Any day you’re on the lake is a good day and Lake Travis is a perfect getaway for those looking to get out on some water. The businesses that have sprung up around the lake in far west Austin, Lakeway and other nearby towns are seemingly all designed to get you to relax, have fun, and indulge in a staycation.
Stand Up Paddleboarding on Lake Travis. Credit Everstream and Co.
On the Water
You don’t visit the Lake Travis area without getting on (and in) Lake Travis. For a slow sunset, sunrise, or private event (e.g. bachelorette party), call the people at Sail ATX. They’ll cruise you around the lake in style. For something speedier, Austin’s Boat Tours has a huge range of options from speed boats to pontoon rentals, jet skis to party barges. Yes, with a slide. If you get a captained boat, they’ll even grill your food and make your drinks. Make sure to check out Devil’s Cove, the spot where everyone drops anchor, ties up, and has a massive lake party each weekend. Fans of American Ninja Warrior should book the all-day lake experience at Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures. It’s a floating water park and obstacle course with a bonus island getaway. Two football fields of floating obstacles, lakefront property, hammocks, floating picnic tables, and beach games is kind of the ultimate day at the lake. Back on shore, the Volente Beach Resort and Waterpark is packed with awesome themed water slides like the Pirate Ship, Texas Twister, the Sidewinder plus a beach, a protected swim area, volleyball, and a game lounge. They also host the annual Jaws on the Water event put on by Alamo Drafthouse and it’s a perfect viewing spot for the Fourth of July annual fireworks show.
Courtesy of Lake Travis Zipline.
Lake Travis Activities
Ziplines aren’t for the faint of heart but Lake Travis Zipline is worth getting over your fear. In addition to zipping around the longest zip line in Texas, you’ll be treated to a three-hour hike and get access to their private lakefront property with all snacks and equipment included. Take on a couple of holes at the gorgeous golf courses in and around the Lake Travis area. The Hills of Lakeway Country Club has beautiful greens, designed by Jack Nicklaus and features 36 holes. To make a day of it, head to Point Venture Golf, play your rounds and then hang out at Caddie Shack Sports bar for some live music, a dance floor, and all the bar games and sports you want. Picnic, swim, fish, boat and yes, scuba, at Mansfield Dam Park. Bring your sneakers to take on the hike and bike trail or bring your BCD to explore the underwater trail with dive attractions like a sunken boat and geological interest points.
TR Restaurant. Courtesy of Lakeway Resort & Spa.
Restaurants Near Lake Travis
All that time out in nature requires some sustenance. If you’re at Volente Waterpark, make it easy and eat at Beachside Billy’s or Beach Burgers & BBQ trailer. Both serve pub grub and barbecue while Blu’s Beach Bar keeps you in cold ones. Head to Emerald Point Bar & Grill “by land or by lake.” Live music, water views, and pub grub make this floating restaurant an easy win for your lake crew. Level up your evening with a dinner and some craft cocktails and beer at Hops and Thyme in neighboring Lakeway. It’s worth freshening up a bit to sit on their oak shaded patio, drink one of the thirty six beers on tap, and share thoughtful dishes from their new American menu. Thin and crispy is the right way to do pizza at nearby Mangieri’s. They take well-deserved pride in their cold fermentation dough and in locally sourcing their seasonal, organic ingredients. The Sundancer Grill at the Sail and Ski Yacht Club is a pricier option but those views are stunning. Overlooking the marina, the menu runs the gamut from pub fare to mixed grill, shrimp and grits to fried chicken and waffles.
Courtesy of Oasis Texas Brewing Company.
Bars Near Lake Travis
Lakeway Resort and Spa is a beautiful and relaxing place to stay, and a fun place to drink given its multiple establishments. Come here to have a beverage and a bite at TR Restaurant, Bar and Lounge or The Sunset Pool Bar & Grill. Book a room to stay overnight and treat yourself to some spa services while you’re at it. For something lower key, floating restaurant the Gnarly Gar wins for its location and its name. The Gnarly Gar is exactly what you would expect—a good time spot where you can wear your flip flops, eat some fried pickles, and clink a few with friends. If you come by boat, they have complimentary boat parking. There’s something about having a cold glass of rose and feeling like you’re on top of the world (on a rooftop deck.) That’s what you’ll find at Canyon Grille Rough Hollow. A menu that’s upscale but not pretentious, a killer happy hour, and sunset views that won’t quit. Locals love Shack 512 because it feels like a vacation spot. Fire up some frozen drinks while you sit outside catchin’ all those sweet breezes. Don’t skip the tableside s’mores to share. Also on the lake is The Oasis on Lake Travis. This multi-story building is best known for its incredible sunset views and live music events happening weekly. Don’t miss The Brew on Sunday nights, a Latin band with free salsa lessons. After sunset, head up to the neighboring Oasis Texas Brewing Company for a cold beer on the rooftop patio.