Emma Long Metropolitan Park is located on Lake Austin, right off 2222 (about a 10 minute drive down City Park Road). It’s one of the largest parks in Austin, complete with a boat dock, camping facilities, swimming areas, sand volleyball courts and more.
Turkey Creek trail, which offers 2.5 miles of shaded, scenic hiking, is nearby and a perfect spot to let your dog run and splash in the water. It’s an off-leash area, and a mini paradise for dogs that love to explore. They’ll be in heaven.
But of course Emma Long is a great place for humans, too. It’s inexpensive, especially if you can make it there during the week when it’s less crowded and admission is only $5 per car. Admission is $10 per car Friday through Sunday, but even that is a good deal for all the park has to offer.
In addition to the trails, a big highlight for kids is the swimming area. The dedicated spot is well-marked with a large shallow area, which is perfect for young kids who simply want to wade in the water. The older kids will enjoy jumping off the dock. Swimming pools are great, but there’s something simple and fun about jumping into a cool lake in summer. Also, when boats pass they make small waves that ripple all the way to shore, which always bring delightful squeals from the swimmers in the water.
Oh and I almost forgot the beach.
Ok, let’s agree that “beach” is a relative term. If you’ve just returned from a white sand vacation perhaps your bar is a set a bit high. But if you have kids, you know they don’t seem to care what the sand looks like. A beach inside the city is pretty cool, and they just love to play in it! It’s not a huge area, but large enough for families to build a castle and draw their name in the sand.
Speaking of sand, the nearby volleyball courts are another fun area at the park. Now matter their skill level, park visitors can get a friendly game going. Hard to beat sand volleyball right next to Lake Austin on a hot summer day.
So whether you go for overnight camping or simply for the day, Emma Long Metropolitan Park is a beautiful Austin park to explore.
1600 City Park Rd., 78730 (map)