Austin is a place that inspires enthusiasm and excitement in visitors and locals alike. Full of character, personality and plenty of local experiences, the capital of Texas has a lot to offer. On the natural end of the spectrum, it’s home to interesting wildlife like snapping turtles, armadillos and rattlesnakes. On the entertainment side, it boasts the title of Live Music Capital of the World.

Paddling in Austin lives up to the legendary vibrancy and liveliness of the city. With urban paddling options and more natural settings, there are plenty of kayaking and paddleboarding opportunities in Austin to keep anyone intrigued and satisfied.

Where can I kayak and paddleboard in Austin?

Among its other desirable qualities, Austin boasts the reputation for being one of the most pristine cities in America for both water and air quality. If you’re keen to see the native creatures of Austin, keep an eye out for armadillos, opossum, raccoons, warblers and a variety of reptiles that call this area of Texas home. While you’re taking in the sights and sounds of Austin, dip your paddle into one of these beautiful waterways:

Lake Austin

American Paddler is a well-informed and useful resource for areas to paddle in Austin. If you want to get away from the crowds on Lady Bird Lake (which we’ll touch on later), one of their recommendations is to head to Lake Austin. The two are only about a 30-minute drive apart, and both are on the Colorado River. Take note that Lake Austin is a man-made reservoir, and small motorized craft are allowed. Not to worry though, there’s still plenty of serene paddling here!

Colorado River

South of Austin you’ll find a perfect stretch of wide, slow-moving river, complete with sandy islands to explore. This section of the Colorado River in Texas makes for a wonderful day trip for families. Bring a picnic and get ready for a relaxing day in the Austin sun!

San Marcos River

The San Marcos River is only a 30-minute drive from Austin and is a great spot to escape for a lazy float down a sparkling Texas river. Rent a kayak from Texas Canoe and Kayak for four or six hours. Prices range from $45 to $75 depending on the size of boat you’re looking for.

Walter E. Long Lake

Also known as Decker Lake, this lake is tucked away and a bit more secluded than some of the more popular spots to paddle in Austin. Well-known for its excellent fishing, head out on the water to find largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish and hybrid striped bass. There are an array of other activities in the surrounding Walter E. Long Park such as sandy volleyball courts, barbecue pits and jogging paths. For a nearby rental, book with Epic SUP.


Lady Bird Lake is a central focus for kayaking and paddleboarding in Austin, but if you’re looking to branch out, Congress Kayaks offers tours through Lady Bird to the clear and lovely Barton Springs for $30 per person, along with individual rental options. There’s so much to see in Austin from the water, and downtown is the perfect spot to take it all in!

Lake Travis

Are you an angler looking to head out for a day of fishing in Austin? Check out Lake Travis! This sunny Austin-area paddling location is perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding and kayak fishing. Viking Ship Kayak Rentals rents all of the above so you can cast a line in Texas any time of year.

Lady Bird Lake

This dazzling spot is one of Austinites’ favorite places to enjoy the sunshine. Paddleboarding in Austin wouldn’t be complete without a trip around Lady Bird. Formerly called Town Lake and located on the Colorado River, Lady Bird is a man-made lake with 416 acres of paddling to enjoy. If you’re planning to spend some time kayaking here, Austin Paddle Shack or Live Love Paddle are great rental options.

A person sitting on a dock silhouetted by sunset across the water
Take in the city skyline or immerse yourself in nature. | Photo: Flickr // notevenathing



Kayak rentals in Austin

Peace Paddling

  • Paddleboard: $20 per hour
  • Single kayak: $15 per hour
  • Double kayak: $20 per hour

All rentals are $10 per hour after the first hour.



Austin Paddle Shack


  • Single kayaks, double kayaks and paddleboards: $15 per hour, $35 per day, $299 Fri to Sun


  • Single kayaks, double kayaks and paddleboards: $20 per hour, $45 per day
  • Tours from $45 to $75


Live Love Paddle


  • Single kayaks: $10 per hour
  • Double kayaks and paddleboards: $20 per hour

Weekends and holidays

  • Single kayaks: $15 per hour
  • Double kayaks and paddleboards: $20 per hour

All rentals are $10 per hour after the first hour.



Epic SUP


  • Single kayaks and double kayaks: $10 per hour or $24 unlimited
  • Paddleboards: $14 per hour or $34 unlimited


  • Single kayaks and double kayaks: $14 per hour or $29 unlimited
  • Paddleboards: $19 per hour or $39 unlimited



Lone Star Kayak Tours


  • Kayaks and paddleboards: $15 per hour, $35 per day


  • Kayaks and paddleboards: $20 per hour, $45 per day


When to go

It’s tough to find a bad time to visit Austin. Paddleboarding and kayaking in Austin happens year-round, as the winters are easily temperate enough for watersports. If you’re visiting Austin mid-summer, be prepared for some outdoor temperatures that are spicier than some of the citys’ legendary food. July and August are very hot in Austin, but you can still get out on the water. If you’re with little ones, or are more sensitive to hot weather, stick to early mornings and evenings when the sun is less intense. Otherwise, bring your sunscreen, lots of water and enjoy paddling in beautiful Austin!



What to wear

Bathing suits are an informal uniform while kayaking or paddleboarding in Austin during the summers–you’ll want to be as cool as possible, and also be able to take a convenient dip in the local waters while you’re out.

While days in the winter are mostly very comfortable–think no jacket, maybe long pants and a light shirt if it’s “chilly” for Austin–the mornings can require a jacket. Austin has a gorgeous climate; no need to pack classic winter clothing for this charming city.


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