Paddleboarding in Austin: SUP Summer Escape

By Emily Leikam on September 13, 2023

Austin, Texas is a vibrant city known for its bustling music scene, mouth watering food and thriving lake culture. One of the best ways to enjoy the city’s beautiful waterways is by paddle boarding. If you're looking to experience Austin from a new perspective, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) offers an unforgettable adventure combining fitness, relaxation and fun. With calm waters and scenic views, it's no wonder that this popular water sport has taken Austin by storm. Let's explore the best places to paddleboard in the heart of Texas!

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Butler Shores at Town Lake Metro Park Trail, Austin. Photo by: Austin Distel.

Lady Bird Lake

Located smack-dab in the middle of downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake is an idyllic spot for paddle boarding enthusiasts. With its calm, flat waters and stunning skyline views, it's the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the outdoors. Several local businesses offer paddle board rentals, making it easy to hop on the water and explore the lake.

Lake Austin

Just a short drive from downtown, Lake Austin is another fantastic location for paddle boarding. The narrow, winding lake is lined with beautiful homes and lush vegetation, providing a picturesque backdrop for your adventure. With multiple access points along the shoreline, you can choose a spot that suits your skill level and preferences.

Lake Travis

If you're looking for a more expansive body of water to paddle, head to Lake Travis. This large reservoir offers crystal-clear water and numerous coves to explore, making it an ideal destination for paddle boarding. The lake's size also means that it's less crowded than other spots in the city, providing a more serene experience.

Barton Creek

For a more nature-oriented paddle boarding adventure, check out Barton Creek. This tributary of the Colorado River winds through lush greenery and limestone cliffs, creating a peaceful and secluded setting. Paddle upstream from the creek's confluence with Lady Bird Lake to experience a different side of Austin's waterways.

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Barton Creek in Austin. Photo by: A Beautiful World.

Quarry Lake

Quarry Lake, tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, is a hidden gem perfect for paddle boarding. The small, calm,  spring-fed lake is an ideal spot for beginners or those looking for a more laid-back experience. As it is a private lake, you'll need to rent your paddle board from the on-site rental shop to access the water.

Brushy Creek Lake Park

Located in nearby Cedar Park, Brushy Creek Lake Park offers a serene environment for paddle boarding. Its calm waters and abundant wildlife make it a perfect spot for a relaxing paddle boarding session.

San Marcos River

About 30 miles south of Austin, the San Marcos River offers a refreshing paddle boarding experience, with its crystal-clear spring-fed waters. The river is suitable for paddlers of all skill levels and offers a beautiful natural setting to explore.

Additional Information

If you're new to paddle boarding or simply want to try it out without investing in your own gear, Austin’s got you covered. Several reputable SUP rental shops in the city offer everything from basic rentals to guided tours and lessons. Some popular options include:

  • Texas Rowing Center: Located at 1541 W Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78703, the Texas Rowing Center offers paddleboard rentals, along with kayaks and canoes. Their location on Lady Bird Lake is convenient and perfect for a day of paddleboarding. Visit their website or call (512) 467-7799 for more information.
  • EpicSUP: Situated at 2200 S Lakeshore Blvd, Austin, TX 78741, EpicSUP provides paddleboard rentals with a picturesque view of the Austin skyline from Lady Bird Lake. Check out their website or call (512) 574-2516 for more details.
  • Rowing Dock: Located at 2418 Stratford Dr, Austin, TX 78746, Rowing Dock offers paddleboard, kayak, and canoe rentals. They're conveniently situated on Lady Bird Lake, allowing for easy access to the water. Visit their website or call (512) 459-0999 for more information.
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Photo by: Rh2010.

SUP Events and Community Gatherings

Austin boasts a lively paddleboarding community, with various events and gatherings throughout the year. These events offer a great opportunity to connect with fellow paddlers, share experiences, participate in friendly competitions, and even paddle with your dogs! Keep an eye out for annual events or seasonal meetups organized by local paddle boarding clubs.

Wildlife and Natural Sights

One of the many perks of paddle boarding in Austin is the chance to witness its stunning natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Watch for bird species like herons, egrets and kingfishers as you glide through the serene waterways. You might also spot turtles sunbathing on logs or catch a glimpse of fish swimming below the surface. The lush aquatic vegetation adds to the overall experience, creating a tranquil and picturesque setting for your paddleboarding adventure.

SUP and So Much More

Austin is a thriving city with so much to offer. Paddle boarding is just one of the many ways to enjoy the city's beautiful waterways and take advantage of its warm, sunny climate. So why not grab a paddle board and head out to one of Austin's stunning paddle boarding spots? And while you're in the area, don't forget to explore the city's amazing hiking trails, outdoor dining options and live entertainment venues. You're sure to fall in love with all that Austin has to offer.

Emily Leikam
Emily Leikam

Emily is an avid traveler and has been all around the world from Alaska and Iceland to Peru and Bali. Her home base is Nashville, TN and when not traveling you can find her hiking, practicing yoga or cooking/baking!


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