CHILL OUT IN AUSTIN’S SUMMER SUN

Lake AustinAustin heats up in summer, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy the sun and stay cool. Take a dip in a refreshing pool, kick back with an iced beverage or take in colorful sunsets.

A few of our top picks for keeping it chill:

In the heart of south Austin is Barton Springs, a refreshing spring-fed swimming pool. Spend the afternoon sprawled beneath the pecan trees or swimming in the calm, inviting water. Admission is very reasonable ($4 for non-resident adults), but early risers and night owls enjoy free swimming before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

The nearby Barton Creek Greenbelt is a 7.25-mile stretch of natural beauty, featuring limestone cliffs, lush foliage and pools, perfect for swimming, cliff diving and kayaking (if water levels allow). If you hike along Bull Creek Greenbelt, bring a swimsuit, as there are many small waterfalls to slide down and pools to swim in.

A quick drive and a brisk 10-minute hike (bring sturdy shoes) will lead you to Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve. This stunning grotto features a 50-foot waterfall that plunges into clear blue waters, creating an ideal spot for swimming, picnicking and relaxing. Warm summer days bring many visitors to the pool, so get there early.

Another fun way to keep cool is evening kayaking, sailing or stand-up paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake. Austin Sailboat Rentals offers a variety of water recreation rentals, as well as tours, lessons and group outings.

Cool off culinary style with a blackberry mint margarita from Maudie's Café or a legendary Mexican Martini at Trudy's. Be sure to grab a plate of traditional Tex-Mex while you're at it. Soak in the views over Lake Austin from Hula Hut's patio, a tiki-inspired restaurant serving up delicious Mexican food and refreshing libations, like the "Hu La La," served aquarium-style and made with tropical juices. The Oasis Restaurant is one of the best places to chill out in Austin. Located atop a 450-foot cliff, The Oasis is the primo sunset spot in the city, offering unmatched views of Lake Travis.

For a cool treat grab a GoodPop, frozen popsicles made with all-natural ingredients. Try the Hibiscus Mint, a customer favorite, or one of the seasonal specialties like Mango Chile.

End a hot summer day in Austin watching the Mexico free-tailed bats emerge from the South Congress Bridge. Head to chavez at the Radisson Austin and sip a Paloma (Camarena silver, grapefruit and salt) or locally brewed Independence "Stash" IPA poolside, or enjoy half-price appetizers and $5 wine at happy hour on Trio's patio, as the bats perform their nightly aerial show.