Are you wondering where to go to SUP in Austin? Then check out this list of 10 places to paddle. Plus local’s only information on where to paddle board in Austin, TX!
Austin is known for a few things. BBQ, live music, for being WEIRD. And wanting to keep it that way, and more recently, for SUP.
The ever-growing population of the city harbors a love for the outdoors and the activities you can experience while out there. From mountain biking to running, rock climbing, and more, Austinites are an active bunch. This love for the outdoors has translated into a large paddling community with plenty of places to explore.
Here is a list of our Top 10 places to paddle on your SUP the next time you are in the live music capital of the world!
*Bonus Locations: Huge shoutout to Chris Duncan (@duncanhustle on Instagram) for some in-depth local knowledge on our bonus locations! Keep reading to the end to get the secret local locations you won’t find in any other article. And be sure to check out his Atoll paddling adventures starting HERE with a paddle around the Statue of Liberty in New York!
Let’s get to it!
1. Lady Bird Lake
Coming in at number one happens to be the most popular spot for visitors and locals to post up when the temperature hits the mid-90’s and higher – Lady Bird Lake.
Situated at the center of the city, Lady Bird acts as the central hub for people to hang out, enjoy the sun, swim, and of course paddle. Paddle here and you can make your way through downtown Austin for some of the best views of the skyline.
Head to Lady Bird if you’re looking to meet other SUP enthusiasts, want a relaxed, party-like atmosphere, and don’t mind a crowd. Avoid it if you want private time in an uncrowded space.
2. Lake Travis
Our next spot, Lake Travis, is located about a 30-minute drive outside of the city center, making it the weekend getaway spot for locals. The lake itself covers a vast amount of space with over 18,000 acres available for your paddling pleasure and is surrounded by the natural beauty that is abundant in Texas.
Once done paddling, be sure to check out the local restaurants, wineries, and breweries for an afternoon bite to eat next to the lake after a long morning paddle.
Head to Lake Travis if you want a larger arena to paddle with the amenities of a vacation spot.
3. Spring Lake
Paddling on Spring Lake is akin to spending time in the Caribbean. Why? Due to its limestone bottom, it is the clearest body of water in Texas. Standing atop your inflatable paddle board you’ll be able to see a few feet into the water to spot fish, plants, and other wildlife abundant in the waters. Skip the expensive trip to the islands and instead head to Spring Lake for a taste of the tropics in Texas.
4. Lake Austin
People always ask us, “Can you fish on your Atoll iSUP?” And the answer we emphatically give is, “Yes!” Our inflatable boards are stable enough to handle reeling in the big one and can easily float you, a cooler, and your tackle box.
Typically, customers get excited and then ask, “Where is the best place to fish on a SUP?” Well, we have one right here with our next selection…
Full of all types of interesting species, Lake Austin has quickly become the place in the city to fish on all types of crafts – including your SUP!
We recommend that if you choose to head here to paddle board in Austin, make sure you have some experience. Due to high boat traffic, it can be a challenge for the new paddler.
5. Secret Beach
Shhh…this next one is our little secret.
Just as its name suggests, Secret Beach is difficult to find but will offer the greatest amount of privacy compared to the other spots on our list.
You might have some luck searching on Google Maps, but if you still can’t find its location, ask a local! They will be able to point you in the right direction.
What makes this spot to paddle board in Austin great is its beautiful rocky shoreline, close proximity to downtown, and lack of crowds. Paddle here if you want to enjoy some peace and quiet!
6. West End
Don’t want to search for Secret Beach but also not a fan of the crowds in Lady Bird? Then your spot to paddle board in Austin just might be West End. Located appropriately at the western end of Lady Bird Lake, this section is devoid of crowds, parties, noise, and cringe-inducing selfie machines.
Paddle underneath the bridges that connect the city and watch the sunset over the city’s skyline. This is the spot to be for any paddler looking for a quiet time on the water.
7. Festival Beach
Festival Beach is a scenic stretch of the Colorado River that is perfect for the paddler not looking for all the fuss our previous launch points have. Head to Festival Beach if you want to be surrounded by nature, have an easy access point to enter the water, and are here strictly to get some paddling in.
8. Barton Creek
If you want a short paddle that will get you on the water fast, head to Barton Creek. Here, you can get it all – a fun paddle in clear, cool water fed by a natural spring, fun rope swings to jump into the creek, plenty of natural wildlife, wonderful views of the Austin skyline when you reach the end, and a calm body of water perfect for the beginner all the way up to the experienced. It’s one of the best places to paddle board in Austin!
9. Congress Ave Bridge
Feeling a little batty? Then head to Congress Ave Bridge on your inflatable paddle board to see Austin’s iconic bat population fly overhead during sunset. Yes, that’s right, Austin has a thriving bat population in this area and most SUP and kayak companies offer sunset tours to see them fly in the sun’s setting rays.
Bonus: If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge while you SUP in Austin, you can take this launch point all the way down to Greenbelt for an extended trip on the water. Just remember to plot your course before you go, and bring plenty of water!
10. Snake Island
Located in the center of Lady Bird Lake lies an island made completely of snakes.
It’s quite the opposite really. This locals spot has a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of other paddlers sharing space. And having fun while you SUP in Austin. A little bonus. At night Live Love Paddle hosts a nighttime tour to the shores of this island where they put on live music and build a campfire. It’s a relaxing time underneath the Austin skyline with a great group of people.
Bonus Locations from @duncanhustle – an Austin local!
The Sand Bar on Town Lake
Located exactly where Barton Creek meets Town Lake. Every Saturday and Sunday there is a huge party here with hundreds of paddleboards. There’s usually a DJ and plenty of people to meet. The sand bar is a spot on town lake where it’s about 3-4 foot deep. People can stand in the water, drink their favorite cold beverages, and even grill on their paddleboards if they want. It’s a must-experience. Definitely the largest paddleboard party on the planet and it happens every weekend. 2 pm is a good time to show up.
Commons Ford Park
A hidden gem in Austin, it’s nestled into the Texas Hill Country 20 mins west of Downtown Austin. You will walk 5-mins down the main trail to get to the park. The trail is beautiful in itself. Huge mature trees and it follows a small creek to the main park. The park is about 200 x 200 yards and is located on the Colorado River. Here people lay out towels on the grass and enjoy the views. It’s a great place to paddle around. Then come back in for a nap on your blanket. Or to play some volleyball or corn hole.
Jessica Hollis Park
This is where the Mansfield Dam meets the Colorado River. It’s a beautiful spot right below the dam. This part of the river has a secret though: It’s the coldest water in Austin. The extremely deep water of the dam feeds the river right here. And water temps are around 59 degrees in the heat of summer months.
Town Lake in downtown Austin *at night*
Put in anywhere downtown and you’ll have the most peaceful night under the city lights you’ve ever experienced. Recommended put-in area: Auditorium Shores.
Austin is a fun city located in the center of Texas. It’s known for nightlife, music, and outdoor activities. Each has shaped the populace into the weird band of hippies and nature lovers that they are. This makes for a unique feel for a city in Texas. And also offers some of the best spots to SUP in Austin!
We hope you enjoyed this list of our favorite paddling locations in the city. If you are looking to purchase an Atoll iSUP in Austin, then reach out to a favorite outfitter of ours – Greenbelt Outdoors. Support local businesses and get on the water – all in one afternoon.
Do you have a favorite spot in Austin you’d like to share? Let us know! Our inbox is always open. Until next time Atoll fam – adventure on!