Summer is just around the corner — the days are starting to get longer and that famous Texas heat is already making a regular appearance around Lake Travis.
Before you know it, you’ll have summer visitors at your door, ready to see the best that the Lake Travis area has to offer.
That’s when it’s up to you, fellow Lake Travisite, to bring out-of-towners to the chillest swimming holes and local destinations that give your Lake Travis visitors a few solid hours of entertainment — Lake Travis style.
There’s something to do for everyone in Lake Travis, so grab your swim suits and some sunscreen — we might be out for a while.
Outdoor summer fun
Lakeway City Park – When you want to stay local but dip your toes in the water a bit, try Lakeway’s City Park for some good old fashioned out-of-towner fun.
The dogs will love Bark Park, and when the water is high enough you can walk right into the edges of Lake Travis. Miles of paved and natural trails will keep you busy for the whole afternoon, and when you need to cool down, drop your kayak in the water and paddle off into nearby Lake Travis coves.
Pace Bend Park – A great Lake Travis park just a bit further out in Spicewood is Pace Bend Park, a popular Travis County Park known for swimming, camping, hiking and nature observation. Acres and acres of Colorado River shoreline will give you plenty of space for hitting the waters, while ample picnic spots make great home bases for when the sun gets to be too much.
Get your hike on at Pace Bend, or head over to one of the monster hiking trails of Texas in Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock. This is a bit of a drive to get to but once you’re there you have plenty to explore and see, including sweeping views of the Texas Hill Country you have to see to believe.
Hike, fish, climb and swim at Reimers Ranch Park when you want to spend the day near the Pedernales River, which is about as natural as parks get these days.
When you’re in search of more water, head out to scenic Hamilton Pool Preserve for one of Austin’s most famous swimming spots, just be sure to make a reservation for when you plan to go. If you find out that reservations for Hamilton Pool Preserve are booked, bring your summer visitors over to Krause Springs.
Weekend brewery and distillery spots
Jester King – Weekends at Jester King Brewery are pretty special. Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons the tasting room is open, which means a sort of beer community assembles with their families every weekend for the newest in Farmhouse beers from the beer geniuses.
Pizza is made on-site at nearby Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza, which makes for the trifecta: pizza, beer and countryside. Bring a blanket and a few chairs when you want to relax for a bit under shade trees, and with an ever-rotating list of taps to try, you might end up staying here a while.
Garrison Brothers Distillery – Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are Sit and Sip Tours at Garrison Brothers Distillery. It’s here where you’ll get a new found love for Texas Bourbon, made right here in Hye, Texas.
You’ll get a chance to savor the spirit on some beautiful Texas farmland, and maybe even learn a thing or two about distilling. They were the first distillers to be able to make bourbon outside of Kentucky, and have been perfecting the process ever since.
Take your thirsty guests to this distillery for some of the finest Texas spirits this side of the Colorado River.
El Gaucho Winery – El Gaucho means “the cowboy” in Spanish, and that’s just what you’ll feel like entering the property here at El Gaucho Winery. Rolling hills, handmade wooden tee pees and open air grills transport you to another country entirely.
One of the newest wine makers to call the Texas Hill Country home, they’re on a mission to bring Argentinian wine to the heart of Texas.
The real fun starts when the sun is shining, the grill is hot and the bottles are open. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays come by and bring the family for some true Texas fun with real Argentinian flair.
Cool off in the AC
High 5 – Bowling, laser tag, video games, drinks, food and fun — these all came to Lakeway when High 5 opened their doors this year at the Oaks at Lakeway.
An upstairs bar will give adults some breathing room, while kids can burn off steam downstairs at the many bowling lanes and arcade games perfect for visitors of all ages. It’s the newest in indoor entertainment to come to Lake Travis, and it’s a great way to let summer guests get some socializing and fun without the tan lines.
Moviehouse & Eatery – There’s just something so right about a matinee movie in the summer. Something about getting out of that dense air for the hottest hours of the day, finding sanctuary in that darkened and well air-conditioned theater.
Relax in the large leather recliners at the Moviehouse & Eatery or catch the quirky previews at the Alamo Drafthouse.
Since the Alamo Drafthouse opened its Lakeline location, I’ve been a huge fan of their movies and specials shows. Tuesday shows are Baby Days, where even the littlest in the family can join in the fun.
One last stop …
The Oasis, Texas – It wouldn’t be a trip to Lake Travis without visiting The Oasis, Texas. With some of the best views of Lake Travis, not to mention some of the coolest beers right on the lake, you’ll have a hard time leaving even after the sun goes down.
The whole shopping center/mini-town is now home to some of the most Austin-y stores I know, and when you get hungry you can get your fill of Tex Mex food downstairs, and maybe even have a margarita or two.
With three floors of restaurants, shopping and entertainment, your Lake Travis visitors will have a blast getting a taste of Austin high above the waters of Lake Travis.