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Get Your Nature Fix: Top 4 Outdoor Things to Do in Austin

outdoor things to do in Austin

When it comes to outdoor things to do in Austin, there is no shortage of options to choose from. From hiking and kayaking to exploring caves and canyons, Austin offers a diverse range of outdoor activities to satisfy every kind of adventurer. With the beautiful natural scenery and the warm Texan weather, it's no wonder that Austin has become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

To help you plan your outdoor things to do in Austin, we've compiled a list of the top things to do in the city. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a first-time visitor, there's something for everyone in Austin's great outdoors.

1. Hiking Your Way Through Austin: Top 5 Trails to Explore

Things to Do in Austin

If you're looking for some adventure and fresh air, hiking is the perfect activity for you. Austin, Texas, is a city full of outdoor opportunities, and hiking is one of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of the city. In this blog post, we'll be sharing with you the top 5 hiking trails in Austin that you don't want to miss out on. So, grab your hiking boots, let's get started!

A. Description of Austin's Hiking Scene:

Before we dive into the top 5 hiking trails in Austin, let's take a moment to appreciate the city's hiking scene. Austin's hiking trails are diverse and cater to a range of fitness levels, from beginner to advanced hikers. Austin's outdoor scene offers a mix of urban trails and trails in nature, so whether you're looking for a quick hike after work or a weekend adventure, Austin's got you covered.

B. Top 5 Hiking Trails in Austin:

  • Barton Creek Greenbelt: The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a well-known hiking spot that offers 12.68 miles of trails. It's an ideal spot for hikers looking for a mix of challenging terrain and scenic views. The trail passes through lush greenery, rocky terrains, and creek beds, making it a must-visit trail for outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Mount Bonnell: Located in the heart of the city, Mount Bonnell is a popular spot for hikers looking for a quick hike. The trail is short but steep, and it offers a stunning view of the city skyline and Lake Austin. It's a great spot for watching the sunset or having a picnic with friends.

  • St. Edwards Park: St. Edwards Park is a 227-acre park that offers a range of hiking trails. The park features rugged terrain, including limestone cliffs, creeks, and dense forests. Hikers can explore the trails on foot or on a bike, making it a great spot for families looking for a day out in nature.

  • Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park: Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park is a 293-acre park that offers a mix of hiking and biking trails. The park features a range of terrains, including rocky outcrops, wooded areas, and open fields. Hikers can enjoy the scenic views of the park's creek and waterfall while trekking the trails.

  • McKinney Falls State Park: McKinney Falls State Park is a 641-acre park that offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking. The park features two waterfalls, the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls, and offers trails that pass through wooded areas, meadows, and riverbanks. It's a great spot for hikers looking for a weekend getaway from the city.

C. Tips for Hiking in Austin

When hiking in Austin, it's important to come prepared. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your hiking experience:

  • Wear comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and wear sunscreen.
  • Carry plenty of water and snacks.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for wildlife.
  • Stick to designated trails and follow trail etiquette.

D. My Personal Experience

Hiking in Austin is not just about enjoying the great outdoors; it's also an opportunity to make some unforgettable memories. Here are a few humorous anecdotes and personal stories related to hiking in Austin that will make you want to hit the trails:

  • One hiker shared that they were on a trail in St. Edwards Park when they came across a group of deer. As they approached the deer, they noticed that one of them had a sign around its neck that read, “Please don't feed me, I'm on a diet!” It turns out that the park rangers had placed the sign on the deer to prevent visitors from feeding them unhealthy snacks.

  • Another hiker shared that they were hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt trail when they came across a group of musicians playing live music. The hikers stopped to listen to the music and ended up joining in on a jam session. They shared that it was a unique and unexpected experience that made their hiking trip even more memorable.

  • Conclusion: Austin is a city full of outdoor adventures, and hiking is one of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of the city. The top 5 hiking trails in Austin offer a mix of challenging terrain and scenic views that will leave you wanting more. So, the next time you're in Austin, put on your hiking boots, and hit the trails. You never know what memorable experience awaits you!

2. Water Activities

Things to Do in Austin

When it comes to outdoor things to do in Austin, water activities are among the top favorites of locals and visitors alike. With its numerous waterways, swimming holes, and lakes, Austin has become a paradise for water enthusiasts looking to soak up some sun and fun. In this post, we'll explore the top 5 water activities to enjoy in Austin.

From kayaking and paddleboarding to tubing and fishing, Austin has something for everyone when it comes to water activities. With its warm climate and ample sunshine, there are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water and enjoy the great outdoors. Here are the top 5 water activities to try in Austin:

A. Kayaking on Lady Bird

Lake Named after former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, Lady Bird Lake is a popular destination for kayaking in Austin. Rent a kayak and paddle your way through the calm waters of the lake, enjoying scenic views of downtown Austin and the surrounding greenery. You can also take a guided tour to learn more about the history and ecology of the area.

B. Stand-up Paddleboarding on Lake Austin

For a more challenging and exciting water activity, try stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Austin. With its crystal-clear waters and scenic surroundings, Lake Austin offers an unforgettable paddleboarding experience. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced paddler, you'll find plenty of opportunities to test your skills and enjoy the great outdoors.

C. Swimming at Barton Springs Pool

Located in the heart of Austin, Barton Springs Pool is a natural spring-fed swimming pool that's a must-visit for water enthusiasts. With its refreshing, cool waters and scenic surroundings, Barton Springs Pool is a great place to relax and unwind. Whether you want to swim laps or just float around, you'll find plenty of space to do so.

D. Tubing on the Guadalupe River

For a more leisurely water activity, try tubing on the Guadalupe River. With its gentle currents and scenic surroundings, the Guadalupe River is a popular spot for tubing in the Austin area. You can rent tubes and float down the river, enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful scenery.

E. Fishing on Lake Travis

If you're a fishing enthusiast, you'll love Lake Travis. With its abundant fish population and clear waters, Lake Travis is a great spot for fishing. Whether you're looking to catch bass, catfish, or sunfish, you'll find plenty of opportunities to do so.

F. Tips for Enjoying Water Activities in Austin

Before you head out on your water adventure in Austin, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Check the weather forecast and water conditions before you head out.
  • Follow all safety guidelines and instructions.
  • Respect the environment and the wildlife.

Here are some personal stories and humorous anecdotes related to water activities in Austin:

  • “I once went kayaking on Lady Bird Lake with my friends, and we accidentally paddled into a group of ducks. It was hilarious watching them scatter as we tried to avoid hitting them!”
  • “I tried stand-up paddleboarding for the first time on Lake Austin, and let's just say it was a lot harder than it looked. I fell into the water multiple times before I finally got the hang of it!”
  • “I remember tubing down the Guadalupe River with my family and feeling like we were in a lazy river ride at a water park. It was so relaxing and fun!”

From kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to swimming and tubing, water activities in Austin offer plenty of opportunities for adventure and relaxation. Whether you're a local or a visitor, make sure to add these top 5 water activities to your Austin bucket list. Just remember to stay safe, respect the environment, and have fun!

In conclusion, if you're looking for an exciting and refreshing way to enjoy the great outdoors in Austin, water activities are the way to go. Whether you're looking for a challenging paddleboarding experience or a relaxing float down the river, Austin has it all. So grab your sunscreen, hat, and water bottle, and get ready to make a splash in Austin's beautiful waterways.

3. Explore the Natural Beauty of Austin: Top 5 Parks and Gardens to Visit

Things to Do in Austin

Are you looking for some outdoor fun in Austin? Then look no further than the city's beautiful parks and gardens. Whether you're a nature lover, an art enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxing picnic spot, Austin's parks and gardens have something for everyone. In this post, we'll take a closer look at the top 5 parks and gardens in Austin that you shouldn't miss.

Austin boasts a diverse range of parks and gardens that offer visitors a chance to relax, unwind and immerse themselves in nature. From sprawling parks that offer a variety of recreational activities to botanical gardens that showcase Texas' unique flora, Austin's parks and gardens are the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Top 5 Parks and Gardens in Austin

  1. Zilker Park

Zilker Park is one of Austin's most popular parks, offering visitors a range of outdoor activities. Located on the banks of the Colorado River, the park spans over 350 acres and features hiking trails, picnic areas, a playground, and even a miniature train that runs through the park. In addition, the park hosts several events throughout the year, including the famous Austin City Limits Music Festival.

  1. Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve

Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve is a 21-acre park located in central Austin that offers visitors a chance to explore nature and enjoy beautiful scenery. The park features several walking trails, a historic cottage, and a colorful peacock population that roams freely around the park. The park is also a popular spot for weddings and other special events.

  1. The Domain Central Park

The Domain Central Park is a beautiful 6-acre park located in north Austin that offers visitors a chance to relax and unwind. The park features a large pond, a walking trail, and several picnic areas. The park is also home to a variety of public art installations, including a large sculpture by renowned artist Tom Friedman.

  1. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a botanical garden located in southwest Austin that showcases Texas' unique flora. The center features several walking trails, a butterfly garden, and a gift shop that offers a range of locally made products. The center is named after Lady Bird Johnson, a former First Lady of the United States and a champion of environmental conservation.

  1. The Umlauf Sculpture Garden

The Umlauf Sculpture Garden is a unique park located in central Austin that features a collection of sculptures by Charles Umlauf, a renowned sculptor and former professor at the University of Texas at Austin. The park features several walking trails, a pond, and a variety of outdoor sculptures. The park also hosts several events throughout the year, including outdoor concerts and art exhibits.

Tips for Exploring Austin's Parks and Gardens

To make the most of your visit to Austin's parks and gardens, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Wear comfortable walking shoes as some parks have a lot of walking trails.
  2. Bring a picnic blanket and snacks to enjoy a leisurely picnic in the park.
  3. Check park hours and rules before visiting to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
  4. Don't forget your camera to capture the beauty of Austin's parks and gardens.

During my first visit to Zilker Park, I decided to rent a kayak and paddle around Lady Bird Lake. After a few minutes of paddling, I realized that I was hopelessly lost and had no idea how to get back to the rental shop. I ended up spending two hours paddling in circles before finally admitting defeat and calling the rental shop to come find me. While it was frustrating at the time, it's now one of my favorite memories of exploring Austin's parks and gardens.

Another time, I visited Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve with some friends and we stumbled upon a group of peacocks. We didn't realize at the time just how many peacocks were roaming around the park, so we were quite surprised when we turned a corner and found ourselves surrounded by a group of these majestic birds. Needless to say, we spent the rest of the afternoon trying to capture the perfect peacock selfie.

Overall, Austin's parks and gardens offer a wide range of experiences and are a must-visit for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. From hiking and picnicking to admiring beautiful art and wildlife, there's something for everyone in Austin's natural spaces. So grab your walking shoes and a picnic blanket, and get ready to explore the natural beauty of Austin!

4. Outdoor Art and Culture

Things to Do in Austin

Are you an art enthusiast looking for outdoor things to do in Austin? If so, you're in luck! Austin is home to some incredible outdoor art and cultural activities that will satisfy your creative cravings. From graffiti parks to sculpture falls, here are the top 5 outdoor art and culture activities in Austin that you must experience.

A. Overview of Outdoor Art and Culture in Austin

Austin is a city that celebrates creativity in all forms. Whether you're a fan of street art, sculpture, or contemporary art, you'll find something to appreciate in Austin's outdoor art scene. The city is known for its eclectic mix of public art installations, museums, and galleries that showcase local and international talent.

B. Top 5 Outdoor Art and Culture Activities in Austin

  • Graffiti Park at Castle Hill: Graffiti Park at Castle Hill is a must-visit for anyone interested in street art. This outdoor gallery is located on the side of a hill and features vibrant murals and graffiti from local and international artists. You'll be amazed by the talent on display here, and it's the perfect spot for a photoshoot or to simply admire the art.

  • Laguna Gloria: Laguna Gloria is a beautiful 1916 Mediterranean-style villa that houses the Contemporary Austin museum. The villa is surrounded by 14 acres of lush gardens and is home to several outdoor sculptures and installations. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the gardens and enjoy the art while taking in the stunning views of Lake Austin.

  • The Contemporary Austin: The Contemporary Austin is a museum that showcases contemporary art from around the world. The museum has two locations, the Jones Center and Laguna Gloria, both of which feature outdoor installations and sculptures. The Jones Center is located downtown and is housed in a renovated 1950s building, while Laguna Gloria is located on Lake Austin and features a mix of indoor and outdoor exhibitions.

  • Sculpture Falls: Sculpture Falls is a popular hiking trail that leads to a series of cascading waterfalls. The trail is dotted with several outdoor sculptures, including “Synchronicity of Color” by Bill Starke and “Balance Beam” by Matt Donovan. The falls themselves are a stunning sight to behold and provide the perfect backdrop for an outdoor picnic.

  • The Hope Outdoor Gallery: The Hope Outdoor Gallery is a unique outdoor art space that allows artists to showcase their work on the walls of abandoned buildings. The gallery is constantly changing, with new murals and installations popping up all the time. It's a great spot to explore and discover new talent.

C. Tips for Experiencing Austin's Outdoor Art and Culture

When exploring Austin's outdoor art and cultural activities, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, be respectful of the art and the artists who created it. Don't touch or deface any of the pieces, and make sure to clean up after yourself if you're having a picnic or hanging out in a park.

Secondly, wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Many of the outdoor art spaces require walking or hiking, so you'll want to be prepared for that. Additionally, some of the outdoor spaces can get quite hot during the summer, so be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

Lastly, take your time and enjoy the experience. Austin's outdoor art and cultural activities are meant to be enjoyed, so don't rush through them. Take the time to appreciate the art and the surroundings, and immerse yourself in the creativity that Austin has to offer.

One of my favorite memories of experiencing outdoor art in Austin was when I stumbled upon a group of artists creating a new mural at the Hope Outdoor Gallery. They were working tirelessly in the hot sun, and I couldn't help but admire their dedication to their craft. I struck up a conversation with one of the artists, and he told me about the challenges and rewards of creating art in a public space. We ended up chatting for hours, and I left feeling inspired and energized.

Another time, I visited the Sculpture Falls trail with a group of friends. We were all amazed by the natural beauty of the falls and the sculptures that dotted the trail. We stopped for a picnic at one of the scenic overlooks and spent the afternoon admiring the art and enjoying each other's company. It was a perfect day spent in the great outdoors.

In conclusion, Austin's outdoor art and cultural activities offer something for everyone. From the colorful murals at Graffiti Park to the serene beauty of Laguna Gloria, there's no shortage of creativity to be found in this city. By following these tips and taking your time to appreciate the art, you'll have an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling inspired and energized. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore Austin's outdoor art and cultural scene today!


Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or just looking to get some fresh air, Austin has something for everyone. From scenic hikes to stunning waterfalls, there are plenty of things to see and do in Austin's great outdoors. Before embarking on any activity, be sure to research and plan accordingly, and remember to stay safe and respect the environment.

Ready to explore Austin's outdoor scene? Start by picking one of the top 5 activities that interests you the most, and plan a trip to experience it for yourself. Don't forget to share your experiences and recommendations with others on social media using the hashtag #OutdoorThingsToDoInAustin.

In conclusion, Austin's outdoor scene is a must-see for anyone looking for a taste of nature and adventure. With these top 5 outdoor things to do in Austin, you're sure to have an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags, grab your hiking boots, and get ready for an adventure like no other in the heart of Texas!

Here Are some links to external Resources

Barton Creek Greenbelt:
Mount Bonnell:
St. Edwards Park:
Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park:
McKinney Falls State Park:


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