Sunday Manifest: Lake Travis, TX

It’s been said that any day on the lake is a good day, and that’s especially true if you’re talking about the uniquely beautiful Lake Travis, located in the laid-back Texas Hill Country just northwest of Austin.

With its stunning, crystal-clear blue water—thanks to a limestone lake bottom—and massive size, this “Crown Jewel” of the central Texas Highland lakes is perfect for boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, and even scuba diving. But Lake Travis is more than just a body of water.

Because of its 270 miles of shoreline and pockets of wooded space located within close proximity to downtown Austin, it’s also home to upscale resort communities, hiking trails, restaurants, and live music venues, making it one of the state’s most popular vacation destinations.

There are plenty of ways to explore and have fun at Lake Travis, both on and off the water. From paddle boarding, kayaking, and jet skiing on the lake, to hiking and picnicking at nearby parks, ziplining above the water, or fishing for largemouth bass at any of the public access fishing spots, there’s something here for everyone.

Photo: Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock

Water sports are the biggest draw, so it’s easy to rent equipment or book lessons and tours year-round. The local resorts and rental shops can set you up with whatever gear and big toys you need during your stay, while companies like Lake Travis Scuba can arrange for you to explore beneath the water’s surface. They offer four-hour dive trips to sites around the lake, private and group instruction, and incredible sunset and night dives for a totally different underwater experience.

For fun on top of the water, kids and adults will have a blast attempting the unique floating obstacle course at Waterloo Adventures. Located on the eastern shore of the lake, this family-friendly waterpark features a fun (yet challenging) 600-foot floating playground with more than 20 obstacles, including monkey bars, climbing walls, slides, balance beams, and more. You can even make a day of it with lunch at the onsite food truck and floating picnic tables, lakefront umbrellas and chaise loungers, and cozy hammocks.

In the evening, adults might enjoy a champagne sunset sail with Texas Sailing. The private, two-hour cruises are an incredible way to explore the lake from the comfort of a luxury cruising yacht and unwind after a day of adventure. This part of Texas is known for its stunning pink and orange sunsets that are especially beautiful reflected off the water of Lake Travis, so it would definitely be an unforgettable addition to any vacation.

Photo: Keith Grohn/Shutterstock

On land, take leisurely walks beside the lake or hike the two miles of riverside trails (and visit the sweet butterfly garden) at Lakeway City Park. Go ziplining on the longest and fastest zipline in Texas at Lake Travis Zipline Adventures. Or grab your clubs and hit any of the nearby championship golf courses for a day on the greens.

Play the PGA Tour-designed Falconhead Golf Club, a public course that features rolling hills and meandering streams. Tee off at the award-winning 9-hole Point Venture course set along the Colorado River. Or enjoy the fairways at the exclusive Hills of Lakeway Country Club, home of four world-class courses, with 36 holes designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus.

Between your many outdoor adventures, make time to relax by the pool at your hotel or resort (many are adults-only and feature cozy cabanas and cocktail service) or book a treatment at The Spa at Lakeway. With floor to ceiling windows, six luxurious treatment rooms, saunas, and more, it’s a lovely place to slow down for a while and let yourself be pampered.

You could also head towards Austin for the day, enjoying lunch at one of the lively food truck parks, followed by a full afternoon exploring this uniquely cool capital city. Just an easy 30-minute drive from Lake Travis, downtown Austin is an epicenter of creativity, with an eclectic mix of music venues, trendy shops, and a world-class arts scene. Visit the hip West Sixth District, tour the city’s many museums, check out the weekend farmers’ markets, or stroll through the 26-acre Zilker Botanical Garden. With so many options, you could easily spend a day (or two) here sightseeing, shopping, and even taking in a show before driving back to the lake.

Photo: amadeustx/Shutterstock

During your stay, when you’re ready to refuel with good food (and good vibes), check out the original County Line BBQ’s authentic Texas ‘cue and their popular daily Happy Hour. Have dinner at Lakeway Resort’s rustic chic, Southwest-inspired TR Restaurant & Bar + Lounge. Or enjoy a casual meal and spectacular sunsets at the bustling The Oasis on Lake Travis. This massive four-story lakeside restaurant and entertainment center features excellent Tex-Mex cuisine, multiple patios, live music, and some of the best views on the lake.

With year-round opportunities for outdoor fun, gorgeous lake views, easy access to Austin, and space for quiet relaxation, Lake Travis is the perfect destination for a romantic weekend or an adventure-filled getaway with family and friends.

Our Manifest team has a fabulous Lake Travis vacation ready to book on our Experiences page. But if this central Texas destination isn’t on your travel wish list, we’re always happy to curate a custom trip for you wherever you’d like to go.