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One hour out from San Antonio, on the banks of the San Marco River, Ottine, TX has an interesting history. Settled by the Otto family in the late 1800s, Ottine was once a bustling small town with a railway station, two mills, a church, a saloon, a blacksmith’s and a post office. But as the railway declined, so did the population, and by the nineties, Ottine was designated a ghost town.
These days, Ottine is known to some as the home of a monster -- a hulking, hairy, man-like creature that allegedly lives and hunts in the swamp outside town. The land around the swamp has been converted into a vast state park -- one with plenty of trails for you and your pooch to explore! It does pay to be on the watch for wildlife, but you and your furry friend should probably be more concerned with snakes than the Sasquatch.
Ottine’s population has recovered somewhat from its ghost town days, but unfortunately, there’s not really enough demand for a vet. Don’t worry, you’ll find clinics to take good care of your buddy in nearby Luling. It should come as no surprise that there’s no designated dog park in town, but you’ll find lots of furrific options for off-leash adventures in the surrounding area!
If you and your pooch are looking to temporarily abandon civilization and enter the wilderness, Palmetto State Park is a great place to do it. In parts of this preserve, it’s easy to believe that you’re entering a world entirely untouched by human- or dog-kind! The park also contains far more than the famous, possibly cryptid-infested swamp -- you’ll find a variety of pawesome wooded, scenic trails ideal for leashed walks, surrounded by a plethora of plants that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Take your own bags and water with you, and remember to bring bug spray, or you and your furry friend will be scratching all the way home!
You’ll need to drive a little up I-10 E to get to a fenced area where your furry friend can run free, but once you and your pooch get to Barky Park in South Seguin, you two might decide the trip was worth it! This huge green space is positively pawfect for playing catch or tug-of-war, and the shade provided by the mature trees around the lot means you can let your pooch leap about to their heart's content without worrying about them overheating in the Texas sun. Bags and water are provided, so all you need to do is bring some toys, your pup and your enthusiasm.
Pups and owners that like their nature a little more maintained (and monster-free) might want to check out Park West in North Seguin. Make no bones about it -- this green space is a lovely little spot for a leashed walk. There’s a long, wooded, shaded trail that meanders along the Walnut Branch of the Guadaloupe River, and as an added bonus, the park has restrooms for humans as well! North Seguin also has some options for doggy dining. Check out the Guadaloupe Grillhouse, a local gem that caters to canine customers outside.
Independence Park in Gonzales is only a fifteen-minute drive from Ottine, so you’d need to be barking mad to give it a miss! You and your pooch can stretch your legs walking by the river’s edge, or just sit back and watch life flow by. Remember to bring your own bags and water, but be careful -- squirrels abound by the waterfront, so you might want to keep an eye on your little tearaway. You won’t find any dog-friendly restaurants in Gonzales, but Independence Park has plenty of picnic benches, and the nearby Matamoros Taco Hut does some mean Tex-Mex for takeout.
Greune in New Braunfels might be a little further out from Ottine, but the New Braunfels Puppy Playland Park makes it a real mutts-visit! The park has separate areas for large and small dogs, so your pooch can play and make friends no matter their size. There’s also a doggy agility course, so fitter furry friends are guaranteed a thorough and entertaining workout! Water is provided, but it’s a good idea to bring your own bags. After you two have worked up an appetite, you can chow down at Naturally. This pawesome spot has a fresh and healthy lunch menu, and welcomes wagging tails at its outdoor tables.
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