Labor Day weekend snuck up on us without much warning. Normally I like to take full advantage with a trip somewhere offering a change of scenery. So with little research and no plan, I selfishly suggested that we head to Waco, Texas so I could cross a visit with Chip and Joanna Gaines off my bucket list. Tex joined us for the adventure so here’s my dog-friendly guide to a weekend in Waco, Texas.
Residence Inn Waco — We originally looked at Airbnb and found a cute apartment near Baylor’s campus that welcomed “furry friends” and was listed as pet-friendly. However, after inquiring about booking we learned that the owner discriminated against dogs and by “furry friends” she meant cats only. Rude. We ended up staying at the Residence Inn Waco which actually worked out better because it was within walking distance (five blocks) to Magnolia Market, two blocks from the Farmer’s Market and three blocks from Chow Town Food Trucks. Check out a map of the area.
Shorty’s Pizza Shack — Upon arriving to Waco, our only criteria for lunch was 1. must be dog-friendly and 2. must have TVs showing the college football games. We settled on Shorty’s Pizza Shack, a pizza joint on the edge of Baylor’s campus with a covered patio. The food was mediocre, the beer was cheap and the crowd was hilarious. Just like college. Here’s a full list of dog-friendly restaurants in Waco.
Chow Town Food Trucks — That evening, the Florida Gators (Clayton’s alma mater) kicked off at 6:30 pm. So we got In-N-Out for dinner and relaxed in the hotel room with five screens (two TVs, two iPads and one laptop) streaming games and drank some local Texan brews (Shiner Bock for Clayton, Lone Star for me). I’m not complaining because I LOVE In-N-Out but had we traveled to Waco during a time of year that doesn’t require scheduling our day around a football games, we would’ve moseyed over to the Chow Town Food Trucks.
Common Grounds — Sunday morning we ventured over to Common Grounds, a quirky coffee shop on Baylor’s campus. It came highly recommended from multiple people but as it turns out, they don’t open until noon on Sunday. As the gentleman arriving at the same time as us stated, “Noon? I don’t need coffee at noon, I need it in the morning.” I couldn’t agree more. Alas, while I was a college student, noon seemed like a great time for coffee.
ACTIVITIES and ATTRACTIONS
Magnolia Market — Alright, I’ll say it – Magnolia Market was a bit underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I love the show Fixer Upper. I don’t love coffee mugs that cost $85 for a set of four or reusable grocery totes that cost upwards of $65. The whole complex is made up of a home store, seed store, bakery and courtyard. The courtyard is framed by a line of food trucks, features multiple areas for seating and offers cornhole and other yard games. I ended up going twice because our hotel was so close – once around 2:00 pm and again at 5:30 pm (they close at 6:00 pm). Needless to say, my evening visit was much more enjoyable with less people (especially kids) and cooler temps.
Baylor University — touring the campus during a holiday weekend was perfect. It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. It was also two days after their season opener so we could still see remnants from the tailgate scene – which seemed amazing btw. We drove through an area with electricity and cable hook ups for every vehicle. Over half of the stadium is surrounded by water and we’ve heard stories of some incredible sail-gate experiences. Their mascot is a bear and we lucked out with two awake and active bears available for viewing at the habitat – again, all to our selves.
BSR Cable Park — like I said, we had done little research for our weekend trip to Waco. Early Sunday morning, before we had even gotten out of bed, I was perusing Instagram to see what other people tagged with #waco and stumbled upon the Royal Flush Slide. I had seen pictures and videos from the giant water slide before but hadn’t realized it was in the area. The park opened at noon so we had plenty of time to grab breakfast, walk the campus and stop at Walmart for some beach towels and sunscreen.
The park is made up of a lazy river, the Royal Flush slide, and a wakeboarding cable park with a small beach area. There is also a bar and grill with a dog-friendly patio and cabins available for rent. The entire park is dog-friendly as long as they are on the leash so Clayton and I tag-teamed throughout the day. Check out BSR’s video and my personal GoPro footage from the park below.
Check out my short video from the park here. I’m in the middle slide in the shot of the Royal Flush (super graceful, I know) and the solo wakeboarding shot is of Clayton testing out the cable park.