Stand Up Paddle Boarding In Austin: The Ultimate Guide

Paddle boarding in Austin, Texas

Spring and summer in Texas for many people triggers a deep-rooted instinctual desire to get out on the water and have a good time. Thankfully Austin has a lot of water to choose from as well as an amazing variety of things to do.

One of those things is stand up paddle boarding (SUP).

Whether you want to just get away from your normal hectic life and zen out as you float down the river, or you want to go see the famous Austin bats, paddle boarding may just appeal to you.

Now to keep things simple, this article covers a number of different things so hopefully this table of contents will be helpful.

Best Places To Paddle Board In Austin

best places to paddle board in austin

Lady Bird Lake

Nestled to the east of downtown, Lady Bird Lake was created in the 60s as part of Austin’s flood control efforts. It has since become a destination for a wide variety of water sports.

Given it’s proximity to downtown, you are able to take a number of really cool tours and generally plan a day full of events, if you so choose.

Lady Bird Lake is also very friendly to those that may be a little skittish in deeper waters given its maximum depth of just 18 feet. It is also a small lake given that it is less than 1 square mile in size.

If you are into the sights and sounds of the city, with a few peaceful pockets like Snake Island (don’t worry, no snakes), then this is the excursion for you.

Lake Travis

Lake Travis lies in the far west end of Austin and Travis county. It is a part of the dam system that includes many of the go to places on this list. It’s waters can be on the cooler side but it’s views are unparalleled!

Being in the heart of the hill country has its advantages. The views are amazing and there are many access points that give you as much, or as little, interaction with other people that you want.

It is one of the largest lakes in the Austin metro area at almost 30 square miles. It is also the deepest at a maximum 210 feet. I’m sure the Kraken lays in wait down there…

fear me, i am the kraken

Mythical monster possibilities aside, Lake Travis is an awesome place to paddle board!

Lake Austin

If you take Lake Travis and Lady Bird Lake and pick a middle point between them, you’ll have Lake Austin.

I guess that I should add that if you are new to Austin, you probably have noticed that there are regular stretches of the Colorado River that we call “lakes.” Lake Austin is one of them. That doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a beautiful stretch of the the Colorado!

There are numerous parks along its shores that are a part of the Texas Parks system. Some of these parks require payment to enter, unfortunately, but it isn’t too expensive. If you plan on using these parks, or any other in the Texas system, it may make sense to purchase an annual park pass.

Every one of these parks is well maintained, clean, and offers easy access to the water. One of the more popular entry points is right under the famous Hone bridge on highway 360. It can get a little crowded there, though.

Walter E Long Lake

Now we turn out attention to the east side of Austin with Walter Long Lake. At 2 square miles, it is a small lake. Lake Travis is 15x larger in comparison.

It may be small but it packs a punch in terms of all the water sports activities you can get in to. SUP’ers are going to love the serene vistas and the easy access to the water.

There are also boat launches there if you’re down for a little jet skiing or fishing, as well.

Shout Out From Just Outside Austin

There are a few honorable mentions that I wanted to leave here because of them being outside of the Austin city limits but still within the general area.

Some these are:

Did I miss your favorite spot? Be sure to yell at me (nicely) in the comments and tell me what to add!

Best Paddle Boarding Tours In Austin

In case you don’t want to wander aimlessly about, there are several options for group activities. Obviously, you could potentially do all this yourself but it is more fun, sometimes, to hang out with new friends doing an activity you all enjoy. For example:

Yoga Classes

paddle board yoga in Austin

Occasionally, I torture myself by attempting to do yoga. I can only do the most basic moves at this point. Anything more advanced would likely end up as a trip to the E.R… And this is yoga “on land.”

For those of you well versed in tying yourself up in knots, this aquatic version will test your balance (physically and mentally) and overall strength. Here are a few operators that put on paddle board yoga classes around town.

Glow In The Dark, Nightime Tour

Doing just about anything at knights can add a layer of mystery and intrigue. Especially out on the water on top of a paddle board that lights up the water around you.

This is an experience that few people know about and even fewer people do. There aren’t that many places that offer this service so here you go! This one happens to be in San Marcos.

Bats, Bats, and More Bats!

Austin is world renown for the largest colony of urban Mexican free-tail bats. Every sunset, millions of them pour out from under bridges around the area but the largest concentration is under Congress Avenue bridge, downtown.

There are many tours that will get you a bird’s bat’s eye view of the spectacle but viewing them from a paddle board is one of the more unique ways. These operators will get you there:

Best Places To Rent A Paddle Board

If you are just getting started with paddle boarding or you are just a part-time participator, renting a board will likely be your best option.

The best thing about it is that most of the major hotspots have rental facilities right on the water and make it easy to get going. Plus, you can get some instruction along the way. If you haven’t done it before, paddle boarding can definitely take some getting used to.

Here are a few of the more popular and well review operators in those hotspots:

Costs for paddle board rental are going to vary from location to location but are generally $15-$20 and hour and about $35-$45 a day. Weekends will be priced slightly higher.

Best Places to Buy A Paddle Board

If you are a die-hard SUP enthusiast then you are probably wanting to own your board. If you head out enough, those rental fees can add up fast.

There are a few stores in the Austin area that carry the boards along with the accessories. Accessories like car mounting kits, fishing gear, and more.

Do you know of a smaller locally owned shop? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Paddle Board or Paddleboard? Which Is Right?

There is a little bit of confusion on which version of paddle board is the correct one. At the end of the day, they are interchangeable and I wouldn’t get too hung up on one or the other. (Someone inevitably will, though…)

However, there is a version that is much more popular than the other.

Using Google Trends, you can see that paddle board used as two different words is the much more popular use. Feel free to rub that in the face of whoever is arguing with you about it! Don’t lose a friend over it though…

Anyway, thought this would be interesting to at least a couple of you.

"paddle board" or "paddleboard" word usage graph

Tell Us About You!

Thank you for taking the time to review out guide, I really appreciate it!

I want to hear from you, now. Did I miss any awesome local operators? Any destinations, that you are willing to share, need be added?

There are so many great spots around town so help me make this a complete list by leaving a comment below!

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  1. Wow! This article was extremely helpful. I did not know how popular paddleboarding is in Austin. I must give this a try very soon. Thank you for sharing!


{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}