Austin, Texas’s capital, is famous for having sunshine almost all year. Where is the perfect place to enjoy it? On the beach, of course.
Austin is best spent at the beach when not appreciating the city’s architecture, food, and nightlife. While Austin is 200 miles (322 kilometers) from the Gulf of Mexico, soaking up the Texas heat at the water’s edge is among the best things to do in Austin. We compiled a list of the best lakeside and riverside beaches near the city, including secluded stretches and popular spots for activities like kayaking and paddle-boarding.
Padre Island National Seashore
This national seashore, established in 1962, has over 65 miles of untapped Gulf beach. Padre Island is a naturalist’s dream. The park is serene and untouched, with 70 miles of pristine coastline, dunes, prairies, and tidal wind flats teeming with wildlife.
Not to mention that the park contains historical wonders and is home to over 370 bird species. And, did we say that it’s among the prettiest beaches in Texas?
Balmorhea State Park
This 46-acre park, open since 1968, entices visitors with its immaculate spring-fed pool. Want to get away from the Texas heat? Spend the weekend by yourself or with loved ones in Balmorhea State Park.
You can spend hours scuba diving and swim in its 1.3-acre, 3.5-million-gallon pool. This park also has shady trees where you can relax. We recommend spending a weekend in this state park because it is 394 miles from Austin (a 5-hour drive).
Lake Pflugerville Beach
This beach is where to go if you like to mix sunbathing with water-based activities. On this stretch of shore, canoeing, windsurfing, and kayaking are all popular activities, like cycling and jogging on land. It’s the place where you could spend the entire day, so bring a picnic and begin making the most of it.
This beach’s ma,e gives it away: Secret Beach is more secluded. It isn’t easy to find due to its location on Grove Boulevard, though that’s all part of the fun. It’s a lovely site to spend an afternoon, but swimming is not permitted.
This 27-mile-long seaside terrain on the Bolivar Peninsula is a widely known Texas getaway. Crystal Beach offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages.
This beach is perfect for spending the weekend looking for shells and shark teeth, boogie boarding, building sand castles, and surf fishing. You can also participate in beach activities or relax in the sun.
Boca Chica State Park
With more than 10,000 acres of white sand beaches and dunes, this Gulf Coast state park is jam-packed with fun. Boca Chica is, without a doubt, among the best beach getaways from Austin.
This park provides numerous opportunities for ocean activities such as kiteboarding, swimming, surfing, and snorkeling. Similarly, you can unwind on the park’s shoreline or go birdwatching.
We recommend spending at least two days in this state park. Boca Chica, like Balmorhea, is a 5-hour drive from Austin, making a day outing to this state park impractical.
West Lake Beach
Although West Lake Beach is available to the public, this fee-based marina is occasionally closed for private events, so it’s always best to call ahead to confirm its status. You can take a dip in a roped-off area here, but there is no lifeguard on duty. Other attractions include a fishing pond, a volleyball court, and a horseshoe pit.
Emma Long Park Beach
Also recognized as City Park, Emma Long Park is a popular beach location in West Austin’s hills. This shallow water beach on Lake Austin’s shores is always bustling with activity, such as sandcastle building, kayaking, and picnics. It’s a lovely place to take the family and a great place to camp.
Volente Beach Water Park
This colorful aquatic wonderland, nestled across Lake Travis, offers over 4 acres of splashy fun.
Volente Beach Water Park is jam-packed with activities. It has a sandy beach near Austin and a lively boutique water park. The water park features several waterslides, a volleyball court, a pirate-themed kiddie play area, and a restaurant.
The designated parking area is somewhat distant from the waterpark. We recommend you pull up to the entrance and unload some of your belongings. Then, park in one of the designated lots or on Dodd Street.
This seaside hideaway in Rockport is the state’s first “Blue Wave Beach.” Rockport is the best swimming beach in the area, thanks to its clear waters and gentle surf.
There’s also a saltwater lagoon where children can swim and play. In addition, the beach hosts some events and festivals throughout the year. Because the beach is three hours away from Austin, we recommend it as a weekend getaway.
Explore the other Rockport attractions to spice up your weekend getaway. Birdwatching, strolling through Rockport’s downtown area, or visiting the Aransas Wildlife Refuge are all options.
Mustang Island State Park
This 3,954-acre park, established in 1979, is home to one of the area’s nice beaches. This island has more than 5 miles of coastline and plenty of space for sun and sand fun. You can relax on the beach, observe birds, explore the pristine park, and go fishing in the bay.
Stay at a drive-up primitive campsite for a memorable weekend getaway. You can also visit Corpus Christi to spice up your weekend excursion.
This mid-sized town is easily accessible by car from Mustang Island. Aside from its excellent seafood, the town has a variety of interesting attractions, such as the Texas State Aquarium.
Pace Bend Park
Pace Bend Park has more than 8 miles of shoreline across Lake Travis, making it an ideal weekend getaway from Austin. The park has all you need for a fun and relaxing beach vacation. A boat ramp, hiking and biking trails, a rope swing, fishing coves, geocaching locations, and a boat ramp are all available.
Of course, it has plenty of swimming space and is a fantastic location for cliff jumping. You should also think about staying overnight in this park. This popular camping spot offers ideal conditions for bonfires and stargazing.
Russell Park Beach is located on Lake Georgetown’s west side, 45 minutes from Austin. The park’s pebble beach and swimming area will delight visitors. In addition, the park is a popular destination for camping, hiking, biking, and sunbathing.
Flathead catfish, white bass, and smallmouth bass are plentiful for those who enjoy fishing.