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How to Plan the Perfect Boat Day on Lake Austin

For true vacation vibes without leaving town, enjoy a boating adventure for a lively or leisurely lake day

Hula Hut on Lake Austin (photo by Heidi Okla)

We are certainly are fortunate to have gorgeous water access right here in our hometown. While Lady Bird Lake offers easy downtown access for paddle boarding, kayaking, and rowing, it’s the refreshing waters of Lake Austin that are perfect for cruising around on an idyllic day of boating and swimming.

Lake Austin is actually a reservoir created by dams along the Lower Colorado River which means even during periods of no rainfall, it is a constant-level body of water, making this an optimal destination for boating, water skiing, wakeboarding and fishing. Lake Austin also offers safe, clean water for swimming. With so many days of sunshine and warm weather, Lake Austin is often busy with all kinds of motorized boats cruising up and down the waterway.

Lake Austin (photo by Heidi Okla)

Instant vacation vibes

We recently planned a day on Lake Austin with friends to celebrate the lazy days of summer. Without the bother of trying to coordinate a weekend getaway or even the stress of planning a dinner party, a boat day was a perfect and incredibly easy way to gather with a group and relax together. In a simple afternoon adventure, we had the opportunity to connect with dear friends on a blissfully relaxing cruise, complimented by a cool dip in the water, and ending with a stop in a local waterside restaurant for an ice cold drink. What a vacation day right here in town!

Lake Austin pontoon rental on from GetMyBoat (photo by Heidi Okla)

No boat of your own? No problem.

While having a watercraft of your own might be the best way to get out on the water often, if you’re like us and rarely have much time to spare, a quick boat rental is actually the ideal scenario. No maintenance, no cleaning, no worries about storage. Just book a reservation, show up, and enjoy!

For our most recent boating experience, we turned to a quick and easy boat rental website called GetMyBoat, which is much like using Airbnb but for watercraft rentals. With a mobile app as well, this was truly the most simple rental experience we’ve had. You can browse through a selection of luxury pontoons or boat charters on Lake Austin (or Lake Travis and nearby bodies of water, as well). With a quick pick we put in our preferred date, time and number of guests, and within minutes we heard back from the boat captain to confirm details.

Easy-going floating on Lake Austin (photo by Heidi Okla)

Customize your experience with your captain

Our boat captain was eager to learn about our goals for the day. In our case, we wanted to avoid the party scene and just enjoy a peaceful experience. So we hopped aboard under the Pennybacker Bridge at the Loop 360 boat ramp, then enjoyed a little scenic ride, ventured to quiet coves, and spent time floating in the refreshing water. Our boat captain was very friendly and made our experience extremely effortless. He provided a cooler full of ice, cold waters, a lily pad for floating, and offered us the option to take over as DJ with any music of choice. We certainly appreciated this uncomplicated rental experience.

Ski Shores Cafe
(photo courtesy of Ski Shores Cafe)

Where to eat & drink on Lake Austin

While you can absolutely just plan to pack your own picnic or pick up something to go from one of our favorite homegrown fast-food restaurants, you can also dock for a drink at one of these top places for dining along Lake Austin:

(photo courtesy of Ski Shores)

Ski Shores Cafe — Perched on Lake Austin since 1954, Ski Shores Cafe offers expansive outdoor casual waterside seating. The all-day menu features frozen drinks, seafood and chicken baskets, burgers, sandwiches and ice cream.

Hula Hut (photo by Heidi Okla)

Hula Hut — To amplify your vacation vibes, a tropical drink at Hula Hut will do the trick. This lakeside favorite serves up an island-inspired experience, complete with a patio overlooking the water and tropical-inspired Tex Mex fusion.

Photo courtesy of Mozarts Coffee Roasters on Lake Austin)

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters — One of Austin’s favorite coffee spots with delicious desserts is located right on Lake Austin. Mozart’s Coffee Roasters offers lakefront views and a large patio that is a fun place to hang out any time of year.

(photo courtesy of County Line on the Lake)

The County Line on the Lake — Set in an old lake lodge, the County Line on the Lake is a very popular place to take out-of-town guests for low-smoked bar-b-q and a a cold beer or margarita their large deck that over-looks the water.

(photo by Heidi Okla)

No matter if you’re looking for a lively or leisurely lake day experience, we simply encourage you to get out and explore the water that offers year round fun in the sun. It’s a true perk of Austin living and worth a splash from time to time.

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