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Parks and nature in Austin

Top parks

Park
“Zilker Park is where ACL happens, where a great Zilker Christmas Light Show is, where the Stevie Ray Vaughn bronze is. Close enough to Casa Willow and Holly Neighborhood. Google what is happening at Zilker when you come.”
  • 811 locals recommend
Other Great Outdoors
“Go to the Greenbelt for a hike and a swim in the river. Enter at Spyglass Dr. and Barton Highway. 5min uber there, 3min uber back.”
  • 220 locals recommend
Botanical Garden
“Zilker Botanical Garden — located on 26 acres nestled within Zilker Metropolitan Park in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas, Zilker Botanical Garden is often called “the jewel in the heart of Austin”. Theme gardens such as the Taniguchi Japanese Garden, Riparian Streambed, and Rose Garden are interconnected with streams, waterfalls and Koi-filled ponds, while the Hartman Prehistoric Garden recreates a Cretaceous habitat filled with plants from the time of the dinosaurs. Featuring heritage live oaks set into a hillside, the Garden offers a lush, shady respite perfect for an urban get-away stroll.”
  • 124 locals recommend
Trail
“5.6 miles. Every local knows it for its swimming hole, but the only state park in Austin’s borders is also a hiker's dream. The three-trail system lets you choose your own adventure. History buffs will enjoy taking the Homestead Trail, which takes you to the ruins of namesake Thomas McKinney’s stone house and gristmill. Families with very young children should opt for the stroller-friendly Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail, while introverts can travel along the less-popular Rock Shelter Trail, shaded by limestone cliffs. ”
  • 114 locals recommend
Park
“Auditorium Shores is often the locale for outdoor concerts, festivals and other events. Other times, it is a great open space for a game of frisbee, flying a kite or letting your dog roam freely. The Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial statue is located at Auditorium Shores, along the south bank of Lady Bird Lake on the Hike-and-Bike Trail.”
  • 137 locals recommend
Garden
“The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin is the state botanical garden and arboretum of Texas. The center features more than 900 species of native Texas plants in both garden and natural settings and is home to a breadth of educational programs and events. The center is 284 acres and straddles both Edwards Plateau and Texas Blackland Prairies ecosystems.”
  • 100 locals recommend
Playground
“Mueller Lake Park is, hands down, the most beautiful park in Austin, in my opinion. It has a wonderful playground for the kids across from the Thinkery kids museum, plus beautiful trails alongside a gorgeous lake. There’s even a food park area and an amphitheater where locals play/teach bocce ball. ”
  • 82 locals recommend
Park
“11.5 miles. With its lilypad-covered ponds and wandering peacocks, a visit to Mayfield Nature Preserve will instantly transport you to another, more magical, realm. The entire preserve, which surrounds the historic Mayfield-Gutsch Estate (now an event space), is 24 acres but the main trail is very easy and will only take you about 30 minutes to walk.”
  • 83 locals recommend

Playgrounds

Playground
“Mueller Lake Park is, hands down, the most beautiful park in Austin, in my opinion. It has a wonderful playground for the kids across from the Thinkery kids museum, plus beautiful trails alongside a gorgeous lake. There’s even a food park area and an amphitheater where locals play/teach bocce ball. ”
  • 82 locals recommend
Park
“walking biking jogging trail, takes you straight into downtown and the Whole Foods monolith. ”
  • 46 locals recommend
Park
“One of the largest strip malls in the area. They also have a wonder movie theater with great reclining seats. Just down Old San Antonio towards Austin.”
  • 30 locals recommend
Park
“stacy park is a mini greenbelt along blunn creek, its a great way to walk the neighborhood”
  • 19 locals recommend
Park
“One of the most amazing park in Austin! Jungle gyms for the kids and huge trees for shelter from the sun. This park has a pool, basketball court, and a softball field!”
  • 20 locals recommend
Playground
“Great Austin city line views and walking trails -- check out on Sunday for the local farmer's market and for local events throughout the year”
  • 10 locals recommend
Playground
“Small park next to Zilker Elementary. Playscape's and a basketball court. Easy walk if your youngsters need to burn off some energy.”
  • 7 locals recommend
Park
“Local park with tennis courts, basketball, playground, swimming pool. Trivia: the baseball game from Dazed and Confused was filmed at the baseball field in this park. ”
  • 10 locals recommend

Beaches

Beach
“Dinner, drinks, food appetizers, music, and water park. Call or check website to check hours and schedule of events *Park will be closed a few days each Summer for private parties. Please check calendar before arriving to make sure park is open to public. * YOU CAN bring your own tubes, life jackets, floaties etc to enjoy the lake and courtesy swim area *No outside alcohol, glass containers, uncooked food, pets, horseplay, or offensive behavior allowed in the water park at any time. * No age minimum for children. They have a Pirate Ship area that is wonderful for kids under 2 years of age. This area requires parent supervision. ”
  • 13 locals recommend
Beach
“4.3 miles. This technically isn't a "swimming hole," and it's not very "secret," either, but Secret Beach is a must on this list. In the ​Roy G. Guerrero Metropolitan Park park along the Colorado River you'll find a sandy spot that's perfect for posting up and lounging. If tubing is your thing, you can also plan a leisurely float down the river. This little spot is dog- and kid-friendly.”
  • 15 locals recommend

Trails

Trail
“5.6 miles. Every local knows it for its swimming hole, but the only state park in Austin’s borders is also a hiker's dream. The three-trail system lets you choose your own adventure. History buffs will enjoy taking the Homestead Trail, which takes you to the ruins of namesake Thomas McKinney’s stone house and gristmill. Families with very young children should opt for the stroller-friendly Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail, while introverts can travel along the less-popular Rock Shelter Trail, shaded by limestone cliffs. ”
  • 114 locals recommend
Garden
“The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin is the state botanical garden and arboretum of Texas. The center features more than 900 species of native Texas plants in both garden and natural settings and is home to a breadth of educational programs and events. The center is 284 acres and straddles both Edwards Plateau and Texas Blackland Prairies ecosystems.”
  • 100 locals recommend
Lake
“Kayaking is a low impact, enjoyable way to spend an hour or two on the water. There are tons of sea turtles and cranes for wildlife, and gorgeous views of Austin from the water. ”
  • 88 locals recommend
Pedestrian Plaza
“LADY BIRD LAKE is great for runners & joggers! A variety of boat rentals are available around Lady Bird Lake. The following are: *Austin Rowing Club is located on the lake behind the Four Seasons Hotel. They offer a variety rowing programs for junior and adult rowers. *Rowing Dock are located west of MoPac on the south shore of the lake, entrance off Stratford Drive in Zilker Park. They offer kayaks, paddle boats and stand up paddle boards for rent, camps and instruction. *Texas Rowing Center is located on the lake just south of Austin High School. They offer rowing, kayak/canoe rentals and lessons. *Zilker Park Boat Rentals is located on Barton Creek.”
  • 31 locals recommend
Park
“walking biking jogging trail, takes you straight into downtown and the Whole Foods monolith. ”
  • 46 locals recommend
Park
“Interactive natural science museum 80-acre nature center features educational exhibits including replicas of fossils & dinosaur tracks.”
  • 27 locals recommend
Pedestrian Plaza
“A walk over the Colorado River in the scenic southeastern part of the Hike and Bike Trail.”
  • 33 locals recommend
Trail
“A light hike you can do with the kids... sometimes there’s water in the creek and sometimes not... still fun either way... just 15 min hike each way... and right in our backyard... literally! ”
  • 22 locals recommend