There is a lot to see and do during the summer when you live in the gorgeous area of the country which surrounds the Texas capital city, Austin. The city itself is a hub for excitement and entertainment, and has rightfully earned the title of America’s fastest growing city in 2019. There are some things, however, that you need to venture a few miles away from downtown to experience. While Austin does have a beautiful lake, Lady Bird Lake, on its south side, LBL does have some limitations.
Lady Bird Lake is a quiet, scenic spot which adds to the city’s charm. However, there are some things that are prohibited there. You can’t operate a gas powered water vehicle and you can’t swim.
That’s where Lake Travis comes in.
We’ve talked a lot about the recreational activities that are available on Lake Travis, such as boating rentals, jet skis, zip line parks and water parks. In fact, our Lake Travis Summer Living Guide Part One dives into much more than that. We talk about the terrific restaurants, boat rental facilities and outdoor discovery centers.
There is a lot more to this popular lake than we could cover in one edition. Here, we expand on our previous list and compile some of the best sightseeing locations and entertainment venues so you can get the most out of your trip to the lake.
Scuba Dive in Lake Travis:
So technically this might also spill into the category of ‘recreation’, but the views of the lakebed should constitute some of the most impressive sightseeing experiences in or around Lake Travis.
There are multiple entry points for scuba divers in Lake Travis, and which one you use might depend on your skill level, preference for experience and which company you use as a guide or rent your equipment from. Before you decide to dedicate a day to scuba diving in the lake, make sure you have done your homework to make sure you know which company you want to use and what, if any, requirements you may need to meet.
One of the dive spots is called ‘Wreck Alley’, a spot which features a number of sunken houseboats, cars, motorboats and much more. It tends to be fairly deep and the current can cause sediment to obscure your vision, so we recommend going there with a guide company so you don’t lose your bearings.
Another great spot, especially if your level of experience is less than expert, is around Starnes Island (also known as Rattlesnake Island). There are three boat hulls and plenty of sunken items from lake goers to explore. Some divers can be lucky enough to discover lost jewelry, cell phones and much more.
These are just two of the many popular spots for scuba diving on Lake Travis, but there are plenty of online resources and professional recommendations from local dive companies.
Lakeway City Park:
Not only does Lakeway City Park provide scenic overlooks of Lake Travis, but it also gives visitors up to two miles of hiking and biking trails. Also included within the park are basketball courts, baseball fields, a dog park, gardens, and much more.
More importantly, the park sits directly on the shores of Lake Travis, providing direct access to the water and designated swimming areas. With 64 acres of well manicured land, there is plenty of space to enjoy the beauty that exists within the Lake Travis coastline.
Lakeway City Park is often called a hidden-gem by locals and visitors alike, offering a quieter day at the lake than you might find in other spots. There are no motor watercraft allowed at Lakeway City Park so you won’t have to worry about safety while swimming and wading in the designated swimming spots.
Entertainment and Events:
We know that COVID-19 has thrown a lot of events into a realm of uncertainty, and this summer many plans have had to be postponed. However, that shouldn’t overshadow some of the most popular events that have become loved by locals and visitors alike.
When restrictions are lifted, we hope that most of these great events can be safe and successful so they can provide the same amount of fun and excitement that they have in the past.
Lake Travis Music Theatre:
Not everything in and around Lake Travis has to be dedicated to the lakeside. The Lake Travis Music Theatre is a perfect example of this, providing guests a respite from the world for a few hours of well rehearsed theater.
The productions that are performed here showcase the talent that can be found in the greater Austin area, so not only are you getting a great show, you are also supporting local artists and performers.
There have been past performances of Bye Bye Birdie, Sound of Music, Oliver!, South Pacific, Annie, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Guys and Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, Cinderella, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Peter Pan. With a mixture of classic shows and contemporary productions, there’s a good chance that you might find a show you can enjoy.
Fourth of July Fireworks Show:
We know that this event already happened this year, but this is a regular occurrence on Lake Travis, so you should be sure to catch the fireworks next summer. Often launched from Starnes Island, this fireworks show casts brilliant colors over the darkened waters of the Lake for the enjoyment of people from miles and miles away.
You can always see hundreds of boats gathered on the water, settling in to watch the show. As the sun begins to set, these vessels find a nice spot on the lake to park and watch as one of the state’s most impressive pyrotechnic displays begins.
There are also displays hosted by Volente Beach Resort. This special venue is popular for many other reasons beside their fireworks display. They also have a resort, water park, restaurants, and boating rentals.
Wherever you settle down to watch the show on Lake Travis, you’ll be amazed at the way the light and the crack of the bursts roll across the water.
Lake Travis SpringFest:
With just short of 9,000 attendees this year, the Lake Travis SpringFest is always a fun time for local residents to gather and have some fun. Due to the safety concerns of COVID-19, the SpringFest organizers have postponed this year’s events until October 17th.
This is a great way to let your kids run free and enjoy some of the activities that have been set up for them. In addition to the Kidzone and ToddlerTown areas for the young guests, adults can enjoy themselves at the outdoor lifestyle expo and look at some of the best watercraft available from reliable dealers, as well as cool off by tasting some of the best local craft beers.
Past SpringFests have held extremely popular BBQ cookoffs, a great way to get a taste of some of the local flavor. There is also plenty of live music to enjoy as it reverberates through the crowds, or as you settle down in front of one of the stage areas.
This year’s SpringFest is likely to be a bit different than past or future events due to safety precautions such as social distancing, but as past years have shown it is still a fantastic community event with free admission and parking. The event is held at the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave, Texas.
What Are You Waiting For?
With these attractions and much more, Lake Travis offers a little something for everyone. With 271 miles of coastline to explore, Lake Travis is one of the best locations to enjoy some time on the water. As you’ve also seen, there is plenty of activity and excitement to be found in the areas that surround the lake as well.
Regardless of if you are into high octane thrills, peaceful floating on the water or exploring the hiking and biking trails on the shores or even the bluffs of the lake, Lake Travis has something for everyone.
Remember to check out our Lake Travis Summer Guide Part One to learn more about recreation and dining in and around the lake as well. You’ll surely find something that interests you.