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Float (or Paddle, Kayak, Bike) on the Water with These Fun Activities in Austin

Keep your cool with one of these 9 activities on the water

Austin Summer Lake Activities
Rowing Dock photo by Josh Garza

Let’s face it — it’s stiflingly, blisteringly, unendingly hot during the summer months in Central Texas.

While Austin is one of the best cities to live in, there’s no denying it gets downright uncomfortable in July and August. There’s really no way to survive other than finding yourself in a body of water. Sure, you can hit up your neighbor with a pool or head out to one of the capital city’s refreshing swimming holes — or you could have yourself a little adventure while cooling off.

From swanky boat rentals to aquatic exercise, these nine water activities are some of the most fun ways to get wet this summer.

Photo by Bill Records

Austin Yacht Club

Looking for a water vessel that’s more slow-paced? The Austin Yacht Club is the city’s premier sailing club that has an emphasis on sailboat racing, sailing education and on-the-water activities for the entire family. If you don’t have a sailboat and want to learn how to sail, there are several classes for both kids and adults. The club, which was founded in 1951, also hosts year-round sailboat races to keep the fun going beyond the summer months.

Photo courtesy of Floaties

Floaties Austin

Grab 10 of your closest friends (and your favorite beverages to BYO) to have a mini fiesta on the water. But this is no mere party boat — complete with a rustic bar top and classic barstools, Floaties is a 25-foot mini saloon that will have you feeling like you’re at an old Texas dive bar instead of floating underneath Pennybacker Bridge.

Photo courtesy of Retro Boat Rentals

Retro Boat Rentals ATX

Heyo, you cool cats and daddios. Go back in time while you cruise Lady Bird Lake by renting a vintage fiberglass boat that’s been restored to its original jet-age beauty, complete with mid-century retro cool colors, fins and chrome details. It’s the perfect way to impress a date or enjoy a gal’s brunch on the water. Don’t leave your vintage-style photo accessories at home. And just because the boats are retro doesn’t mean they don’t have some modern upgrades. Retro Boat Rentals ATX has retrofitted each boat with the latest in eco-friendly technology.

Photo courtesy of ATXcursions


All floating, no fuss. Grab a gaggle of friends and meet ATXcursions at a pick-up spot in South Austin for the easiest floating trip ever. Their team will pick y’all up and drive you to the river with plenty of tubes, ice chests and ice for maximum relaxation. For those coming from out of town, it’s the most convenient way to experience the cool Central Texas rivers.

Photo by Mark Bowers

Rowing Dock

Paddleboards? Check. Canoes? Check. Kayaks? Check. Pedal kayaks? Check and check! The plethora of vessels for water activities will have you coming back to the Rowing Dock again and again. The local, women-owned and operated business is a cherished resource for kayakers, SUP paddleboarders and canoers of all kinds. Open since 1999, the company is a hidden treasure for launching watercraft rentals of all kinds on Lady Bird Lake.

Photo courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort

Lake Austin Spa Resort

In addition to a gorgeous spa and resort-level amenities, Lake Austin Spa also offers the most lake Austin water activities of any local hotel. In what they deem “Ripple Effects,” guests can discover aquatic influences all around them, from floating water meditation and sundown paddle outings, to scenic boat cruises and even aquatic spa treatments. For those a little more active, there are adventurous experiences that include sculling, kayaking, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, water skiing, and even giant hydro-bike riding!

Photo courtesy of Lake Travis Yacht Rentals

Lake Travis Yacht Rentals

Forget about party barges or pontoon boats. Go all out on the lake by renting a luxury yacht. Of course, if you do want a fun barge complete with a slide, Lake Travis Yacht Rentals still has you covered. But why not treat yourself this summer? Their largest boat is the 40-foot Casino Royale, which holds up to 24 people and includes a private restroom and a rooftop deck, perfect for partying in style.

Photo courtesy of Float on Boat Rentals

Float on Boat Rentals

Choose from two different launch locations — although we’re partial to the Loop 360 Boat Ramp since it means we can also do a stopover at Ski Shores Cafe – with Float on Boat Rentals, Austin’s highest-rated boat rental company. Even better: there are plenty of rental options, including tritoons or powertoons with a captain or public cruise alternatives. They also offer a wakesurfing package that will have you skimming the water like a pro in no time.

Photo courtesy of Austin Duck Adventures

Austin Duck Adventures

For that super classic ATXperience, it’s hard not to smile during an iconic Austin Duck Tour. The amphibious tour includes tours of downtown and Lake Austin in an unsinkable, U.S. Coast Guard-inspected Hydra Terra vehicle that traverses both land and sea. Oh yeah, and of course they provide noise makers that you can quack along with on your adventure.