Lake Austin is a great choice for fishing, boating, hiking and biking, making it the perfect destination for your next outdoor family adventure. This "lake" is actually part of the Colorado River and is nestled near the city of Austin, Texas. Don’t miss the view from the 360 Bridge suspended over the lake as well! The bridge, officially named the Percy V. Pennybacker Jr. Bridge, is a through-arch bridge across Lake Austin which connects the northern and southern sections of the Loop 360 highway, also known as the "Capital of Texas Highway." Fun fact: the bridge won first place in the 1984 Federal Highway Administration's Excellence in Highway Design competition.
Part of the Colorado River, Lake Austin begins below Mansfield Dam, meandering from northwest to southeast and extending all the way past the iconic Pennybacker (360) Bridge down to the Tom Miller Dam. The level of the lake is maintained by releases of water from Lake Travis upstream. Because of the vastness of the lake, there are several different areas with different landscapes ensuring that you'll find the perfect place for your favorite lake activity. Whatever you choose to do, just remember to bring water, sunblock, some bug spray, and have fun!
The lake has an excellent stock of largemouth bass, making it a popular fishing destination. Lake Austin has also been stocked with several species of other fish including largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish. Bank fishing is limited because most of the shoreline around Lake Austin is privately owned. You can access the bank at the 360 bridge, at Emma Long Park, Mary Quinlan Park, and Fritz Hughes Park near Mansfield Dam. If you're more interested in boating, there are two excellent concrete public boat ramps at the Walsh Boat Landing, located off Lake Austin Blvd., and a ramp below the Loop 360 bridge. Don't worry about packing up when the sun goes down. Camping is available in Emma Long Park. The "top" of Lake Austin, located by the Mansfield Dam, is a fantastic spot for paddle boarding, kayaking, and swimming. Boats are not allowed in this particular area, so the water is calm and clear. Lake Austin is also near several great parks like Mary Quinlan Park and Fritz Hughes Park, which are perfect for playing with the dog, having a picnic, or grilling.
You're so close to Austin that you can't miss out on a day trip there! The capitol of Texas is known for its eclectic live music, up and coming restaurant scene, and unique culture. Take in some history while you visit the Lone Star State's Capitol building or go for the infamous South by Southwest music festival and "Keep Austin Weird." A little over an hour to the south lies the Texas gem of New Braunfels. The whole family will have a blast splashing around the "World's Best Waterpark." This 70 acre park is nestled on the Comal River, and features waterslides fed from the fresh river water. It's sure to cool you off on a hot summer day!
Tucked away in the beautiful Texas Hill Country on the shores of Lake Austin, lies Lake Austin Spa Resort, a 40 room all-inclusive luxury spa resort. This relaxing sanctuary allows you to customize your vacation towards your personal goals whether it's rest and renewal, fitness, or fun. Another great choice is Residence Inn Austin Lake. You'll get easy access to the Lake, and escape the hustle and bustle of Austin's busy downtown. The staff will welcome you with open arms and you'll truly understand what "southern hospitality" means.
Austin has an ever expanding public transportation system, but for the most flexible transportation options, you'll want to rent a car. Everything's bigger in Texas, including the freeways, and with your own car, you'll be able to see more of what Texas has to offer. To reach Lake Austin, you can take Market 2222, but to get a glimpse of the famous 360 bridge, you'll want to take the TX-360 Loop.
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