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Best Outdoor Activities in Austin

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A reservoir in the Colorado River, Lake Austin is an ideal recreation spot. When the Tom Miller Dam was constructed in 1939, this reservoir was created. Though it serves a practical purpose like generation of electricity and flood control, it is also a popular attraction in the city. You will find many restaurants nearby, and the park along its banks offers fun activities such as canoeing. Lake Austin works for those who just feel like taking a walk, those who are looking to get their exercise for the day, those who feel like chatting with others, or just those who want a bit of peace.

Patrons will enjoy a huge variety of activities at Zilker Park. You can check out the hike and bike trails, picnic facilities, Zilker Botanical Garden, canoe rentals, soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, riverboat rides on Town Lake, concerts, festivals and even a miniature train. The wide-open stretches of grass in this park are just minutes from the downtown area. There is plenty of room and various diversions for the kids, so you can get a suntan, take long walks by the river or just curl up with a book down by the river.

For your next day-out at the Lady Bird Lake, rent out paddling equipment from Austin Paddle Sports SUP Rentals. This shop provides excellent implements from and takes care of all your paddling needs. Known for Stand Up Paddling, it even offers lessons for first-timers as well as lake tours. Head to the store to procure some SUP gear and enroll for paddling class to master the waters.

A reservoir of the undulating Colorado River, Lady Bird Lake lies nestled in startling contrast with the cosmopolitan buildings that fringe it. Originally known as 'Town Lake', this reservoir was created in 1960, with the construction of the Longhorn Dam. For a decade, this lake was left in a derelict state, until it was transformed into a beautiful recreation zone in the 1970s. In 2007, the lake was given the name Lady Bird Lake, honoring the memory of the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson. Its glassy waters a wonderland for recreation, the lake is skirted by lush, emerald droves, winding trails, the sprawling Zilker Park and the rejuvenating Barton Springs. The lake enables an array of exhilarating activities like kayaking, canoeing, rowing, paddleboarding and recreational fishing. Lady Bird Lake has been host to a string of sporting events, while its bank is popular for musical performances.

Set along the eastern banks of the restful Colorado River, Mount Bonnell's verdant headlands dominate Austin's western topography from an elevation of approximately 775 feet (236 meters) above sea level. Also known as Covert Park, the location is a stunning progression of luxuriant grasslands, scenic waterfronts, peaceful picnic spots and breathtaking vista points. Inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in the year 2015, the forelands are home to the Mount Bonnell's Indian Trail, one of the cornerstones of the American War of Independence. Legend has it that the final 99 steps to the mount's top hold enchanting qualities; if a couple climbs the mount once, they fall in love; twice, they become engaged; and three times, they are destined to be married.

The Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail which circuits around the Lady Bird Lake in Austin, is the most popular spot for fitness enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The trail is 10.1 miles (16.3 kilometers) long and winds around the waters of the lake, providing one with panoramic views as it does so. The trail is quite easy, making it suitable for people of all ages and abilities, and pets are allowed on the trail as well. So walk alone, walk your dog, jog or cycle; this trail is suitable for it all.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center was established by Lady Bird Johnson, First Lady of the United States from 1963-1969. This fabulous garden bearing her name brims with native Texas plants in courtyards, terraces, arbors and meadows. Along with a fantastic children's center, visitors can explore a visitors gallery, observation tower, café, gift store and nature trails. Enjoy award-winning architecture and fabulous scenery in this wonderful garden spot. Tours by appointment.

The McKinney Falls State Park, located in southeast Austin, at a short distance from the downtown area, is the ideal spot for a fun day out with family and friends. Whether you're into fitness and recreational sports, or just want to lounge about and have a leisurely day, this park is for you. This day park offers a number of activities such as hiking, biking, picnicking, as well as fishing and swimming in the Onion Creek. The park also has a 500 year old cypress tree that is worth a visit. The park visitor center can provide you with all the required information.

Thrill seekers, this is the place for you! Skydive San Marcos offers skydiving opportunities for every skill level, from complete beginner to advanced jumper. Skydive San Marcos also offers ground school classes, complete training packages that will take you from novice to expert, tandem jumps, and licensing. The price for each jump or jump-package includes a personal pair of goggles, a professional skydiver logbook, an information manual, and all other gear needed for a successful jump.

Charles Umlauf (1911-1994), one of the more famous Austin artists, was a prolific sculptor. This museum displays many of his works in a fantastic garden spot located close to Zilker Park and just minutes from downtown. His sculptures range from realism to abstraction and include families, religious figures, animals and mythological characters.

Every neighborhood needs a park. If it is in Texas, that park needs a pool if anyone is to survive the three digit summers! Shipe Park & Pool is located on 45th street and Avenue G, just minutes away from Daily Juices and across from the Elizabeth Ney museum. As the location is surrounded by residential accommodations, this is a family-friendly pool. You can hear the sounds of kids attempting the belly flop from the street. The park also comes with changing rooms, a playground, and a big field for games like frisbee and football. Attached to the park are two tennis courts, and a basketball court. Shipe is only open during the summer!

Founded by seven women, this area was used as an outdoor laboratory for science classes and teacher training. Located on 220 acres (89 hectares) of land it offers 2.5 miles (4.02 kilometeres) of trails reserved for pedestrians. No bikes or pets are allowed; neither is picnicking or camping. This is a true wilderness preserve, and many bird watchers come to catch a glimpse of the Black Capped Vierus or Golden Cheek Warbler. Visitors are asked to donate a voluntary fee.

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