Austin’s top 7 places for water-inspired R&R this summer

July 24, 2017 / Austin

In July 1988, the Discovery Channel had a novel idea: to host a TV programming block for an entire week that focused on educating the public about sharks and promoting conservation ideals. In the years that followed, this initiative grew by leaps and bounds, resulting in a massive cultural following. In honor of The week of the shark, we’ve compiled a list of the top water-themed adventures you can find in Austin and nearby cities.

Austin’s top waterfront destinations and water activities for summer


1. Barton Springs Pool

Nestled in the gorgeous Zilker Park is the Barton Springs Pool, the federally protected habitat of the endangered Barton Springs Salamander. The pool’s water supply comes from a system of underground springs and remains at a constant cool 68 degrees. Because of its year-round agreeable temperature and breathtaking surrounding landscape, the Barton Springs Pool is a perfect location to go for a swim.

When: 5am – 10pm
Where: 2201 Barton Springs Rd

2. JAWS on the Water

JAWS on the Water is perhaps the most unique Shark Week attraction. Gather in the Lake Travis water floating atop an inner tube, and tune in for a screening of Steven Spielberg’s landmark thriller, JAWS. The “dive in” angle to JAWS on the Water adds a new layer of intrigue to a movie already fraught with tension.

When: July 1 – 23
Where: Volente Beach Water Park, 16107 FM 2769, Leander, TX

3. Schlitterbahn Waterpark

Hailed as the “world’s best waterpark” by Amusement Today, the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels is one of Texas’s treasured spots. Plan a weekend getaway with your family and come out to Schlitterbahn to enjoy thrilling rides, riverside adventures, children’s playgrounds, and even scenic picnic locations. If you’re interested in staying for more than a day, you can’t find better lodging than the Resort at Schlitterbahn.

When: 10am – 8pm
Where: 400 N Liberty Avenue, New Braunfels, TX

4. Bull Creek District Park

The Bull Creek District Park is an ecological haven known for its archaeological heritage and deep waters. The Bull Creek watershed features limestone seeps, perennial springs, and enchanting waterfalls over jagged cliffs. You can also enjoy the waterway’s pleasant temperatures to go for a relaxing swim. Other attractions include sporting courts, a dog park, barbecue pits, and picnic grounds.   

When: 5am – 10pm
Where: 6701 Lakewood Drive

5. The Greenbelt

The Greenbelt is one of the most popular natural hangouts in Austin. Home to a number of swimming holes, such as the Campbell’s Hole and Gus Fruh Pool, the Greenbelt also boasts expansive hiking trails, rock climbing, and cliff jumping. If you’re an experienced in the outdoors and can take on a more challenging trail, make sure you visit the access point at Gaines Creek and Twin Falls, which leads to the most picturesque patch in the Greenbelt.  

When: 5am – 10pm
Where: 3755 S Capital of Texas Highway

6. Float the San Marcos River

It’s not every day you get the chance to float through waters so pristine–San Marcos is cleaner than the EPA’s standard for drinking water. The riverbank is flanked on both sides by giant, elephant ear plants that make for a breathtaking sight to behold. The one-mile tubing path passes through downtown San Martin and the sprawling Texas State University campus.  

When: 10am – 7pm
Where: City Park, San Marcos, TX

7. NLand Surf Park

NLand was founded on the premise of building the perfect surfing retreat in Texas. Partnered with Wavegarden, a Spanish wave engineering firm, NLand excels at what it set out to do: create an oasis for surfers, experienced and new, to come together and ride barreling waves. Go to the Bay for mild whitewater waves that’ll give you a taste of surfing. If you’re looking for a greater challenge, the waves at Inside are more suited for a seasoned surfer. Finally, the expert course, Reef, is where you’ll find steep, adrenaline-inducing waves.

When: 8am – 9pm
Where: 4836 E Hwy 71, Del Valle, TX

There is no shortage of water parks and waterways to thrill and entertain you on this year’s Shark Week in Austin. Don’t miss out!