Hiking, biking, standup paddleboarding, swimming, bat watching (yes, you read that right)—no matter your bliss, you really can choose your own outdoor adventure in Austin. You don’t have to venture far to enjoy nature in Austin, whether you’re looking to walk a few minutes to your next adventure or take a short drive to nearby Texas Hill Country. DOWNTOWN Get outdoors in the heart of downtown at Zilker Park, a 351-acre oasis of lush grass, colorful botanicals, quiet picnic areas, outdoor music concerts and gorgeous waterfront views of Lady Bird Lake. Soak in the sunshine at the park’s famous Barton Springs Pool, where you can jump into the spring-fed waters or kick back on the grassy hillside. If you’re looking to get active on the water, rent a stand-up paddleboard from SUP ATX at the Texas Rowing Center to paddle Lady Bird Lake. Or explore downtown’s waterfront on a guided kayak tour with Live Love Paddle. Runners and bikers will love the 10- mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake, which passes over shimmering waters and offers panoramic views of Austin’s skyline. Once the sun begins to set, get a good spot on Congress Avenue Bridge to watch an incredible phenomenon— 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats fluttering into the night sky from beneath the bridge—which occurs nightly from March to October. EASY DAY TRIPS In nearby Dripping Springs, escape to Hamilton Pool Preserve, a natural pool and waterfall encircled by a stalactitestudded grotto (reservations required in peak months). Or take to the skies at Lake Travis Zip Line Adventures in Leander, where you’ll boat across Lake Travis and then soar above the tree canopy on five zip lines. At Colorado Bend State Park in Bend, bring your mountain bike to kick up dirt on 35 miles of multi-use trails, or rent a kayak to shoot the rapids.
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