Lakes & Water, Austin
Lake Travis is Worth the drive over, but you'll need to rent a car if you're staying in the downtown Austin area. Great live misic and over 40 decks overlook the lake. The houses nearby almost look like castles hanging off the hillside. The weather was a bit off on the day we went, but this place appears to pump when it's hot out.
During off-peak times, you can rent two for one canoes to sail around the Barton Springs swimming area!
Simply go to the website, download the online coupon, and set sail! A great thing to do for an hour or two on a warm day!
**Edit - Just received word from the fine people at Zilker Boats... their website is changed. Please see the listing below with the new link. Don't fear though, I checked and they still have 2-for-1!
The hill country, I think, is one of the nicest places in Texas. Lucky for me I live in it! Here you can find beautiful mansions, golf courses, lake restaurants, many yachts on the lake, and lots more. It's a gorgeous lake (actually the Colorado river dammed up) for fun in the summer.
For a real nature experience...you gotta check out Milton Reimer's Ranch, now a Travis County Park. This is an off the beaten path tip and you have to be willing to drive about 1 hour from Austin and down a dirt road for this one...but at the end of the road, you will end up being on a long stretch of beautiful Pedernales river. This is a great spot for kayaking, fishing, hiking and climbing. Climbers and fishermen *love* this spot. The movie "Alamo" was filmed near here. A great spot for a daytrip. Pay $8.00 per car and enjoy your day!
From Town Lake, take Mopac south and turn right onto southwest Parkway. At dead end, turn right onto highway 71. Turn left onto Ranch road 3238 (Hamilton's Pool road). Follow the road several miles, then one mile after 2nd crossing, turn right at Reimer's Ranch sign. On dirt road, stay left to a gate. Pay small admission fee at house. You need to leave before the Reimers close the gate at sun down.
If you are headed to Austin, you need to now that Austin lies on the bank of the Lower Colorado River, which also contains a chain of 7 lakes. There are three lakes of significant importance, Travis, Austin, and Town Lake. In this picture you will see Town Lake, which runs along downtown. If you venture off to Zilker Park, and check out the hike and bike trail, you will be able to enjoy this beautiful view!
If you have the time and it's NOT raining (which usually happens when it comes to me and water), go to Zilker park and rent a canoe. Especially during the hot summers here, it's a great and unique date option.
The prices aren't bad: There's two places that I know of - one near the Congress bridge which costs $20 an hour OR one near Barton Springs for $10 an hour.
But there's tons of other places out there!
Just about 10 miles south of Austin you'll find the beautiful crystal clear river in San Marcos "Rio Vista Falls" Because it is spring fed it has a constant year round water temperature of about 76 degrees. Recently redeveloped by a kayaker enthusiast. There are now three falls and a nice grassy area for sunbathing. You can also rent tubes for a nice relaxing float down the river.
This lake has indeed been created by the Mansfield Dam on the Colorado River. This is now a major tourist attraction for boating, skiing, fishing, scuba diving, swimming, windsurfing,… No wonder it is so popular, the summer here are very long and very hot!
If you are willing to drive a ways out of town, you can visit Hamilton's Pool--off 71 West of Austin on Hamilton's Pool Road. It is a natural cave whose top fell in at some point and it is now a waterfall and swimming hole.
Bats under the Congress Bridge
Austin's Town Lake, Austin, Texas
Home of the famous and largest bat colony bridge located in the heart of Austin Texas. The Congress Avenue Bridge spans Town Lake in downtown Austin and is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. The colony is estimated at 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats. Every night beginning in mid-March to roughly November, the bats emerge from under the bridge at dusk to blanket the sky as they head out to forage for food. This is one of Austin's as well as Texas' most spectacular tourist attractions. The best time to view them are during the hot dry August nights when columns of bats emerge. When I visited 4/27/07 is was more like a swarm of mosquitos (bats) around a bloody arm (the bridge). 4 stars out of 5.
Hamilton Pools! This is the place to enjoy a nice waterfall out in seclusion. It's a great day getaway.
Tip: Call in advance to make sure the area is not closed due to heavy rains from the days before or any other reasons.
(Located on Hamilton Pool Road, this 232-acre preserve is good for hiking, picnicking, and of course swimming.)
There are many great places in the Barton Creek Greenbelt to hang out, people watch, or go for a swim on the hot sunny days in central Texas. If you go down near Mopac and 360 you can find an entrance with a path down to the water. It's about a 10 minute hike in whatever direction you go.
The Schlitterbahn (German for 'slippery road') is a waterpark in the town of New Braunfels, about a 45 minute drive south of Austin. There are plenty of hot summer days in Austin from May through September, and Schlitterbahn is a great place to cool off.
In 2003, the park was ranked the best waterpark in America by the Travel Channel. Schlitterbahn features all sorts of wave pools, slides, and tubing courses. One thing that makes it very unique is that the park is integrated with the cold, spring-fed Comal River that runs directly next to the park.
Don't forget to get some good German food while in New Braunfels. The whole town was settled by German immigrants in the 19th century.
There are so many area lakes, rivers and creeks. Get outside and enjoy! The picture in this photo is of Reimer's Ranch at sunset on the Pedernales River.
The houses along the lake were amazing. Just being able to look down into a peep of them was really amazing.