Smack in the middle of the city, dividing north from south, is Ladybird Lake. This inner-city waterway is beloved by all Austinites who use the 10-mile trail surrounding Lady Bird Lake for running, biking, and walking. In the water, you’ll find the University of Texas crew members, kayakers, paddle boarders, and fishermen all sharing the waterway that offers precious relief at the height of summer.
Lake Austin is on the west side of Austin and is the place to go for those who live within city limits and own a boat. The reservoir, which is actually a section of the Colorado River, flows lazily through limestone bluffs where magnificent homes look down onto the water. Because this is the closest reservoir to the city where you can use motorboats, you should be very careful if you’re swimming. The reservoir is riddled with water-skiers and boats making tight turns. This is also a particularly great place for some bass fishing.
Lake Travis is the go-to destination for those looking to hangout on a party barge or go water skiing. One of the most coveted spots is Devil’s Cove where you’re sure to see everyone you know during Memorial Day, summer, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. There is also a historic restaurant called The Oasis where you can eat on the porch and watch the sun set over the glittering water that you just spent the afternoon swimming in.
Quarry Lake is a local favorite for those in North Austin. This hidden gem used to be a quarry, but now is a lesser-known option for a day outdoors. Whether you want to fish, swim, or paddle board, this is an excellent family-friendly option. Pure Austin Fitness also uses Quarry Lake for it SUP class so don’t be surprised if you see a bunch of extra-fit people hanging around here.