The Outsider Blog

July 2023
Couple sitting in a chair, and smiling while looking at a map
As the long-awaited summer season commences, the catchy tune from Leon Bridges resonates even deeper – “Texas Sun.” It’s bright and beautiful, fueling anticipated family vacations and neighborly cookouts in your backyard. But when our beloved Texas sun brings over 100-degree temperatures, water feels like an ideal element for any activity. With LCRA Parks, there’s no need to worry about finding ways to beat the heat. Our wide array of water-centered activities will ensure you stay cool while embracing summer.
Donut boat on Lake Austin

No motor needed

Non-motorized watercraft come in all shapes and sizes. Visitors looking for a relaxing water experience can spend the day at Lake Bastrop North Shore Park or Lake Bastrop South Shore Park renting kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards or even corcls – small, round boats designed specifically for kids to paddle on their own!

Want to reserve your watercraft in advance? Book an inflatable kayak or packraft with our partner Greenbelt Outdoors. Make your reservation online, and it will be ready and waiting for you to explore Lake Bastrop.

Keep in mind, these waters are a bit warmer than some because the lake was designed to cool the nearby power plant.

Donut boat on Lake Austin

Faster-paced fun

Make a splash in the ice-cold waters of Lake Austin at Jessica Hollis Park. Even on the hottest summer days, the waters at this day-use park stays cold constantly since they’re released from the bottom of Mansfield Dam. Here, you can book a Float On pontoon boat and captain for groups of 10-15 people. They also offer dam-to-dam Sea-Doo tours to show you the best views of the lake from Mansfield Dam to Tom Miller Dam. Call Float On at 512-436-3505 for additional details and availability.

Looking for a saltwater cruise instead? We also have boat rentals at Matagorda Bay Nature Park. Thanks to our friends at Ranch Water Rentals, you can reserve your very own bay boat to use during your stay. Explore the bay or the Colorado River and experience great Gulf Coast fishing and stunning sunsets. Smell the salty air and set sail!

Be LakeWise

At LCRA Parks, our unwavering commitment is not only to provide an exceptional experience during your visit but also to prioritize your safety and well-being. Making memories on the water can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to know the hazards you may encounter. Follow these tips to swim safely and boat responsibly.

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Never boat or swim alone.
  • Know when to call it quits.
  • Swim and boat in designated areas only.
  • Wear a lifejacket.
  • Know the rules before you visit the lake.

Learn more about LCRA’s Be LakeWise water safety campaign and discover helpful water resources.

Even though the temperatures will rise, you can still dive into a summer filled with good times at LCRA Parks.

Previous Blog Entries

Getaway – Party of One

April 2023

Couple sitting in a chair, and smiling while looking at a map
Gaining traction across generations, solo travel appeals to those seeking to escape routines and experience the world on their own time and in their own company. Whether you prefer complete solitude to avoid distractions or to sign up solo for a group tour, LCRA Parks offers a range of opportunities that will entice that solo traveler spirit.
Donut boat on Lake Austin

Trails and more trails

LCRA Parks’ trails – over 55 miles of them – offer an easy escape for independent explorers. From multiuse to ADA, we have a variety of trails for different users. That includes your pets, who can be off leash on LCRA Parks’ trails as long as they are under the owner’s direct control. Only 15 minutes outside of Austin, Texas, McKinney Roughs Nature Park offers tree-lined paths along the Colorado River. At Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area, trails allow you to wind though the Hill Country by foot or bike. Rent a QuietKat electric mountain bike onsite for an exhilarating ride.

Interior of an Airstream trailer at Black Rock Park

Beach vibes

The beach is always a way to break free from the mundane. As a solo explorer, you can find everything from relaxation to adventure at Matagorda Bay Nature Park, located where the Colorado River meets the Gulf of Mexico. For top-notch beachcombing, kayak across the river before or after low tide to find hundreds of untouched seashells. While you’re there, look for Texas’ state shell, the lightning whelk. This park also offers kayaking trails through its protected wetlands. Explore these waters to get up close to native wildlife in their natural habitats.

Aerial shot of a dock at Lake Bastrop South Shore Park

Guided activities

While solo exploration can provide many benefits, sometimes, it’s equally energizing to have new experiences alongside new people. Visit the LCRA Parks events calendar to view upcoming park activities led by our experienced staff. Slower-paced events include arts and crafts and birding, while more adrenaline-filled experiences include UTV and kayaking tours.

Don’t waste time waiting for schedules to sync up – get out on your own and explore now!

Gift Romantic Adventures

January 2023

Couple sitting in a chair, and smiling while looking at a map

Romance is in the air, and we know you’re stressing to find that perfect gift for Valentine’s Day. Lucky for you, we’ve tailored the perfect outdoor experience for every stage of a relationship – or even an adventure just for you. Give the gift of a unique experience and create memories that last forever.

The start of something new

Buying a gift for a new partner = intimidating. “Is this too expensive or not expensive enough?” “Will they like this, or will it just take up space?” LCRA Parks has the perfect solution. Book a one-of-a-kind picnic on a donut boat – yes, donut boat – from Love & Boat. Take off from Jessica Hollis Park and cruise along Lake Austin in your self-steering boat equipped with place settings, a Bluetooth speaker and games. Bring your own tasty treats and drinks and enjoy this new experience with your new person.

Donut boat on Lake Austin

Just hitched

Ah, the honeymoon phase … love, butterflies, romance. Continue the celebration with a few nights of glamping at Lake Bastrop North Shore Park. From cabins to safari-style tents, each GLAT glamping unit has cozy interiors, spacious decks and beautiful lake views. Plus, all GLAT accommodations are pet friendly, so your furry friend can tag along. Reserve a pontoon boat, golf cart or watercraft and adventure all day long. Located 45 minutes from Austin and two hours from Houston, this luxurious escape in nature will help you detach from the city rush.

GLAT camping bedroom interior
GLAT camping bathroom interior

Together forever

Long, committed relationships are a beautiful thing, but kids, work and extracurriculars (aka life) can bump one-on-one time to the bottom of your priority list. We’ve curated a nostalgic getaway for two at Black Rock Park, where you’ll relax and reconnect in our brand new Airstreams. With vast views of Lake Buchanan, you’ll spend the evening grilling a delicious dinner on the patio and getting cozy around the firepit to watch the stars. Together, you’ll enjoy a round of mini golf or cast a line off the sandy shore to catch some bass or catfish. Most importantly, you’ll appreciate each other’s undivided attention.

Interior of an Airstream trailer at Black Rock Park

Treat yourself

The longest relationship we’ll ever have is with ourselves, so this Valentine’s Day, focus on you and your next adventure. At Lake Bastrop South Shore Park, rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and cruise around 900-acre Lake Bastrop – even catch a stunning sunset behind the towering loblolly pines. If you prefer land, take a hike (or bike) on our 4.5-mile trail through the Lost Pines region. The shaded canopies keep trails comfortable for your canine companion even in the hotter months.

Aerial shot of a dock at Lake Bastrop South Shore Park
Who needs more stuff? Making memories is the best gift of all.

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