When the weather gets hot, it feels like beach time! But of course Austin isn’t anywhere near the ocean. You can drive hours to Galveston or Port Aransas, but that’s not always feasible.
Instead, try one of the beaches on lakes around the Austin area. They may not compare to the real beach, but they’ll do in a pinch! They make a fun day or even just a quick outing.
I think this is one of the best spots in Austin, especially if you have little kids that aren’t the best swimmers. Between the two docks in the park, there’s a sandy beach and the whole area out to the first rope is roughly the same shallow depth. You don’t have to worry about a kid suddenly finding a deep spot and going under!
The water is pretty calm, but when boats drive by fast, their wake can cause some waves in the swimming area. You might want to be within arms’ reach of any small kids, especially if they aren’t wearing floaties and don’t know how to swim. The waves can knock them over.
And the bathrooms are very close by (and finally open after being under construction for more than a year!).
On weekends from March to October (and holiday weekend Mondays), you need to reserve an entry pass online the day before you go. They do sometimes allow you to purchase passes at the gate, but once they’re at capacity, they don’t let anyone else in.
Lakeway City Park
This spot has a rocky beach and a muddy/sandy beach on a little finger of Lake Travis. You can bring paddleboards or kayaks for the grownups or big kids, while smaller kids play in the shallow water or float. It’s by some boat slips but is otherwise pretty quiet when it comes to boat traffic.
There’s also a really fun playground nearby that just opened last year!
Lakeway has lots of family-friendly restaurants (many with playgrounds), so this is an easy spot to build a whole day around.
BIG CAVEAT: If there’s a serious drought (like there has been recently), the water won’t reach this beach.
Lake Pflugerville Park
Lake Pflugerville was built to provide the city with drinking water, but they also turned the park into a fun place to spend a day! On the northeast side of the lake is a stretch of beach where you can play in the sand and swim in the water.
No motor-powered boats are allowed, so you don’t have to worry about the wake creating any big waves, though the wind can make it a bit choppy.
The only shade for the whole beach is over a couple picnic tables, so definitely bring your sunblock and hats!
Now get out there and enjoy your day at the beach!
Looking for summer camp options for your kids? Check out my roundup of summer camps around Austin.