Let’s start by making something really clear: the beaches in Austin are lake beaches and river beaches. Obviously, sure, but it’s nice to just clear things up from the beginning. There are no oceans in Austin, TX. Shocker. However, there are some really great sandy beach areas, clean, cold water, and beautiful places to enjoy some fun in the sun. Here’s where to find beaches in Austin.
Beaches In Austin Texas
The Beach At Emma Long Metropolitan Park
This is one of the most “beachy” areas in Austin proper. Of course, there are some really great swimming areas around Austin if you’re willing to drive 45 minutes, but if you’re hoping to find a beach in Austin with cold water, a great swimming area, and lots of soft sand, Emma Long is for you!
This park has a day pass for a pretty reasonable rate (check their website for details, as it changes based on the day of the week/holidays). You can pack a picnic, park your car, and enjoy a fun day of laying in the sun, splashing in the water, and jumping off the dock. There’s a lot of imported sand, so bring some toys! When you're done, there are bathrooms nearby and some shower heads so you can rinse off the sand and dirt before getting back in the car.
Cost: $5 per day/vehicle, Mon-Thur
$10 per day/vehicle, Fri-Sun and holidays (like 4th of July)
$1 per day for walk-in or bike in
Russell Park Beach in Georgetown
Head about 25 miles north of Austin and you’ll hit Russell Park Beach in Georgetown. It’s a lovely spot to go swimming, bask in the sun, and let the kids and dogs run around and splash in the water.
Georgetown Lake is a reservoir that was opened as a recreational area in the 1980s. It has a few boat ramps and a 26-mile hiking trail that goes around it, and it’s stocked with a bunch of fish like large-mouth bass, catfish, and sunfish.
Russell Park beach is on the west side of the lake. In addition to picnic pavilions, bathrooms, and parking, there’s a designated swimming area with a washed pebble beach and a floating pipe barrier to mark out the swimming area.
Photo Credit: Shannon B, Yelp
Reimers Ranch Park
Reimers Ranch Park is a Travis County park located in Dripping Springs on the Pedernales River. Sure, it’s known as a world-renowned rock climbing destination, but it also has a lovely beach area on the river. The water is cold, there’s a nice sandy area, and it’s a great beach in Austin when you’re craving some cold water on a hot summer day.
Photo Credit: David N, Yelp
Bob Wentz Park
For SURE some of the best beaches in Austin are out west on Lake Travis. Bob Wentz Park beach area is absolutely worth the 30-minute drive from downtown Austin. You can head to The Point, which is the sandy peninsula with access to the water and enjoy a full day of playing in the rocky sand and splashing in the water. When you’re ready to pack up, stop by The Oasis Brewery, an award-winning brewpub with breathtaking sunset views over Lake Travis.
Photo Credit: Steffie S, Yelp
McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls State Park is a gem in Austin! Technically, this is much more of a “swimming hole” than an Austin beach, but let’s just throw it into the mix anyway. 🙂 You can go swimming in Onion Creek and enjoy the rocky “beach” area that wraps around the swimming hole. If you visit after the rainy season, the waterfalls will be flowing (use caution when swimming and follow the tips on the McKinney Falls State Park website!) and it’s a beautiful place.
Photo Credit: Thomas S, Yelp
Sandy Creek Park
Another great beach option on Lake Travis, Sandy Creek Park is about a 40-minute drive from downtown Austin. It has a pretty sizable sandy area, a roped-off swimming section, picnic tables and pavilions, and bathrooms.
Photo Credit: Megan L, Yelp
No guide to Austin beaches is complete without a shout-out to the nudist beach in Austin! Hippie Hollow is a clothing-optional swimming area on Lake Travis, and yes…people do actually roam around in their birthday suits here.
Photo Credit: Angelle S, Yelp
Lake Pflugerville is a beautiful lake in the northwest corner of Austin. It’s used for hiking, boating, picnics, and…SWIMMING! It’s a really great little swimming area and typically pretty crowded on the weekends. The beach entrance has gravel-like sand (you might want to wear swimming shoes), and there’s a lot of coastline space for folks to spread out.
Photo Credit: Molly F, Yelp
Mansfield Dam Park
This beachy area in Austin is located right next to the giant Mansfield Dam (duh..), so you’ll have that in your view the entire time. But other than that, it’s a pretty nice area for swimming in Lake Travis. There are a lot of rocks in the beach area, not sand.
Photo Credit: Carmela S, Yelp
Blue Hole in Georgetown
Blue Hole is an excellent spot to go swimming in the summer! It’s a lagoon on the south fork of the San Gabriel River, and it has a small waterfall, a shallow wading area, and a deeper swimming area. The beach portion of the river is a rocky bank, so you’ll definitely want to bring chairs instead of laying down on towels. One of the best parts about Blue Hole is that it’s essentially in the heart of the city, so you’re close to all of the amazing places to eat in Georgetown square.
Photo Credit: Anthony C, Yelp
Pedernales Falls Beach
If you’re willing to drive from Austin to Johnson City (about one hour), Pedernales Falls is a really fun spot to go to the beach for the day! The park is located on the Pedernales River, and there are some absolutely limestone slabs where you can lounge before jumping in for an afternoon swim in that cold blue water.
Photo Credit: Emily A, Yelp
Pace Bend Park
Located just a bit further west of Lake Travis, the drive to Pace Bend Park is totally worth it for the stunning beach area. It’s a very “Texas” beach with coarse rocky sand, but the water is cold, and the beach has a pretty shallow entrance. Pack a few beers, some chairs, and a picnic, and you’ll be set for a fun afternoon in the sun.
Photo Credit: Jonathan G, Yelp
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