Austin Texas beaches are one of the area’s most popular and beloved attractions, perfect for those looking to relax on a white sand shore near turquoise waters that remind you of exotic places.
During the warmer months of the year, hundreds of locals and tourists rush to the beautiful pools, waterfalls, and rivers just a short drive from Austin, Texas, downtown to cool off and have fun with their friends and families.
I know that the first thing that comes into your mind when talking about beaches is the coastal locations near the oceans and the seas, but beaches can also be found on the mainland, surrounded by forests and limestones.
Many beaches near Austin Texas can be found inland near rivers, water reservoirs, and lakes, in surprising places where you least expect them.
So you don’t have to travel for miles and spend a lot of money on exotic islands far away if you want to relax and perfect your tan.
We carefully handpicked for you the most spectacular Austin beaches Texas so that you can easily pick the one you like most and spend a memorable day near the water.
The best Austin Texas beaches for you
1. Barton Springs Pool
There is no better place to go if you are looking for beaches near Austin Tx than Barton Springs Pool, located in the city center.
The place was considered sacred by Native American tribes, who used these waters to purify their body and soul during purification rituals.
Today the place is packed with tourists and locals and is considered one of the best swimming holes in Texas, with a maximum depth of 18 feet.
It is the perfect place to go if you want to perfect your tan, cool off into the refreshing spring waters, and have a picnic with your beloved ones in the picnic areas.
The waters from this pool come directly from a natural spring and have a constant temperature all year round, somewhere between 67 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Barton Springs Pool is today part of the Zilker Park, a place packed with outdoor activities, so if you plan to go in the area, book some extra time to explore the area.
Bathing into this fantastic swimming hole is not for free; adults have to pay a 9 USD day pass while kids between 12 to 17 years old will pay just 5 USD.
Younger visitors below 4 years, pay just 4 USD for a day pass, and you’d better book in advance as the park gets really crowded during the hot summer days.
Austin: Kayaking Tour through Downtown to Barton Springs is a different way to get to Barton Springs from Austin Downtown.
You will meet your guide in Austin downtown, get familiarized with your kayak, paddle, and life vest, and start your kayaking adventure.
You will see from the water the Congress Avenue Bridge, enter into the waters of Lady Bird Lake and kayak down to the crystal waters of Barton Springs. The tour lasts about 2 hours and offers a new way to discover Austin and Barton Springs.
For more details about Barton Springs, please read the full article here.
2. Bob Wentz Park
Located on Lake Travis, Bob Wentz Park is known among beach lovers for its sandy peninsula called “The Point”.
The park is about 30 minutes drive from Austin downtown, making it the perfect weekend getaway for those looking to cool off and relax.
It is the perfect place to go if you are a water sports lover, as this scenic lake is ideal for windsurfing and sailing.
Its crystal clear waters with good visibility are perfect for scuba diving, The Point being one of the very few places in Texas where scuba diving can be practiced.
Head to one of the most vibrant Austin Texas beaches for some action, relaxation, and fun!
Around the beach, you can find barbeque grills, a pavilion with running water, picnic tables, and electrical outlets.
Bob Wentz Park is open each day from 8 in the morning till sunset and you have to pay an entrance fee if you want to go to the beach.
The fee is 5 USD per person for adults, while kids under 12 can enter free of charge!
Bear in mind that during weekends the place gets really crowded so book in advance or go there early in the morning when the parks open.
A few steps away from this beach, on the shore of Lake Travis is Sandy Creek Park, a beautiful park perfect for walks in nature, fishing, swimming, bird watching and camping.
After a few hours on the beach, a relaxing walk inside Sandy Creek Park is quite advisable.
3. Secret Beach
As the name suggested, this place is hidden by most people’s eyes and, for some of you, might prove to be challenging to find on Google maps.
This is the right place to go if you want to build sand castles, collect shells and make rock towers so kids will be busy the whole day.
This beach near Austin is located in Roy Guerrero Park, known as one of the best parks to relax, party, and play.
From Austin Downtown, there is only 15 minutes drive to the beach, followed by a 10-minute walk on a marked trail that starts from the parking lot.
The beach is surrounded by trees and provides access to the shallow waters of the Colorado River.
Swimming is not allowed on the Colorado River, so I think you have to know that before you go.
You might find unleashed dogs here, so keep an eye on your kids if you know they have any fears of dogs.
The entrance to the park is free of charge, and if you need to go to the toilet, you have to walk back to the parking lot.
And, of course, a lot of sand toys for your kids because there is nothing more interesting and fun than to build sand castles together!
4. Russell Park Beach
Located about 50 minutes drive from Austin Downtown, Russel Park Beach from the western shore of Lake Georgetown is one of the best Austin Texas Beaches.
The park is popular among tourists and locals for its wide range of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and camping.
Depending on your preferences, you can go sunbathing or fishing, as smallmouth bass, white bass, and flathead catfish are quite common in these waters.
The pebble beach is large so there is enough space for everyone, while the waters are clean and the currents low, perfect for swimming.
Paddleboarding and kayaking are also available in the area if you want to combine some physical effort with relaxation.
Russell Park is quiet during the week, so from Monday to Friday is a good time to explore it, but it gets quite crowded during the weekends when everybody rushes to cool off and have fun.
Overnight camping is possible in the area but don’t expect to 5-star accommodation; some primitive campsites are available inside the park.
Bring with you bedding or sleeping beds are you might need them if you want to spend the night in the area.
There are restrooms and showers inside the park; you don’t have to pay if you want to use them.
Russell Park is open all year round, and you don’t have to pay entrance fees for people, but there is a 5 USD tax per vehicle per day.
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5. Emma Long Park Beach
Undoubtedly, one of the most famous beaches in Austin Texas is located in Emma Long Park, formerly known as City Park.
This is a very popular place among locals who gather here, relax, have fun and spend time together during weekends and special celebrations.
The park is located on the banks of Lake Austin and offers stunning views of the area and the city of Austin.
It is located about 25-minute drive from downtown Austin, and because of its facilities and location, many locals prefer the park.
Walk your feet on the sand, take your kids and build sand castles or go for a dive in the shallow waters of the area for a memorable weekend.
Bring your own canoe or kayak or rent one from the kiosk right near the water and spend the whole day in nature.
When you get bored of the sun and water (which I don’t think is possible), take your hiking boots and follow one of the hiking trails available.
Rent a bike as there are bike trails also inside the park, and bring your sleeping beds as you can stay for the night in the park.
Premium campsites inside the park, but the affordable prices quickly fill the campsite.
To get access inside Emma Long Park, you will have to pay 5 USD per vehicle during weekdays, from Monday to Thursday, and 10 USD per vehicle during holidays and weekends.
6. Lake Pflugerville Beach
One of the most beautiful beaches near Austin Texas is on Lake Pflugerville, about 30 minutes drive from Austin.
Here is a man-made reservoir with a sandy beach, lots of hiking trails, and a place perfect for a family getaway where you can hike, swim and go fishing.
The reservoir was built to provide drinking water for the residents located in the area, but now it turned into a very popular destination among locals and tourists looking to swim and perfect their tan.
The pebble beach and the roped-off swimming area are the main attractions, accessible for young and adults.
Little visitors can play in the designated playground area, and the whole family can have a delicious lunch in the picnic pavilion.
Water sports lovers are also welcomed here as you can go kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing and paddleboarding on the reservoir waters.
You can bring your own equipment or rent it directly from the cabana near the reservoir.
The good news is that there is no entrance fee and everyone rushes here to spend some quality time near the water.
Because the beach is not sandy, bring some water shoes to protect your feet when entering the water.
7. Pedernales Falls Beach
Located about a 50-minute drive from downtown and ranked as one of the most popular beaches near Austin Texas, Pedernales Falls Beach is perfect for outdoor activities, sunbathing, and swimming.
From hiking to biking, and from camping and swimming, you can enjoy a long list of outdoor activities inside the 5,215-acre state park.
The beach is rocky, so don’t expect to build sand castles here, but it is a great relaxation place where you can relax and perfect your tan.
The waters of Pedernales River are perfect for swimming, floating on a giant tube, or simply cooling off.
The shores are rocky and the water carved in the limestone over the years all kinds of bays and pockets where the little ones can splash and have fun protected from the river currents.
When you get tired of swimming, rent a kayak or a canoe and admire the limestone cliffs from the water, as you will have a different view of the place.
If you have some extra time, take your hiking boots and try an easy, 30-minute hike to the Twin Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the area.
You will get deeper into the woodlands, following the trails hidden between the trees, and get to a secluded grotto where 2 smaller waterfalls form a small pool.
Entering Pedernales Falls Beach is not free of charge; you will have to pay 6 USD per person for adults, while kids under 12 years old enter for free.
Please read the full article here for more details about Pedernales Falls.
8. Hamilton Pool Preserve
This exotic destination located in the heart of the state of Texas is one of the most incredible attractions in the state.
Hamilton Pool Preserve is a breathtaking place with turquoise waters covered by limestone, reminding me about the Mexican cenotes and exotic destinations.
This stunning water hole surrounded by lush vegetation can be reached after a 40-minute drive from Austin city center, being the perfect location for a day trip.
Leave your car in the parking place at the park entrance and then prepare for a short hike to the falls.
Get some comfy footwear, not flip-flops, as there are a few rocky sections, and it will be easier to hike with comfy shoes.
After this short hike, you will be transposed into a completely new world, an exotic world where the centerpiece is the 50-foot waterfall that plunges into a beautiful pool from the limestone cliffs.
There is also a small pebble beach where you can lay down your towel and enjoy the Texan sun on a summer day.
Hamilton Pool Preserve is not just about swimming and sunbathing, the place is also an excellent location for hiking.
We strongly encourage you to take a guided tour to explore the area and learn new things about its history, geology, and native wildlife.
Such an exotic place like this cannot go unnoticed for a long time, so people rush here to admire the view and spend quality time with their beloved ones.
If you want to secure your seat on the rocky shores, make a reservation a few weeks before.
The entrance to the park costs 12 USD per vehicle, and the fee must be paid in advance; there is also an 8 USD per person to be paid on arrival.
For kids under 12, the entrance is free of charge.
Please read the full article here for more details about Hamilton Pool Preserve.
9. West Lake Beach
This family-friendly beach definitely worth every dollar paid as an entrance fee because of its magical views and excellent facilities around the area.
You will find here a large area dedicated to picnics, a roped-off swimming zone right in the beautiful waters of Lake Austin.
There is no lifeguard here, so you swim at your own risk, but with a lifevest, even the beginners can try the lake’s waters.
Besides the water activities available in the area, you can also find a volleyball court close to the swimming area and a volleyball net put into the water where you can play with your family.
The beach is extremely beautiful and popular among locals who like to celebrate special events here.
So that is why we recommend you call before going to ensure that the beach is not reserved for any private event or special party.
You can go fishing here if you bring your own fishing poles and a horseshoe pit, but bring your stakes and horseshoes as you cannot rent them from here.
The entrance fee to this privately owned park is 8 USD per adult and 5 USD for children under 11 years old.
10. McKinney Falls State Park
One of the most accessible Austin Texas beaches, located about 15 minutes from downtown, is McKinney Falls State Park.
It is a beautiful place to go if you want to cool off on a hot summer day, swim in a waterfall pool, and perfect your tan.
The pool, with its deep and shallow waters, is perfect for everybody, and there is even a place deep enough where you can jump from the cliffs.
The park offers a wide list of outdoor activities, including biking, hiking, and camping and many tourists and locals consider it the best state park near Austin.
On your expeditions inside the park, always keep an eye on wildlife as armadillos, deer, and an impressive number of colorful birds call this park their home.
Take the camera with you and take a shot of the “Old Baby”, a 500 years old cypress tree located on the Texas public land.
Multiple beaches can be found inside McKinney Falls State park, most covered with soft pebbles and located right on the river bank.
To enter the park, you need to pay an entrance fee for adults, as kids under 12 years can enter for free.
11. Milton Reimers Ranch Park
Located on the banks of Pedernales River, about 40 minutes from Austin downtown, Milton Reimers Ranch Park is the place where the wilderness meets the crystal waters.
The beach along the river is about 3 or 4 miles long and has deep and shallow sections, perfect for everybody.
The nicest beach in the area starts at Milton Reimers Ranch Park and is famous for its water activities and outdoor adventures like rock climbing and mountain biking.
In this area, you will find one of the best hiking trails in the state, so get your hiking boots and book some time to explore the area.
You can hike and explore the Central Texas landscape of roaring rivers, limestone cliffs, and incredible Hill Country scenery.
You can even see the stars and the galaxy from the astronomical observatory located inside the park, you need a prior reservation.
There is an entrance fee to the park in the amount of 5 USD per adult, while kids 12 and under can enter free of charge.
You can bring your furry friends with you as long as they are kept on a leash.
What to pack for a day on the beaches close to Austin Texas
Most of these beaches don’t have shops located close to the beach, so if you forget something home, you don’t have a shop at your hand to buy what you forgot to take.
That is why I prepared this packing list of your day at Austin beach:
- A cooler with cold drinks
- Sunscreen to protect your skin
- A hat
- Life jackets for everybody
- Beach toys
- Beach towel
- A change of clothes
- A big trash bag
- A beach umbrella
- Beach chairs
- The wallet and your pass
Where to stay to be close to Austin Texas beaches
Finding the best hotel close to these beaches near Austin Texas might prove difficult, but we are here to help you.
We carefully handpicked for you 3 of the best hotels in the area, conveniently located close to these beaches with an excellent price-quality ratio.
1. Courtyard by Marriott Austin Pflugerville, a wonderful 3-star hotel with an outdoor swimming pool, a bar, and a fitness center. The rooms are spacious and clean and feature TV, bed linens, and towels. A continental breakfast is available at the property for an extra fee.
2. Hotel Granduca Austin is a 5-star hotel located about 4.4 miles from Barton Springs Pool, featuring a spa center, a restaurant, and a bar. Each room or suite has TV, a private bathroom with bathrobes, complimentary toiletries, and slippers, while some rooms come with extra space and a seating area.
3. The Driskill, in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt is a 5-star luxury hotel with exceptional services in the city center of Austin that combines old-world charm with 21st-century luxury. It is one of the best hotels in the city with top-notch services, and incredible dining that even offers a local brewery paired with a 4-course dinner.
Does Austin have a beach?
The good news is that you don’t have to travel to exotic countries to find amazing beaches and exotic sceneries, as the Texas landscape fascinates you after every corner.
All these Austin Texas beaches are conveniently located within a short drive from Austin downtown and are perfect for a day trip.
The places might get crowded during weekends, so we strongly recommend you book your entrance in advance or if this is not possible, make sure you arrive here early in the morning to choose the piece of sand with the most stunning view.
Does Austin Texas have a beach?
Yes, of course, it has, and Austin beaches are among the most popular attractions in the area during the summer season. Some are located inside the city; for other beaches near Austin Texas, you must drive a little.
How far is Austin Texas from a beach?
There are beaches located a few miles from the town around reservoirs, water holes, and waterfalls. If you want to go to a beach near the ocean, Austin is located about 200 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, where there are plenty of spots to perfect your tan.
What is the closest ocean beach to Austin Texas?
The closest ocean beach to Austin Texas is located in Galveston, about 200 miles southeast of downtown, in the Gulf of Mexico.
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.
Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.
We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.
Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.
Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.