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Get active: Austin
July 7, 2021

Best outdoor activities in Austin

Working out in Austin usually involves being near a large, cool body of water. That’s because summer temps can easily exceed over 100 degrees! Luckily, central Texas has a beautiful network of lakes, rivers, and streams that provide plenty of opportunities for swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, and taking a dip after a workout. Here are our top picks on where to get active in Austin. 

Lady Bird Lake

In close proximity to Zilker Park and Barton Springs, Lady Bird Lake is a serene reservoir for the city of Austin. The only boating allowed on Lady Bird Lake are kayaks, paddle boards, and canoes, making for a quiet, peaceful place by the water. The fishing isn’t bad either, though you’ll have to compete with herons, egrets, and other waterfowl that make their home around Lady Bird Lake. There are ample amounts of walking, running, and biking trails surrounding the reservoir, with great views of the Austin skyline no matter where you’re at.

Barton Creek Greenbelt

If you’re looking for a more remote feel, check out the Barton Creek Greenbelt. The 7.25 mile stretch of land winds along Barton Creek, with absolutely stunning views of the creek itself along with the surrounding hills. The Greenbelt is a great spot to cool off from the Austin heat, though watering holes can become prime real estate and are incredibly popular with Austinites. If the weather’s not quite hot enough to take a dip, there are plenty of great little waterfalls and calming spots to kick back and read a book.

Zilker Park 

Located at the intersection of Barton Creek and the Colorado River, Zilker Park is Austin’s #1 spot to recreate. There’s tons to do: volleyball, disc golf, biking paths, hiking trails,  and of course, the famous Barton Springs Municipal Pool. If there’s a line, it’s worth the wait to cold down in the refreshingly chilly natural fed springs. The water is usually crystal clear and deep enough to jump into at points. There’s great people watching, too.

Brushy Creek Regional Trail

Brushy Creek Regional Trail is a nicely paved, 7.75-mile trail that runs along a rushing creek and features beautiful wildflowers. This is a great option for a calm, easy, accessible hike. The atmosphere is serene, but not secluded and features a small lake that feeds Brushy Creek all the way to the trail’s end at the interestingly named Hairy Man road.

Shoal Creek Trail

Though it’s located in the thick of downtown Austin, the Shoal Creek Trail has a more secluded vibe than you’d think. Shaded by a canopy of old oak trees, Shoal Creek Trail traces along the creek through a rocky canyon and past Pease Park and Duncan Park. Shoal Creek is open to hiking, biking, and dogs on leash. 

Austin is a one-of-a-kind spot. It’s geographic location above a network of naturally fed springs and creeks give it a laid back vibe with all the ‘fixins' of a big city. The hot summers and mild winters provide year-round opportunities for exercise and exploration both in and outside the city limits. Once you go, you can’t stop talking about it, and for good reason. If you’re ready to make the trip, make sure you have a set of wheels.