Lady Bird Lake

Try a water sport or relax by the shoreline at this major feature in the Austin landscape. 

Lady Bird Lake is a man-made lake and a point of pride for locals. It covers 470 acres (190 hectares) in the center of Austin, dividing the city evenly. There are no motorboats allowed on the lake (with the exception of electric motors under 5 horse power), so it's the perfect spot to canoe or kayak. Fishing is also popular, with an impressive population of largemouth bass, as well as redbreast sunfish and carp. There is a limit on the amount of fish you can catch and keep per day. Check the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for details.

Follow The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, which runs for 10 miles (16 kilometers) around the lake and is mostly flat. Rent a bike, by the hour or for a whole day, from half a dozen different bike shops around the city. Swimming is not allowed in the lake.

Enjoy the gardens along the shore, created by former First Lady of the United States and Austin local Lady Bird Johnson. She made such an important contribution to the city’s image in the 1970s that they named the lake after her.

The largest city-dwelling colony of bats in the world lives under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, which spans the lake from downtown Austin to the area of Bouldin. Between March and November and particularly on hot, humid August nights, this colony — estimated to be about 1.5 million bats — takes flight in search of food. The bats fan out in huge columns, so have your camera ready to catch this strange and beautiful sight on the Austin skyline.

Lady Bird Lake is a reservoir on the Colorado River in downtown Austin. There are several places to rent kayaks, rowboats and paddle boats.