Lakes in Austin: Best Places to Enjoy the Water and Local Scenery

exploreWith a warm climate and 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s easy to enjoy the outdoors in Austin. The area’s lakes, formed by portions of the Colorado River, make nature even more appealing, as they offer opportunities for kayaking, boating, SUP and swimming. Keep reading to learn about the largest lakes in Austin and what to expect.

Lakes in Austin Provide Adventure, Water Recreation

lakes in austin downtown

Lady Bird Lake in Downtown

Located in the downtown area, Lady Bird Lake provides an escape for those in the city. While this lake does not allow motorized vehicles, it does welcome other activities. Visitors may canoe, kayak, SUP, and take water yoga classes. Equipment rentals are available from several companies. For more options, Austin’s hike and bike trails run along the lake on both sides.

The lake measures 11 miles and has eight access points. Along the waterfront, visitors will find shaded areas, a dog park, and Festival Beach, home to events.

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Lake Austin

Perfect for boaters, Lake Austin is a reservoir off the Colorado River and has boat rental options. This is the place for action-packed watersports such as water skiing, tubing and cruising. Most of the beaches are privately owned, so fishing from the shore is prohibited.

Lake Austin features 1,150 acres of land. Multiple parks offer lake access, including Fritz Hughes Park, Loop 360 Bridge and Emma Long Park. When it’s time for a break, boaters visit local restaurants with docks. In addition, there are picnic areas and grills located throughout the area.

lakes in austin travis

Lake Travis

Those interested in visiting lakes in Austin can’t miss Lake Travis. This is the largest lake in Austin and serves as a reservoir. Due to its location and size, Lake Travis is a popular place for locals and travelers. All water recreational activities are welcome, including boating, fishing, waterskiing, canoeing, kayaking and even scuba diving.

Lake Travis measures nearly 64 miles long and has 271 miles of shoreline. Visitors may access the lake from parks. For example, Windy Point, Narrows Recreation Area, Bob Wentz, and Pace Bend parks all offer access and amenities. There are also restaurants with docks perfect for dining with friends and family.

To have the ultimate lake experience, guests may also book Lake Travis vacation rentals that overlook the lake and have private access to the water. Many rentals feature lakefront views, private pools, outdoor dining areas and spacious decks.

Other Lakes Near Austin

Want to explore other areas? Lake Lyndon B Johnson (LBJ) provides a perfect place for swimming and fishing. In addition, Lake Marble Falls has scenic waterfront, tennis courts and grills. Both lakes are only an hour’s drive from Austin.

Have a small group? Learn more about Austin’s sightseeing tours.