McKinney Falls State Park

This state park offers fishing, swimming and beautiful scenery just minutes from the city.

If you want to get your heart pumping and experience the outdoors, visit McKinney Falls State Park. Fishing is one of the most popular activities at this park. Rent a fishing rod, reels and tackle boxes and wet a line. You don't need a license to fish along the shoreline at Onion Creek. Common catches include sunfish, largemouth bass or catfish. If the fish are really biting, keep in mind there are daily limits for each fisherman. Check the limits on the park's website, where you’ll also find safety instructions and tips for beginners.

If you want to stay a while, set up in one of the camp sites dotted across the park. These range from unpowered sites to those with electricity, water and toilets. Take a swim in Onion Creek, or follow the set trails to hike or mountain bike.

Take a stroll through the park and enjoy the scenery, which is an experience in itself. You’ll see plenty of green spaces, small waterfalls and limestone rock features. The park is also full of native plants, particularly cypress trees, sycamore, varieties of oak and cedar trees, and also cacti. Old Baldy is one of the most famous natural features of the park. This 103-foot (32-meter) bald cypress tree is estimated to be more than 500 years old. It’s one of the oldest of its kind on public land in Texas.

Spring is a good time to visit the park. Fields of Texas bluebonnet flowers add wonderful color to the scenery. If you're lucky, you might also catch sight of raccoons, armadillos, white-tailed deer and squirrels. Summer is also a great time to cool off near the creek, as Austin summers are hot and long.

McKinney Falls State Park is a 20-minute drive from downtown Austin. It’s open seven days a week, year-round. There is a small entry fee, and children 12 and under are free.