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Lake Travis: It’s Full Again!
Written by Shannon Barrientes / Photo by Herron Stock
T he beautiful capital city gets, on average, over 280 days a year of glorious, bright-blue days. The subtropical latitude is generous with the mild climate but, you guessed it, makes for swim-worthy springs, long, fiery summers and a scorching sun that lasts well into autumn. Where is the relief, you ask? Two words: Lake Travis.
Beautiful Lake Travis is part of the grand Colorado River that was dammed into a reservoir in the 1940s. Winding a serpentine course through the gently rolling hills of northwest Austin is
a 65-mile stretch of refreshing water just begging to be enjoyed. With nearly 30 square miles of surface, there is room for everyone. No matter your preference, be it fishing, boating, swimming, scuba diving, camping, picnicking or hiking, Lake Travis has fun for every person at every age. Fortunately for Austinites and visitors, it’s just a short 20-minute drive away. Texas has suffered a notorious drought in the last 10 years, but the incredible floods of 2015 have done much to increase the water levels in Central Texas area lakes, and Lake Travis has been no exception. The relief to the water levels means that public boat ramps are open and outdoor dining is close to the lovely water’s edge once again. The local marinas are busy and ready for business and residents and tourists are taking advantage of the larger access to area fishing holes and beaches. With easier access to quiet lake edges, Lake Travis invites you to enjoy an incredible array of fish for your plucking pleasure including several species of bass, catfish and sunfish.
If boating for excitement is more your thing, there are dozens of boat rental options available from your choice of over a dozen marinas ready to cater to your every whim, including VIP Marina and Aqua-holics. Popular with the locals is parasailing, tubing, water-skiing, jet skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding and, of course, power boats. To escape the Texas heat, there’s nothing like racing over the water at 80 knots an hour with the spray of water invigorating your skin and cool wind whipping through your hair. One of the newest adventures available in recent years is Lake Travis Zipline, which offers hours of excitement 250 feet high above the scenic cobalt waters of the lake. Their private beach includes hammocks, access to swimming and pristine sand in which to picnic or play games.
The lake itself is a beacon for glamorous cuisine, which always seems to encourage outdoor dining, allowing for breathtaking views and camera-ready sunsets. Don’t miss The OASIS, a local favorite and famous tourist spot that sits 450 feet above Lake Travis on a cliff and offers the best sunset views a diner could anticipate. Multiple levels of patios can seat hundreds, with a stunning array of colored umbrellas that one would have to see to truly appreciate, acting as rainbow-colored eye candy. Their Starlight Terrace may be the most unique, and breathtaking, floor on which to dance the night away – you will gape in awe when the retractable roof opens and the brilliant night stars twinkle into view.
If you’ve ever envisioned a fine dining restaurant that also offers volleyball courts for your enjoyment, then be sure to visit Shore Club at Volente Beach. The food is spectacular, and there is a waterpark right next door. Catch live music and enjoy the views from their beautiful outdoor seating area. There are so many events that happen on Lake Travis, it’s likely you will be there when something exciting is happening. Spectacular boat parades, exciting boat races and fireworks on Fourth of July – it seems like there is always something to look forward to on the beautiful shores of Lake Travis. What are you waiting for? Time to get wet!