9 Fun Outdoor Activities in Austin, TX, for Nature Lovers

Downtown Austin, located in Central Texas, may have plenty of fun restaurants, food trucks, bars, and live music venues to explore. However, on a warm, sunny day — there is nothing better to do than enjoy some of the best outdoor activities in Austin, Texas!

Enjoy These Outdoor Activities in Austin

Whether you love water activities, like kayaking or swimming, or would rather hike, bike, or walk on a nature trail, you’re sure to find something fun to do from this list of outdoor activities in Austin, TX, that will encourage you to explore the great outdoors during your vacation.

1. Paddle at Lady Bird Lake

When the sun is shining, it’s hard to keep locals and visitors away from Lady Bird Lake (also known as “Town Lake”). On a spring, summer, or warm autumn day, you’ll see colorful kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards floating in Lady Bird Lake and down the Colorado River.

If you don’t have a kayak or paddleboard with you — no problem. You can rent one from Zilker Park Boat Rentals, Live Love Paddle, Rowing Dock, Congress Kayaks, and nearby companies.

2. Swim at Barton Springs Pool

Barton Springs Municipal Pool is one of the most popular swimming holes in Austin. The three-acre pool is fed from underground springs, so the temperatures always remain between a balmy 68°F and 70°F — perfect for swimming all year long. 

Out of all the swimming holes in Austin, including Sculpture Falls and Deep Eddy, this pool is arguably the most popular spot to take a refreshing dip in the summer. If you want to snag a spot, arrive earlier in the day — the pool gets pretty busy, and the city of Austin now limits the capacity.

3. Hike Mount Bonnell

If you’re searching for one of the most accessible (and beautiful) hiking trails in Austin city limits, look no further than Mount Bonnell.

This short and sweet hike is only about 100 steps, but when you reach the top, you’ll be greeted by stunning views of the river, million-dollar homes, and gorgeous greenery. Plus, since the hiking trail is so short, it’s the perfect thing to do with kids in Austin.

4. Picnic at Zilker Park

Want to spend a low-key day outdoors? If so, you’ll love packing a picnic to enjoy at Zilker Metropolitan Park — one of the best outdoor activities in Austin!

While picnicking on the beautifully-manicured grass is a fabulous way to spend an afternoon, there are enough other activities in Zilker Park to keep you busy all day. Across the 351 acres, you will find a disc-golf course, volleyball courts, a botanical garden, a swimming hole, a small creek, the Charles Umlauf Sculpture Garden, and more.

5. Go Boating on Lake Travis or Lake Austin

Lake Travis and Lake Austin are two of the largest lakes in Austin. If you’re visiting, chances are, you don’t have a boat handy, so you can get one from the numerous rental companies nearby, like Luxury Boat Rentals Lake Travis or VIP Marina Lake Travis.

Whether you want to soak up the sun on a pontoon or jet around the lake on a zippy speedboat — both are great options for kicking back and relaxing with friends or family.

6. Watch the Mexican Free-Tailed Bats

While you’re in Austin, Texas, you certainly can’t miss the chance to watch the country’s largest urban bat population fly from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge and across the Downtown Skyline.

You may not notice them during the day, but when the sun goes down at night, thousands of bats emerge from under the bridge and fly over the lake, searching for insects. It’s a sight to behold, so grab your spot on Congress Avenue Bridge at sunset to witness this remarkable phenomenon.

7. Admire Artwork at a Sculpture Park

Are you an art aficionado? If so, you have to visit the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at the Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria. This contemporary art destination just outside Downtown Austin displays permanent outdoor art installations in a stunning natural setting.

This Sculpture Park is surrounded by diverse ecology, including woodlands, meadows, gardens, and a stunning waterfront, so while it’s technically an art museum, because of the natural beauty surrounding the displays — it deserves a spot on this list of outdoor adventures!

8. Bike on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail

There are plenty of nature trails outside the city, in locations like McKinney Falls State Park, but you don’t have to venture far for some of the best hiking or biking in Austin, TX.

The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail is a ten-mile hiking, biking, walking, and sightseeing trail in South Austin that offers gorgeous views of the city skyline. Highlights on this iconic pathway include the Auditorium Shores Park, Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue, and the Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake.

9. Wine Tasting in the Texas Hill Country

Whether you’re spending time in Austin or San Antonio, you have to take a day trip to the gorgeous Texas countryside, filled with 50+ fantastic local wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms. You can start your day in Austin and then venture out to the wineries in Fredericksburg, Lampasas, and New Braunfels.

If you don’t want to worry about driving, consider booking a wine-tasting tour that departs from Austin, like Texas Tipsy Tours or Hill Country Wine Tours.

Relax in a Comfortable Vacation Rental After Enjoying These Outdoor Activities in Austin with Bucket List Stays

Whether your idea of a day spent outside involves wine tasting and picnicking or hiking and biking — we’re sure you’ll find something from this list that you’ll love to do while soaking up the sunshine in Austin.

If you’re planning to visit Austin, TX, soon and are still looking for somewhere to stay, we’d love to host you at one of our comfortable, clean vacation rentals in Austin. Check out our newest vacation rental in Austin, the Artist of Austin.

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