From being called as the City of Violet Crown to Silicon Hills, Austin is a must-visit for kayakers, paddlers and other watersport lovers. The city of Austin promises to give unique experiences not only in the form of kayaking, paddle boarding and water sports acitivtes but also with Live Music, stunning skyscrapers, natural beauty, meditative space and a lot more.
Austin is the capital of the state of Texas and the 11th most populous city of the USA with ample lakeside views, stunning beaches and scenic islands, making it a perfect spot for kayaking and canoeing. Since 2010, Austin has been the most popular choice to visit by kayakers, paddlers and anglers, all because of the opportunities you get there. The residents of Austin are known as Austinites and are very friendly and welcoming.
Apart from kayaking, the city of Austin is also known for its annual cultural events, cuisine and breweries, music, films, theatre, libraries, museums, parks and recreational areas, ladybird lake, sports and a lot more. Don’t worry, you’ll discover everything in this guide on “Kayaking In Austin.
So, if you are looking for a one-shot guide on kayaking in Austin, then I have got your back covered. In this blog post which is 4000+ words long, you’ll come across the following points.
1. Best places for kayaking in Austin
2. Best time to visit Austin for kayaking
3. How much does it cost for kayaking in Austin?
4. Kayaking rentals in Austin
5. Austin kayaking safety tips and much more
Is Austin Safe For Kayaking
With thousands of people, paddlers and kayakers visiting Austin every year for kayaking and canoeing, the crime rate in the city is slightly on the higher side as compared to the states in the USA for kayaking. And if you are moving to Austin for another city or country, you may have concerned about the safety of kayaking and canoeing in Austin.
So, in this section, I will cover whether kayaking in Austin is safe or not.
While there are very few instances of major crimes happening, Austin is very safe as compared to other cities in the USA for kayaking. As per the study and the latest crime data report, Crimes in Austin have reduced by 6% over last year, which is a positive sign.
Downtown may the centre of most of the crimes happening in Austin, especially at night. Some of the major crimes happening in Austin are:
A. Pickpockets: This is one of the most common crimes happening in Austin. This crime is mostly done by small gangs, individual thieves and robbers. Sometimes, you can also be pointed at the gun to loosen up your wallet or chain.
B. Robberies: Robberies are also a common crime happening in Austin throughout the year, especially with tourists from outside countries. Robberies at stations, airports, hotels and bus stations are very common during the night. In fact, muggings also take place on private properties.
C. Scams: Scams, scams and scams is what all tourists’ kayakers and paddlers should be aware of before visiting Austin for kayaking. It might be a kayak rental scam, message scam, call girl scam, transportation scam and anything else that you might find fishy. You can always take help from the locals and get to know about the price of any product, service or anything else that might be confusing you.
Here are some safety tips while visiting Austin for kayaking.
1. If you are planning for night kayaking in Austin, then I would recommend you leave your car at home. Because issues related to car theft, car break-ins and exorbitant parking costs are very common in Austin. If possible, avoid kayaking in Austin at night.
2. Austin is home to loads of homeless people and beggars around there. While not all homeless people will harm you or create issues, it is still advised to keep a safe distance from such kinds of people.
3. Before visiting any place for kayaking or canoeing in Austin, make sure you get familiar with every nook and corner of the place. From kayaking rentals there to the best time to kayak and everything in between.
Why Should You Visit Austin For Kayaking?
Now let us walk through some of the reasons why should you visit Austin for kayaking and canoeing.
1. Ourdoor activities
The very first reason why you should be visiting Austin for canoeing or kayaking is because of the opportunities you’ll get for outdoor adventures and see the natural beauty over here.
The city of Austin is also called the City Of Violet Crown, which also refers to blue and purple twilight, making it look more stunning during sunset and sunrise. Austin also provides ample opportunities to be immersed in nature with beautiful parks, lakeside views and a lot more.
There are opportunity 20+ parks, lakes and rivers located in Austin which are perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing and carrying out many other water sports activities.
2. Endless sunshine
The weather of Austin makes it even more charming and stunning with a humid climate, hot summers and mild winters, which keeps it open for kayaking and canoeing almost throughout the year. Of course, several rain storms and tornadoes do strike sometime, but you’ll come across autumns and springs most of the time. Sunshine is also abundant throughout the year, allowing the locals and tourists to enjoy hiking trails, camping and kayaking for sure.
3. Fun and friendly city
Whether you agree with me or not, Austin, like other Texans is very friendly and welcoming to the tourists as well as to the people who stay there. The people of Austin are always willing to promote and uplift the spirit of community-based living and are helpful to each other.
If you fall in any trouble or want to know anything about tourism, places to visit, best places to buy kayak rentals in Austin, scams happening there and so on, you can simply reach out to the people of Austin and ask them about your double and query for sure.
4. Creative Community
You might be thinking that its tall skyscrapers, lush green parks, amazing mountains, and delicious cuisine are the reasons to visit Austin, right? However, it’s the inclusive nature that gives true calling to kayakers and paddlers all across the globe to this wonderful city. From kayakers to photographers, from designers to florists, from artists to writers, everyone visits this city to enjoy and meet fellow creative and like-minded people.
While SXSW is known for attracting entrepreneurs in technology, engineering and science, events like Create + Cultivate, the Texas Book Festival and the Texas Conference for Women provide reasons for creatives and aspiring leaders in all fields to visit Austin as well.
5. Amazing food
Last but not the least, you should also visit Austin to explore the mouth-watering food and delicious there. Austin is known for its best barbecue joints, and Franklin Barbecue is famous for its coveted brisket, beer and other BBQ items. This is a must-visit BBQ shop and draws loads of crowds every day.
If you are kayaking outside of the city, then make sure to visit Driftwood’s Salt Lick BBQ which is known for its sweet sweet barbecue sauce and delicious cooked meats.
Kayaking & Canoeing In Austin: Places Available
1. Lake Austin
If you are hunting for the best places for kayaking in Austin, Lake Austin should be on top of your list. It is one of the largest lakes in Austin and part of the Texas highland lakes. It begins the flow from Mansfield Dam and is fled by the outflow of Lake Travis. This lake is suited for a wide range of fun recreational activities like boating, paddle boarding, canoeing in Austin, kayaking and lot more.
You can also find several kayak rentals in this area and opt for wide range of kayak types like tandem kayaks, sea kayaks, recreational kayaks, fishing or camping kayaks and lot more depending on your choice and preferences. Even if you don’t know kayaking not to worry. There are several kayaking courses available and you can enrol in any of them to kick-start your journey.
Those who are not here for kayaking they can also enjoy the rich flora and fauna of lake Austin. Plus, there is ample opportunities for camping, hiking, going on biking or walking trail and enjoying a picnic with your friends and family.
Around the lakeside, you’ll find several different parks and reservoirs that will allow you to enjoy sightseeing and take a glimpse of the lush green trees, beautiful flower gardens and some wildlife as well.
2. Lady Bird Lake
If you are planning a canoe in Austin, especially in summer, Lady Bird Lake is a place that can’t be missed. Besides kayaking in Austin, the other activity that you can do alongside Lady Bird lake is the biking trail on Barton Creek pedestrian bridge which is part of the Ann and Rou Bulter hike and bike trail. This trail can be long over 10 miles, making it impossible to complete in one day.
Dogs and pets are 100% allowed in this area but make sure they are on a leash.
For kayaking in Austin, especially at the Lardy Bird Lake, you’ll come across a number of places for kayak, canoeing, rowing shells and dragon boats for rent. The most popular places for rentals of watersport gears and types of equipment are Texas Rowing Center, Congress Avenue Kayaks and Paddle Shack.
Of course, there can also be a possibility that you want to be out on the water, but you want to put in extra effort for kayaking and canoeing. In that case, you can opt for a boating ride or cruise ride from Capital Cruises or Lone Star Riverboat, which also offers a dinner and lunch cruise ride on the lakeside.
Lady Bird Lake is also known as Town lake and was created with the completion of Longhorn Dam, which was built to control the overflooding of the Colorado River. Slowly and steadily Lady Bird Lake started serving as a top-rated recreational spot in Austin offering locals and tourists a wide range of water sports adventures including boating, fishing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding.
3. Lake Marble Falls
Located in the Texas hill country, Lake Marble Falls is another spot for kayaking in Austin. The lake spreads around 6.5 miles long with a total area of over 1500 acres. It is also considered one of the biggest lakes in Austin and suited for canoeing, paddle boarding, surfboarding, boating rides and a lot more water sports adventures.
Since the lake is home to a variety of fish and aquatic animals, you can also try stand-up fishing and fly fishing activities here. Just make sure you have the right fishing kayak accessories and gear. What’s more? The lake has also got ample marinas and boat ramps, which makes it easy for you to launch your kayak and boats from the point.
For those not here for kayaking, Lake Marble Falls has also got them covered with ample camping and picking spots, several parks, campgrounds and hiking options located around the lake’s shoreline. The most popular park is Lakeside park which features a wide variety of birds, treens and sightseeing spots as well. In this park, you can also conduct parties and wedding ceremonies.
In addition to its recreational opportunities, Lake Marble Falls also serves an important function as a source of water for the surrounding area. The lake is used for irrigation, industrial and municipal use, and recreation.
4. Lake Travis
The next place for kayaking in Austin is Lake Travis, which is a slightly wide and narrow size lake making it perfect for short and mini kayaks. Of course, you can also take a camping paddle board on the lakeside and enjoy paddling all day long.
It stretches over 60 miles and has got 270 miles long shoreline with ample beaches and stunning campsite grounds. The lake is also known for its crystal clear water, deep waters and scenic beauty which makes it the perfect spot for kayaking and canoeing in Austin.
You’ll also come across several parks and beachside on the lake such as Pace Bend Park, which is great for camping, hiking, biking trails, walking and a lot more. On the shoreline of the lake, you’ll get several waterfront restaurants and bars, as well as several waterfront vacation rental homes.
Apart from this, the Lake is also famous and known for its annual events like Lake Travis Firework shows, which are held in the month of July. This festival is jam-packed with fireworks, Dj, music, beer, lightning shows, and food as well.
5. Lake Canyon
When speaking about the best places for kayaking in Austin, Lake Canyon has been on my list. This is one of the largest recreational lakes in Austin. and popularly known has The Jewel of Texas Hill Country. The lake is located on the banks of the Guadalupe River, which surely makes it a perfect spot for relaxing, enjoying the great outdoors, kayaking and canoeing in Austin.
Canyon lake is also famous for its water recreation and you’ll also come across loads of activities including hiking, camping, trails and parks are also located on the lakeside. To be precise, the lake has 8 parks where people and tourists across the globe can unwind, swim, boat, kayak and also carry out fishing acitivtes on the lakeside.
On the lakeside, you can also spot deer, roadrunners and many other wildlife animals for photography and enjoyment. In case, you are not here for kayaking, a par 72 golf course is waiting for you, with well-kept fairways and hills. Along with playing golf you can enjoy the exotic view of the lake and live oak trees.
This golf course is also one of the biggest in USA.
Besides, Canyon Lake provides many types of lodging: lodges, motels, cottages, hotels, bed and breakfasts, cabins, real estate, vacation rentals, campgrounds, and RV Parks. This is the perfect getaway from the cold snow and ice of winter.
6. Lake Georgetown
If you are a serious angler or kayaker, then Lake Georgetown is the place you should be at. This 1200-acre lake offers boating, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and many other water sport adventure opportunities. It has several parks and the most famous ones are Cedar Park and Jim Hogg Park which has camping and boat ramps facilities.
Lake Georgetown is also a quiet and cosy place for couples and senior-level kayakers with calm waterways. The water on the lakeside is less choppy making it a perfect spot for beginner and newbie paddlers or kayakers.
You can also opt for any lake paddle board and enjoy surfing.
You can also carry out stand-up fishing, fly fishing or bass fishing on the Lake as it is home to largemouth bass, catfish, white bass, hybrid striped bass, sunfish and a lot more.
Amongst the most popular park of the lake are Cedar Park and Russell Park which have built-in boat ramps for recreational kayaking and boating. You can also take the Goodwater trail which follows the entire perimeter of the lake at Cedar park.
7. Quarry Lake
The Quarry Lake is a 100% water-oriented recreational lake that offers opportunities for an extensive range of activites including kayaking, picnicking, boating, swimming and fishing in Austin. It also has a room for wildlife viewing and camping adventures.
The recreational unit of the lake includes a beach, turf, swimming area and picnic spots around the lakes. You can swim in the man-made beach, play volleyball, try your hands at fishing and enjoy kayaking in the area as well. Please, that no motorized kayaks and boats are allowed.
You can bring your dogs and pets, but they must be on leashes. For hiking and biking, you can visit The Quarry Lakes Natural Unit, which offers excellent opportunities for hiking and bike rides.
Fishing is allowed only in the Recreational Unit of Quarry Lakes, which includes Horseshoe Lake and Rainbow Lake. You can get your fishing pontoon boat or fishing SUP and get your best catch.
8. Pflugerville Lake
If you want to see a lovely sunset along with kayaking in Austin, then Lake Pflugerville is the best place for you to be at. Along with the lakeside, you can job, walk, play and take your dog for walking as well. The lakeside has also got 3.1-mile trail which makes it the perfect spot for camping and hiking as well.
During the summer days, you can rent a paddle board, canoe or kayak for extra fun on the water. On the Northshore of the lake, there are loads of kayak rentals and shops available along with a playground, pavilion, picnic tables, fishing piers and restrooms.
Fishing on the lakeside is allowed for youths between the age group of 16 to above without a fishing permit. If you are below 16, you might need a fishing license. When you are coming here for fishing, make sure you are loaded with the right gear and accessories.
9. Hamilton Pool Preserve
Now here comes one of my personal favourite spots for kayaking and canoeing in Austin.
This is a multi-purpose lakeside park in Austin which is suited for multiple outdoor acitivtes including swimming, pet walking, hiking trails, camping, guided hikes, kayaking and boating, birding, animal watching and a lot more. Most of the areas of the visit are free but some might cost you a small fee.
If you are planning for any watersport activity on the lake then make sure you are equipped with safety gear and PFD jackets, because there are no lifeguards on the duty.
Pet’s are 100% prohibited in the lake and parkside. You can take a hiking trail to the pool and enjoy sightseeing, viewing birds, checking out exotic locations and enjoying seeing the wildlife.
You can also join the guided hikes via Hamilton Pool Preserve. This tour begins in the dry uplands and will take you through the wide diversity of native plants and animals in the park. You can also learn about the unique geological features of the park.
10. Lake Walter E. Long
If you are looking for unlimited madness of outdoor recreational acitivtes then Lake Walter E Long is waiting to welcome you. From boating to paddle boarding, from kayaking to canoeing in Austin, this lake has got your back covered. The lake is also acclaimed by the fishing community as it features a wide range of freshwater stock.
The lake spreads across a vast area and will give you ample space for kayaking and trying your hands with other water sports activities. Many different types of fishing activites can also be carried out on the lake.
One of the best things that I personally loved about this lake is its natural beauty, flora and fauna which sets it apart from others on the list. You can also enjoy the wonderful-looking sunset from the lakeside and capture some amazing moments with your friends and family.
Duck hunting acitivtes in the area is allowed, but make sure you have taken relevant permission from the authorities.
For children and senior people, there is a park, playground area, picnic spots, and recreational zone and also many small cafes and restaurants have been set up from distance to distance.
11. Lake Lyndon B. Johnson
Lake Lyndon B Jhonson is perfect for all your river paddle boarding and kayaking adventures. The water of the lake is slightly choppy which makes it must visit spot for experienced surfers, paddlers and kayakers in Austin and all across the world.
The lake is located on the banks of the Colorado River in Texas and just one hour away from the northwest of Austin. The lake is also called as Lake LBJ and is named after Lake Granite. On the lakeside, you’ll come across Kingsland, an educational park operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority. The park is suited for camping, hiking, biking, walking and picnic spot.
Although the lake is not suited for beginner kayakers and paddlers, but there are lots of other recreational activities that can be carried out on the lakeside which includes: swimming, beach volleyball, basketball, tennis, cricket and a lot more.
12. Mueller Lake
Lake Muller Park is a 30-acre park and large enough for kayakers, paddle boarders and surfers to try their hands with various watersports activities. The park is basically located in the Muller neighbourhood, conveniently adjacent to Muller visitors and locals there. With its beautiful ecosystem and stunning locality, the park attracts loads of visitors and tourists all across the globe.
The park is great for trailers, running and walking. The half-gravel trail is 2.6 miles long and will take you through the various section of the park including the rich flora and fauna, stunning lakeside views, camping grounds, hiking sites and so much more. The trail is conveniently located near shops, cafes and small restaurants so you can find a perfect spot for unwinding.
Kids can enjoy a new, fun interactive playscape at the park with slides, jungle gyms, monkey bars, and more. In 2011, the playscape was voted “Best Gyroscopic Playground” by The Austin Chronicle.
Kayaking In Austin: Safety Tips
1. Kayak PFDs
One of the first things you need to carry while canoeing in Austin is your safety jacket or PFD. This jacket will safeguard you in case you tip off into the water and you don’t know how to swim. Even if you are a professional swimmer, I would recommend you to opt for a kayak life jacket as it will protect you against daunting weather conditions as well.
Buy a kayak life jacket is certified by NMMA and USA Coastal Guard associations. Also, check for the fitting and mobility while buying a life jacket.
You should also bring on your kayak or a paddle board cooler if you are planning for long-distance kayaking or canoeing in Austin. Cooler will help you with keeping your food fresh and beverages chilled out for long duration. They are insulated and loaded with advanced cooling features which makes them worth taking for your next wilderness in Austin.
Are you a rough rider? Are you planning for whitewater kayaking or canoeing in Austin? If yes, then get yourself a kayaking helmet for sure. A kayaking helmet is something that will keep your face and head protected against any sort of accident or daunting conditions on the water.
It will also help you to tackle the splash of whitewater and fast-moving river rapids easily.
4. Watch or GPS
With a kayak watch or a GPS system, you cannot go anywhere kayaking or canoeing in Austin, especially if you are a beginner paddler or kayaker. A kayaking watch or GPS will help you navigate easily through the unexplored places in Austin.
You can get yourself a Bluetooth watch that can be used for multiple purposes including time checking, GPS, tracking your calories, connectivity and so much more.
5. Fish Finder Or Depth Finder
If you are planning for kayak or canoe fishing in Austin, a fish finder or depth finder is a gear you cannot miss to have. With the help of this kayak gear, you can precisely locate your ideal catch and get close to it without disturbing the peace.
A fish finder works exactly like a kayak GPS system but it allows you to locate the fishing spot so that you can get the best catch that you are looking for.
Get an Austin kayak or canoe map for easy navigation and moving on the right track, especially if you are kayaking for the first time in Austin.
How Much Does It Cost For Kayaking In Austin
The cost of kayaking in Austin depends on several factors – namely whether or not you own your own kayak and paddle board, and if you’re experienced in paddling them around. If you have your own equipment, then the cost of kayaking is practically nil for you. However, newcomers to the sport who don’t have their own kayaks will need to factor in the cost of rentals and lessons.
Luckily, there are plenty of kayak rentals available in Austin that are relatively affordable, especially when compared to the price of buying your own watercraft. Most rental companies charge hourly rates for kayaks, and some also offer group kayaking lessons for those who need them.
FAQs About Kayaking In Austin
There are several popular kayaking spots in Austin, including Lady Bird Lake, Lake Austin, and the Colorado River. Each location offers unique scenery and paddling experiences.
Basic kayaking equipment includes a kayak, paddle, and personal flotation device. You may also want to bring sunscreen, water, and a hat for sun protection.
Kayaking in Austin can be safe as long as you follow proper safety guidelines and obey any posted rules and regulations. Always wear a life jacket, be aware of your surroundings, and check the weather forecast before heading out on the water.
Yes, there are several companies in Austin that offer guided kayaking tours. These tours can provide an opportunity to learn about the local flora and fauna, as well as the history of the area.
Some kayaking locations in Austin may allow dogs on the water, but it is best to check with the specific location and make sure they allow pets before bringing your dog.
Yes, there are several kayak rental companies in Austin that provide kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices for rent.
Yes, some kayaking companies in Austin offer kayaking classes and clinics for both beginners and experienced paddlers. These classes can teach you the basics of kayaking and help you improve your skills.