A Laughing Horse Lodge, Port Aransas, Texas


On our trip to the Texas coast this week, we stayed in a dog-friendly property in Port Aransas, Texas: A Laughing Horse Lodge. Just two blocks from the beach, this property features small cottages offered either as a duplex or as a stand-alone cottage.

We opted for a two-bedroom cottage, Horse Sense (here’s the property’s photo gallery of our cottage). The cottage was a great size for us and the girls:


The cottage included all the essentials with a full kitchen:


…an adjacent living room/dining room, bath, bedroom with a king-sized bed, and a second bedroom (which Irie and Tiki seemed to think was a good hangout)…


With its bright colors and beachy decor, the cottage, like the whole property, had a fun, kitchy vibe…


A no-frills property, the rooms don’t include maid service and guests must take out their own trash and clean up and wash the dishes before leaving as well. Although not for those looking for pampering extras, the dog-friendly atmosphere of the property was a huge plus to us (and Irie and Tiki.)

The dog-friendly extras included a complimentary ID tag for each dog…


…an adjacent large field (and complimentary poop bags)…


…and even a self-service dog wash (great after a sandy trip to the beach!)


Our room also included food and water bowls, a list of dog-friendly restaurants in town, and a list of area veterinarians. We especially liked their dog policy — they accept all sizes and breeds of dogs (and even welcome more than two per room!) The pet fee is very reasonable: $25 for one dog, $35 for two or three, and $50 for more than three. The fee is per stay.

Room rates vary by season; we fell into “Off Season” rates of $135 per night for a weekday stay. The same cottage would have been priced at $110 during the winter months. Summer, of course, is the most expensive season on the Texas coast; rates for the same cottage would be $199 per day during this time of peak demand.

For more information:

Disclosure: We booked and paid for our room ourselves; all opinions are entirely our own and those of Tiki and Irie!


Round Rock Express Hosts Bark in the Park Night

20450932Baseball buffs and their barking buddies are invited to cheer on a team with a Texas-size love for our tail-wagging chums as the Round Rock Express hosts the second annual Bark in the Park Night on April 25th.

Prior to the first pitch, doggedly devoted sports fans and their pups can promenade in a parade on the warning track, and Spots who show their team spirit by wearing baseball-themed duds can participate in a canine costume contest. The top three dogs with the best baseball costumes will receive a special gift from Premier Animal Hospital.

Pet parents and their pooches who want to watch the Round Rock Express take on the Albuquerque Isotopes at 7:05 p.m. will pack the left and right field berms at Dell Diamond when the gates open at 5:30 p.m.

A happening with heart, a portion of the ticket sales from Bark in the Park Night– which is presented by Premier Animal Hospital– will benefit Blue Dog Rescue, an Austin-based volunteer non-profit organization which saves shelter dogs.

All participants must use the right field gate for entrance and advanced registration is required (walk-ups will not be accepted on event day). All orders must be completed in advance and registered by Monday, April 22.

Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times (six-foot maximum length) and children with dogs must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older at all times. All dogs must have current rabies vaccination and owners must promptly bag and dispose of any waste created by their dog.

Tickets: $10 (includes entry for both person and pet)

When: April 25, 2013, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Dell Diamond at 3400 East Palm Valley in Round Rock, Texas

Photo Credit: ClipArt

Wordless Wednesday: Black Rock Park, Buchanan Dam, Texas


Our latest day trip involved a visit to the Highland Lakes, the chain of lakes that snakes through the Texas Hill Country to Austin. The first lake in the stair-step chain is Lake Buchanan, the largest lake in the chain (and in the entire area).

We’d just left Inks Lake State Park earlier in the day where Irie and Tiki loved swimming and hiking along the lakeshore. At the park, we’d looked at the cabins…but they can’t be rented by travelers with pets. That leaves two options: tent camping and RV/trailer camping. We’d love to camp in an RV or trailer…but our budget dictates a cabin rental…so we kept looking…

At Lake Buchanan, though, we found these affordable cabin rentals that welcome pets! Five of the lakeview cabins at the Lower Colorado River Authority’s (LCRA) Black Rock Park welcome dog travelers! Cabins rent for $45 a night. Lake Buchanan, we’ll be back!!

Postcard: Casa Rio, San Antonio, Texas


One of our favorite restaurants on the San Antonio River Walk has long been Casa Rio. Since 1946, this restaurant has been serving Tex-Mex right on the banks of the river.

The choicest tables at Casa Rio are at riverside, and, if you’re traveling with your dog, you and fido are welcome to dine at one of the outdoor tables; on crowded weekends, you may have to wait awhile for one of these seats. It’s worth the wait. With tables right on the edge of the river (many of the River Walk restaurants are located about 10 feet back from the water’s edge), you’ll have an unbeatable view of the action up and down the river.

This past weekend, we dined at Casa Rio with Rachel and Preston of PrestonSpeaks.com. Service was excellent and the waitstaff happily brought Preston out a Styrofoam bowl and water as he sat with us.

This restaurant dates back to 1946, when it was built by Alfred F. Beyer on land first granted title in 1777 by the King of Spain. A hacienda was built here during the city’s Spanish colonial period, and today it remains the core of the restaurant; cedar doors, cedar window lintels, a fireplace, and thick limestone walls are evidence of that early dwelling.

This restaurant was the first business in San Antonio to take advantage of its setting on the River Walk. The owner used canoes, gondolas, and paddleboats, which eventually evolved into tours and dinner boats, San Antonio’s first river cruises.

Even the menu is historic. The “regular plate”—a combo that includes a cheese enchilada, tamale, chili con carne, rice, and beans—was introduced in San Antonio in the 1800s and has been appearing on Casa Rio’s menu since 1946. Today it’s joined by the “deluxe dinner,” which adds a crispy beef taco and guacamole to the mix.

Casa Rio is open for lunch and dinner daily.

San Antonio Adding Kimpton Hotel


We’re hard at work researching our upcoming Texas with Dogs guidebook and just ran across the news that Kimpton Hotels is adding its third hotel in Texas…this time in San Antonio! The pet-friendly chain is opening a hotel next year in San Antonio’s historic Pearl Brewery development.

The planned 146-room boutique hotel will be located on the site of the original Pearl Brewery in downtown San Antonio. The brewery was established in 1881 and actively brewed hops for 118 years; today the mixed used development bustles with restaurants, shops, a campus for the Culinary Institute of America, and the River Walk extension.

The other two Kimpton hotels in Texas are the Hotel Lumen and the Hotel Palomar in Dallas.

We just love Kimpton’s pet policy:

We warmly welcome any pet, regardless of size, weight, or breed for no additional fees or deposits.

Our Next Book: Texas with Dogs!


We’re super excited to announce our next travel book: DogTipper’s Texas with Dogs (Open Road Publishing, distributed by Simon & Schuster). The book will cover dog-friendly locations across the Lone Star State, from hotels and campgrounds to parks, attractions, beaches, dog festivals, and more.

Our new book will be released in bookstores across the country in mid-November; we’ll be busy, busy researching and writing through mid-July.

Through the years, we’ve written many books on Texas including our best-selling Day Trips from Austin and Day Trips from San Antonio as well as Insider’s Guide to San Antonio, San Antonio in Your Pocket, CitySmart Austin, the upcoming Day Trips from Houston, Texas Barbecue, Texas Getaways for Two, and The Alamo City Guide. We’ve also written Texas sections for many larger regional guidebooks by Fodor’s and Michelin. But we’re especially excited about this one since it will combine two of our favorite topics: dogs and travel!

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Fredericksburg, Texas


Where to Go: Enchanted Rock State Natural Area near Fredericksburg, Texas (16710 Ranch Rd. 965
Fredericksburg, TX 78624)

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Why I Love to Visit This Destination With My Dog: Enchanted Rock has been one of our longtime favorite destinations in Texas. It’s very dog-friendly and offers a full day of fun whether or not you and your four-legged buddy scale Enchanted Rock or not.

Located 18 miles north of Fredericksburg on RR 965, this park features the largest stone formation in the west, a 640-acre granite outcropping second nationally to Georgia’s Stone Mountain. According to Native American legend, the rock is haunted. Sometimes as the rock cools at night, it makes a creaking sound, which probably accounts for the story.

People and pups of all ages in reasonably good physical condition can enjoy a climb up Enchanted Rock. The walk takes about an hour, and hikers are rewarded with a magnificent view of the Hill Country. In warm weather (from April through October), start your ascent early in the morning before the relentless sun turns the rock into a griddle. Be sure to carry water for your dog whenever you do visit. There are small pools on the rock but dogs are prohibited from drinking from them because they are protected.

On many days, you’ll see experienced climbers scaling the smaller formations adjacent to the main dome, ones that require special climbing equipment.

Picnic facilities and a campground at the base of the rocks round out the offerings. You’ll also find a trail around the base of Enchanted Rock with a small lake on the back side.

Best Time of Year to Visit: anytime but summer when it’s too hot to enjoy a hike up the rock (where there’s very little shade and the rock is hot enough to burn your dog’s paw pads). During the spring and fall months (and especially on weekends), the park can get full and you may not get in; admission is limited.

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