Nestled in the heart of Austin, Texas, Lady Bird Lake is a serene reservoir that offers a myriad of recreational activities and scenic views. Named after the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, this urban oasis is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an outdoor adventurer, or someone looking for a peaceful escape, Lady Bird Lake has something to offer for everyone. Here’s a guide to some of the best things to do on Lady Bird Lake.

Aerial view of Party Island SUP Paddle Boarding on Lady Bird Lake, austinpaddletours.com, www.austinpaddletours.com, https://www.austinpaddletours.com
SUP paddling around Congress Avenue Bridge offers a little bit of city and a little bit of country all in one. If you paddle close to the bridge, you’ll get to enjoy electrifying city views. If you prefer more of a nature experience, you can gather up your ice chest and SUP paddle over to Party Island or SUP Paddle Boarding on Lady Bird Lake. It’s a bit of a trek, but it’s worth it! The bridge is another popular spot to catch bat SUP tours, and here, the view is even better.

1. Kayaking, Canoeing and Rowing

Lady Bird Lake is a kayaker’s paradise. Rent a paddle board, kayak or a canoe and paddle along the calm waters while taking in the picturesque views of the Austin skyline. Paddling under the iconic Congress Avenue Bridge is a must-do, especially during the summer months when you can witness the famous bat colony emerging at sunset.

Rowers practice during vibrant sunrise on Lake Austin, austinpaddletours.com, www.austinpaddletours.com, https://www.austinpaddletours.com
Rowers practice during vibrant sunrise on Lake Austin

2. Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

For a unique and engaging water experience, try stand-up paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake. Stand tall on your board as you navigate the lake, enjoying both a full-body workout and the tranquility of the water. Rentals and lessons are readily available for beginners.

Aerial view looking over kayaks and canoes on Barton Creek austinpaddletours.com, www.austinpaddletours.com, https://www.austinpaddletours.com
This is an aerial view from a drone high above the emerald green waters of Barton Creek, a lazy half mile run down to the Colorado River where many paddlers go for a leisurely few hours on the water in canoes and kayaks. Recent residential development on the upper reaches of the creek have eliminated some previous access points, and others are either difficult to find, difficult to access, or both. Starting barely northeast of the Hays-Travis County in the Texas Hill Country, most of the creek flows inside Austin city limit, ending at downtown Austin where it meets the Colorado River at Town Lake alongside Zilker Park.

3. Hiking and Biking Trails

The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, a 10-mile loop around the lake, provides an excellent opportunity for walking, running, and biking. The trail is surrounded by lush greenery and offers stunning views of the water and the cityscape. Whether you’re an avid runner or prefer a leisurely stroll, this trail caters to all fitness levels.

A young attractive fit woman in a bikini on a paddle board exercising on Lady Bird Lake, Austin, Texas, austinpaddletours.com, www.austinpaddletours.com, https://www.austinpaddletours.com
A young attractive fit woman in a bikini on a paddle board exercising on Lady Bird Lake, Austin, Texas

4. Bat Watching:

  1. Austin is famous for its bat population, and Lady Bird Lake is one of the best places to witness the spectacle. Around sunset, head to the Congress Avenue Bridge to see the Mexican free-tailed bats emerge in a mesmerizing cloud. Boat tours are available for those who want a unique vantage point from the water.
girl surfer laying on the SUP stand-up paddle board soaking up sun rays in the clear water of Lady Bird Lake, Austin, Texas, austinpaddletours.com, www.austinpaddletours.com, https://www.austinpaddletours.com
A girl-surfer laying on the SUP stand-up paddle board soaking up sun rays in the clear water of Lady Bird Lake, during sunset in Austin, Texas.

5. Fishing

  1. Fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the diverse species of fish in Lady Bird Lake, including bass and catfish. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, the lake provides a peaceful setting for a day of fishing. Make sure to check local regulations and obtain the necessary permits.
Beautiful Sunset falls on the Austin Skyline as water enthusiast kayak and canoe on Lake Austin, austinpaddletours.com, www.austinpaddletours.com, https://www.austinpaddletours.com
Two attractive, fit women sunbathing on SUP stand-up paddle boards at a secret cove on Lady Bird Town Lake.

6. Picnicking and Relaxation

Enjoy a relaxing day by packing a picnic and lounging in one of the many parks that line Lady Bird Lake. Zilker Metropolitan Park and Auditorium Shores are popular spots with ample green space, perfect for a family outing or a romantic date.

Attractive young woman in bikini on stand up paddle board (SUP) in the beautiful blue waters of Lady Bird Lake, austinpaddletours.com, www.austinpaddletours.com, https://www.austinpaddletours.com
Attractive young woman in bikini on stand up paddle board (SUP) in the beautiful blue waters of Lake Bird Lake, Austin, Texas.

7. Cruise on a Riverboat

Experience Lady Bird Lake from a different perspective by taking a riverboat cruise. Several tour companies offer narrated cruises, providing insights into the history, architecture, and natural beauty of the area. It’s a delightful way to unwind and learn more about the city.

Silhouette of People kayaking and canoeing on Lady Bird Lake at Sunset, austinpaddletours.com, www.austinpaddletours.com, https://www.austinpaddletours.com
Silhouette of People kayaking and canoeing on Lady Bird Lake during golden Sunset, Austin, Texas.

Lady Bird Lake stands as a testament to Austin’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty amidst urban development. Whether you prefer an active day on the water or a leisurely stroll along the shores, the lake offers a diverse range of activities for everyone. So, grab your outdoor gear, embrace the Texas sun, and immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Lady Bird Lake.

Can’t make it to Austin, then bring Austin to you by visiting the Austin Welcome Center where you can book cool and weird short-term rentals, tours and find Austin’s largest assortment of cool and hip, Austin photos, and bat art. We have the best selection of bat images in the country? Check out our gallery of Austin photos. This makes for an easy, fun, and stylish decor solution for your home and office.