Lady Bird Lake

Located among the skyscrapers of downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake was originally formed in 1960 as a cooling pond for the City of Austin power plant. Today it is  primarily used for water sports and flood control and is rimmed by hiking, biking, and running trails.


The lake has multiple access points along the north and south banks.  More information about parking and access can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

On a balmy July morning we inflated our boards after parking at Shoal Beach Park across from the Shoal Creek Public Library.  A few steps from the parking area we rolled out the boards and started pumping.

Heather makes short work of inflating the boards

Once underway paddlers are treated to views of the city, sightings of dinner-plate sized turtles, and the constant thrum of the city just steps from the water.

The paddle-scape on Lady Bird Lake

Name: Lady Bird Lake

Location: Austin, TX

Cost: Free

Size: 416 acres

Fishing: yes

Boats: non-motorized.  Watch out for rowers!

Special Notes: View the Congress Street Bridge bat colony.

RentalsTexas Rowing Center, Rowing Dock, Capital Cruises, Zilker Park Boat RentalsAustin Water Bikes

Also visit: Barton Springs Pool – nearby spring fed swimming area. Cool water!

Rail bridge across Lady Bird Lake