The Best Beaches Near Austin, Texas

Cool off at one of Austin's lakeside spots in the summer
Cool off at one of Austin's lakeside spots in the summer | © Peter Tsai Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
The Texas capital of Austin is loved for bringing the sun almost all year round. The best place to enjoy it? At the beach.

When not enjoying the city’s food, architecture and nightlife, time in Austin is best spent at the beach. While Austin is situated 200 miles (322km) from the Gulf of Mexico, there are plenty of spots in town to soak up the Texas sun at the water’s edge. Culture Trip rounds up the city’s favorite riverside and lakeside beaches, including secluded spots and stretches popular for activities like paddle-boarding and kayaking.

Secret Beach

The clue is in the name for this beach: Secret Beach is more on the secluded side. It’s notoriously hard to find, as it’s tucked away on Grove Boulevard, but that’s all part of the fun. It’s quaint and a beautiful place to spend the afternoon, but be mindful that swimming isn’t allowed here.
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Accessibility & Audience:

Dog Friendly, Family Friendly


Local, Outdoors, Peaceful

Lake Pflugerville Beach

Natural Feature

If you like to intersperse your sunbathing with water-based activities, Lake Pflugerville Beach is the place to go. Canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing are all popular things to do on this stretch of shore, as are jogging and cycling on land. It’s the kind of place you could spend the day, so pack a picnic and make the most of it.

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West Lake Beach

Natural Feature

West Lake Beach is open to the public, but this fee-based marina is sometimes closed for private parties, so it’s always best to call to check on its status. Here, you can swim in a roped-off area, but note that there isn’t a lifeguard on duty. Meanwhile, other highlights include its volleyball court, its fishing area and a horseshoe pit.

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Emma Long Park Beach

Natural Feature

Emma Long Park, also known as City Park, is a popular beach destination in the hills of West Austin. This shallow water beach on the shores of Lake Austin always has loads of activity going on, like kayaking, sandcastle-building and picnics. It’s a brilliant place to take the family, and a lovely spot for camping.

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These recommendations were updated on June 24, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.