back a New Orleans’ hurricane at The Bulldog. The courtyard has both a doggie door and doggie bar for Fido’s convenience. Choose from a selection of pub grub, from burgers to southern classics. Afterwards, caffeinate yourself for those late New Orleans nights at Envie Espresso Bar and Café. Your pup is welcome inside, where yummy treats and complimentary WiFi await.
3236 Magazine St.
Envie Espresso Bar and Café
1241 Rue Decatur
Chances are that you’ve come to the Crescent City to partake of its famed nightlife. Start by exploring America’s most haunted city on a historical tour. The Haunted History Tour leaves from Reverend Zombie’s Voodoo Shop nightly at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Quiet, well-behaved dogs are welcome on the two-hour tour. Afterwards, check out Bridge Lounge. This swanky bar specializes in minty mojitos for humans and biscuits and water for canines.
Haunted History Tour
723 St. Peters St.
1201 Magazine St.
Canine Culture is an excellent place to shop for both you and your companion. The colorful store features a DIY bathing station. If you prefer to don Fido in the finest fashions, check out Chi-wa-wa Ga-ga. This tiny shop carries a wide array of clothing, costumes, and accessories for the pampered pooch in your life.
8110 Hampson St.
37 French Market Pl.
Although it’s the fourth largest city in the U.S., there’s still enough laid-back Texas attitude in Houston to make every visitor feel welcome. Home to NASA, the Astros, and the ever-popular Houston Livestock Show—touted as the largest rodeo in the world—the Bayou City has something for everyone, even Fido!
Adjacent to the Houston Galleria, the number-one tourist attraction in Houston, Hotel Derek is a great place to kick off your boots and relax. Not only is this hotel super chic; it’s also super pet friendly. In fact, canine guests receive a goodie bag stocked with treats, pet pads, and a bandana upon arrival.
2525 West Loop South
Pet Fee: $50
Dogs are technically not allowed inside Houston restaurants, but you can find many of the city’s outdoor patio eateries amenable to letting your pooch take a seat alongside you—so long as no one complains. In the mood for a juicy burger? Check out Becks Prime and nosh al fresco with Fido in tow. If you’ve got a Tex-Mex hankering, head over to Mission Burritos and chow down on one of its famous burritos under big, shady trees.
2902 Kirby Dr.
2245 W. Alabama St.
Named after the pup who shared the White House with George and Barbara Bush, the Millie Bush Dog Park features plenty of president-worthy amenities. In fact, the Houston Press named it the best dog park in the city, and Dog Fancy rated it number one in the country. The 13-acre off-leash area features large and small dog areas, doggie swimming ponds, water fountains, walking paths, showers, and even fake fire hydrants.
Millie Bush Dog Park
16756 Westheimer Pkwy. in George Bush Park
The Dog Bowl is a hip boutique that boasts a wide assortment of pet products, such as treats for the health conscious, organic grooming supplies, luxurious beds and carriers, and even jewelry made with Swarovski crystals. The business caters to online shoppers and even makes home deliveries, but stop in its storefront location on Sunset Boulevard to peruse the selection in person.
The Dog Bowl
2431 Sunset Blvd.