Parks and Recreation Areas

It's no secret that Austinites love the great outdoors. The natural beauty, scenery, and landscapes of the Texas Hill Country are one of the main attractions of Austin. If you take a look at the Austin park directory you'll see a listing of the dozens of parks in town.

Some are "pocket parks", small patches of green space within the concrete and asphalt of urban neighborhoods. Others are recreation areas comprising hundreds of acres with trails, waterways, and recreational facilities.

You can search the Austin Parks Foundation's online database to find out more about a specific Austin park.

On this page we highlight some of Austin's most popular parks. People here do love to enjoy the outdoors, and these parks are some of our favorite outdoor destinations.

Austin BMX and Skate Park. Opened in 2011, the Austin BMX and Skate Park is a 30,000-square-foot concrete plaza with over a dozen obstacles for riding, jumping, and launching. Obstacles include a concrete hump, a swimming pool-like bowl, and several concrete pyramids, suitable for skateboarders and BMX bikers of all skill levels.

Deep Eddy Pool. Built in the early 1900s, Deep Eddy Pool is a manmade swimming pool on Lake Austin Blvd. With cold water from the lake, Deep Eddy Pool has a shallow kids' section and an adult lap swimming section.

Emma Long Metropolitan Park. At 1,147 acres, Emma Long Park is Austin's largest city park, and contains nearly two dozen RV campsites and 50 walking (tent) campsites. There are restrooms with showers, a picnic area, and basketball and volleyball courts. There is also a motocross and mountain bike trail and a nature walk trail. The park is on the shores of Lake Austin, providing opportunities for swimming, fishing, sailing, and waterskiing.

Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail. The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake is Austin's most popular running, biking, and dog-walking trail, with over 1.5 million visits each year. The 10-mile loop follows Lake Austin between MoPac and Zilker Park on one end, and I-35 and Ben White Blvd. on the other. The trail is approximately level, paved in some places, and passes by Austin landmarks, natural scenery, and iconic buildings. There are turnarounds to reduce the distance if you don't want to traverse the full loop.

Mayfield Park. Mayfield Park is a tranquil park and wildlife preserve in the middle of the city. The park includes 21 acres of walking trails, wildlife retreats, and natural scenery. It contains a historic cottage, gardens, palm trees, peacocks, and water lillies.

McKinney Falls State Park. McKinney Falls State Park offers plenty of opportunities to hike, bike, camp, fish, swim, and just get away from the city, while staying in the city.

Mount Bonnell. Mount Bonnell, just to the west of downtown, is famous for its spectacular views offered atop the highest elevation in Austin.

Mueller Parks and Open Spaces. The new Mueller residential and retail community was designed to include 140 acres of parks and green spaces for adults and children. The parks in Mueller include ball courts, picnic areas, unique and interactive playscapes, a swimming pool and splash pad, jogging trails, and an amphitheater.

Pease Park. Pease Park is the main city park in central Austin. Its 42 acres include barbecue pits, picnic tables, basketball and volleyball courts, a playing field, a disc golf course, a playground, and a splash pad. It is known as the site for Eeyore's Birthday Party, a quirky Austin tradition held each April.

Play for All Abilities Park. The Play for All Abilities Park is actually in Round Rock, north of Austin. Opened in 2011, this 51,000 square foot park includes several play areas intended to help children of varying ability levels to play while developing their creativity, motor skills, social interaction, and physical strength.

Wild Basin Preserve. Wild Basin Preserve is located along Loop 360 and was founded to preserve the natural habitat in west Austin and provide nature education programs. The preserve includes 2 1/2 miles of hiking trails that pass through woodland, grassland, and streamside habitats which contain hundred of native plants and animals.

Zilker Metropolitan Park. This well-known park in southwest Austin is a 350-acre display of central Texas's natural beauty and scenery. Its recreational facilities make it a favorite place to play outdoors. It is also the setting for several major Austin events that bring visitors from all over.

Return to Austin Attractions page

Return to Austin Texas Insider