Spend some time near the water
Barton Creek Greenbelt
is managed by the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department. The main attraction of Barton Creek Greenbelt is its many picturesque bodies of water. A popular spot for adventure-loving locals, Barton Creek Greenbelt is used for recreational activities of all kinds year-round. When the rainfall is heavy enough, the creek rises to allow swimming, cliff diving, kayaking, and recreational tubing. If you’re looking for a unique way to explore the park, Barton Creek Greenbelt offers caves to explore solo or on a guided tour. The hours of operation are typically 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.
Adults are invited to check out Hippie Hollow Park—the only nude-friendly beach in Texas. The park features a steep and rocky shoreline with access to Lake Travis, and a “clothing is optional” policy. This is a popular spot amongst locals, and it’s important to note that while nudity is acceptable, lewd behavior is not. There are places to swim, but no lifeguards on duty—so exercise caution. No pets are allowed (with the exception of service animals). Swimmers are asked to exercise caution when near or in the water due to recent sightings of Zebra Mussels, an invasive species in Texas. The hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily. If you want the tan without the tan lines, this is the place for you.
Lady Bird Lake is a river-like reservoir nestled on the Colorado River in Austin, with a surface area of about 416 acres. Currently, Lady Bird Lake is primarily used for recreation and flood control. The Austin Rowing Club offers a variety of rowing programs for youth and adult rowers, as well as kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals. EpicSUP and The Rowing Dock (located on the south shore of the lake) also offer kayak, canoe, and SUP rentals.
Take a trip to the park
Austin has no shortage of excellent green spaces to explore. St. Edward’s Park
is an 80-acre park with dog-friendly trails, swimming, loads of lush greenery, small waterfalls, and ponds. St. Edwards also offers some fantastic mountain biking trails to explore.
McKinney Falls State Park
is an excellent option in Austin for both camping and hiking. You can follow winding trails through the Hill County woods and explore the remains of a very old rock shelter, as well as camp, hike, bike, geocache, boulder, and picnic. Swimming and fishing is permitted in Onion Creek—but the waterway can flood after rainfall, so beware of the creek’s conditions before making a trip. There are 81 campsites in total, all with water and electric hookups. You can also rent one of six newly remodeled cabins. Keep in mind that food, alcohol, glass, coolers, thermal bags, speakers or music in general, and Frisbees or any other sports balls are all restricted in the Upper and Lower falls areas of McKinney Falls State Park. Additionally, pets are not allowed in the water. Visitors can also rent the group hall for a get-together, which has a full kitchen, an outdoor grill, and a seating area.
is largely considered Austin’s most-loved park. At 351 acres, this metropolitan park is home to a variety of recreational activities, facilities, and special events for families. There are three picnic sites and one shelter; a Zilker Playscape; a disc golf course; five volleyball courts open for reservation; the Zilker ClubHouse (open only for rentals); the Austin Nature and Science Center; the Barton Springs Pool; the McBeth Recreation Center; the Zilker Botanical Gardens; the Zilker Caretaker Cottage, and the Zilker Hillside Theatre.