When we think of the beach, our minds immediately think about coastal locations looking out onto seas and oceans like the Atlantic or Pacific, but it’s interesting to remember that beaches don’t always have to be found on the edges of a country. Many beaches can be found in inland locations as well, by the sides of rivers, lakes, or reservoirs. If you happen to be living or visiting an inland area and wish to visit the beach, there’s no need to despair and there’s no need to jump in the car and drive for hours on end to get to the coast; lots of lovely beaches can be found in surprising places where you least expect them. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Emma Long Park Beach

Emma Long Park Beach
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Definitely one of the better-known beaches in the Austin area, Emma Long Park was once known as City Park and has long been a popular spot for Austin locals to gather and enjoy recreational and relaxing activities at weekends or special occasions. Emma Long Park Beach sits snugly on the banks of Lake Austin and offers some breathtaking views of the local surroundings, as well as being equipped with some useful amenities and facilities like large parking lots and a long pier. Lots of boat traffic flows along this area, so it can be highly enjoyable to simply sit or stroll along the sand and watch the world go by.

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2.West Lake Beach

West Lake Beach
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You'll need to pay to access this Austin beach, but we think it's worth the price of admission and you will too when you see the magical views and excellent facilities all around the area. This is a very family-friendly beach, with lots of picnic areas and a safe, roped-off swimming zone right out in the waters of Lake Austin. You won't find any lifeguards here, so parents will need to keep an eye on kids at all times, but the park is very safe and fun for people of all ages. You'll even find a volleyball court and a separate volleyball net set-up in the swimming area for games with friends. Be warned, however: this beach is sometimes reserved for private parties and special occasions, so it's important to get in touch before arrival to ensure that the beach is open.

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3.Secret Beach

Secret Beach
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Located just off Grove Boulevard, Secret Beach is aptly named as many people, even long-time Austin residents, don't even know about the existence of this little hidden gem. It's actually quite hard to find, which explains why so few people have heard of it, but once you do find it for the first time, you'll definitely want to come back again and again in the future. Secret Beach is a lovely spot to come with the kids, with a nice sloping bank of sand and shallow waters. Swimming is prohibited here but you can at least dip your feet in at the edge. Shelling is popular here and old-time beach activities like picnics and making sandcastles can be enjoyed at Secret Beach too. This is also a good spot to bring your furry friend, with no rules against dogs on this Austin beach.

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4.Lake Pflugerville Beach

Lake Pflugerville Beach
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If you don't mind driving a short way outside of Austin, Lake Pflugerville Beach is undoubtedly worth the detour. Situated out in Pflugerville, this large lake is perfect for all kinds of recreational activities from kayaking and canoeing to windsurfing and fishing. There are three miles of hiking trails to be enjoyed, a play area for the kids, boat launching facilities, picnic areas, and a long stretch of sand for fun and games. The sand here is composed of lots of tiny rocks, so it can feel a little rougher than the sort of sand you might find at other Austin beaches, but this minor setback is vastly outweighed by the huge list of advantages at Lake Pflugerville Beach.

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5.McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park
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If you're looking for an Austin beach that's off the beaten track, head on over to McKinney Falls State Park. Some gorgeous scenery can be found all around this park and there are lots of stunning scenic trails to follow and natural sights to be seen. Multiple beaches can be found in McKinney Falls State Park, mostly made up of soft, smooth pebbles that are just right for skimming across the waters of the falls. All visitors aged 12 and above will need to pay an entrance fee, but you can have a full day of fun here and really get a lot of value for your cash.

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6.More Info

More Info
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There are some great examples of inland beaches in many states, including Texas. Texas, of course, has a long stretch of coastline looking out onto the Gulf of Mexico, with lots of nice beaches near cities like Houston, Galveston, and Corpus Christi. Despite being located in an inland position rather than on the coast, the state capital of Texas, Austin, is actually home to a long list of nice riverside and lakefront beaches. So, no matter where you happen to be in Austin, you’re always only a short distance away from at least a few great beaches, perfect for all kinds of fun activities.

Best Beaches in Austin Texas

Looking for the best beaches in Austin? If so, you're in the right place. Texas' capital city is home to a surprisingly long list of super lake and river beaches, with soft sands and warm waters that offer the perfect conditions for all of the classic fun in the sun activities you’d enjoy at any other beach like swimming, sunbathing, water sports, picnics, beach games, and more. Read on to learn all about the best beaches in Austin.

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5 Best Austin (Texas) Beaches



Hotel Spotlight: Lake Travis Tree Lodge

Nestled among the trees on the shore of Lake Travis in Hill Country, Lake Travis Tree Lodge is a quiet, adults-only sanctuary that offers a perfect retreat for couples looking for a secluded getaway. Situated just 25 minutes from downtown Austin, Lake Travis Tree Lodge offers two lovely guest suites with private entrances, vaulted ceiling bedrooms with king-sized beds, en-suite bathrooms and modern amenities, including flat-screen televisions and iPod docking stations.

The house boasts a 50-foot deck that enjoys awe-inspiring panoramic views of the lake below, which is best enjoyed in the evening with a glass of wine. Begin the day with complimentary gourmet coffee and self-serve breakfast treats on the deck before heading out to explore the local attractions, such as Mansfield Dam Park, and the famous Lakeway and Falconhead golf courses.

Guest Accommodations

Lake Travis Tree Lodge features two beautifully appointed and comfortably decorated guest suites with king-size beds dressed in high-quality linens, and en-suite bathrooms with walk-in showers, oversized bathtubs, single vanities, fresh towels and locally made natural soaps, oils & lotions. Modern amenities include central climate control, 37" flat screen TVs with CD/DVD/BluRay players, and complimentary wireless Internet. Both suites open onto an expansive, covered deck with breathtaking views of Lake Travis, which is a stone’s throw from the house, and both suites have separate entrances for added privacy.

Dining

Lake Travis Tree Lodge has a communal living area, and kitchenette with microwave, coffee maker and fridges for guests to use and fresh fruit, breakfast snacks, gourmet coffees, teas, and bottled water are provided. The kitchenette is stocked with dishes and silverware, and there is a gas grill on the outdoor deck.

Amenities and Recreation

Lake Travis Tree Lodge has a communal living room and kitchenette with microwave, coffee maker, and fridge, as well as dishes and silverware for guest use, and breakfast snacks and beverages are provided. There is a large covered deck with outdoor furniture for relaxing and soaking up the spectacular views over the lake, and there is plenty of parking for cars and a boat. A large public boat ramp is a short way from the Lodge where boats can be launched. Lake Travis and the surrounding area offer a variety of recreational and outdoor activities to enjoy from water sports such as kayaking, fishing, swimming and boating on the lake, to horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, bird-watching, zip lining and quad biking.

3715 Highland Drive, Austin, TX 78734,

Attraction Spotlight: Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum

The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum is a good representation of quintessential Austin. Bronze sculptures are casually placed in a setting of native Texas plants in a shady garden. The garden offers a natural oasis near the heart of the city. Nature and art exist in peaceful harmony in the garden, with its streams and waterfall that block out the sounds of nearby traffic, offering visitors a serene setting for contemplation. The light and natural environment around the sculptures change with the seasons.

Four acres of land containing small ponds once used for practicing fly casting were transformed into a sculpture garden in 1991. The garden was used to display dozens of stone and bronze sculptures donated to the city by Charles Umlauf, a noted American sculptor of the twentieth century. His sculptures cover a range of styles, from lyrical abstraction to detailed neoclassical realism to haunting expressionism. In addition to bronze, Umlauf also worked with stone, marble, terra cotta, and exotic woods.

The Umlauf Sculpture Garden is accessible and welcoming in several ways. Children can explore the sculpture garden with their hands, touching the bronze pieces. Visitors are also allowed to touch the sculptures to help those who are visually impaired enjoy the garden. Parents with strollers and people in wheelchairs are able to navigate their way along gravel paths that create a giant peace symbol. There is also the occasional music or dance performance that takes place on the grounds.

Later the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum gained Charles Umlauf's two-acre personal sculpture garden that was situated up on a hill that overlooks the grounds of the Garden. The unique garden was created by Angeline Umlauf, the wife of Charles, beginning in the early 1050's. She planted flowering shrubs native to Texas around sculptures made by Charles. As he finished a sculpture, it was moved from the studio to the garden. Paths were dug out and edged with stones from the flower beds by their six children. Charles and Angeline were inspired to give the garden, 168 sculptures pieces, Charles' studio, and even their home to the city of Austin by the pleasurable experience their many guests had while visiting their garden.

Tours of the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum are offered during the week from late morning to late afternoon. These docent-led tours are about one hour long, and are recommended for students in the first grade and above. The collection of over 200 sculptures, drawings, and paintings created by Charles Umlauf are used as an educational resource to encourage visitors to appreciate sculpture artwork. The Garden and Museum provides guided tours to thousands of students from a variety of schools each year. Students also receive admission to special exhibitions and take part in the Garden's Sculpture Safari. The Umlauf Garden's collection of bronze sculptures is the largest collection in the state of touchable bronze sculptures thanks to regular washing and waxing as part of a conservation process. Touch Tours provide a unique chance for visitors who are visually impaired and other kinesthetic learners to engage with the sculptures.

605 Robert E. Lee, Austin, Texas, Phone: 512-445-0200

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Attraction Spotlight: Bullock Texas State History Museum

The Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, opened in 2011 and has hosted over 7 million visitors since its doors opened. The museum celebrates the history and culturally icons of Texas. The Texas State History Museum Foundation supports all financial aspect of the museum. The museum is named after Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock who spearheaded the creation of the museum to educate the public on the history of the great state of Texas and preserve artifacts for generations to come.

Although the Governor Bullock retired from political life prior to the museum opening, he is remembered for his bipartisanship and work towards preserving the arts and history in the state. Artifacts from his campaigns can be viewed in the museum as a reflection of the great political history of Texas. The museum includes three floors of galleries, and two theaters including an IMAX movie theater, and special temporary exhibits that rotate throughout each year. There are also several public and community education programs and special events that visitors are encouraged to take part in.

The purpose of The Bullock is to educate and preserve the history and story of the great state of Texas. There are three floors that represent different periods in Texas history and art. There are over 700 original artifacts and works in the permanent exhibit. New artifacts are continually added which means that every time you visit the museum, there is usually something new that can be seen.

The Second-Floor Gallery displays artifacts from 1821 through 1936 and explores history through not only artifacts, but film and manuscripts as well. Visitors will learn about the important characters that shaped the history of Texas through revolution, Civil War, immigration, economics and The Great Depression when the 100th birthday of the state was marked. The famous Alamo is a feature part of this exhibit and there are several displays narrated by historical figures.

Visitors go event by event through the timeline of Texas history and experience how African Americans lived in Texas before and after the annexation, how the state transitioned from being an independent territory to the 28th state and the culture of the Comanche Native Americans. The Centennial Theater shows historic footage of the 1936 exposition that showcased Texas’ bold identity to western culture.

The Third-Floor Gallery is a dedication to the emergence of Texas as a state and its contribution to Arts and the national economy. Oil industry and Tejano farming and cattle ranching, and through the civil rights era to modern day Texas. There are also many artifacts relating to World War II including an advanced flight trainer plane. Famous Texas musicians such as Buddy Holly, Lydia Mendoza, and T. Bone Walker are all honored in this exhibit as well. There are also NASA exhibits that allow visitors to experience a model of a mission control console.

The entire first floor of The Bullock is dedicated to the French ship La Bell, that was shipwrecked in 1686 in the Matagorda Bay. In 1995, a team of anthropologists and archaeologists discovered the wreckage and began a decades long process of excavating and bringing the ship and her contents out of the depths. Over 1.6 million artifacts including the entire hull of the ship was recovered from the site.

The Artifacts: Excavated Stories is an exhibit inside the La Bell first floor. This exhibit focuses on the artifacts inside the ship that told the stories of the colonists and French traders that were aboard the ship and coming to America at the time. Jewelry, beads, knives, and clothing are all on display in this section of the exhibition. There are also items that tell the story of domestic everyday life for the French who were colonizing in Texas looking for silver mines. Pots, plates, ladles, and even weaponry such as muskets can also be viewed here.

Visitors can also watch a film on La Bell in the Texas Spirit theater. The short film Shipwrecked is narrated by the son of one of the survivors of La Salle’s ill-fated expedition that La Bell was a part of.

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The Bullock features many special exhibitions throughout the year that relate to the history of Texas or the history of The United States. Others relate to significant world history events that have affected the masses worldwide.

American Flags will run through January 2017 and features the history and symbolism of the American flag. The exhibition consists of textiles, artworks and other memorabilia related to the flag. There are also 25 flags from important moments in history including a 200-year old flag from the early revolutionary period and may be one of the first flags with 13 stars ever made. The only 14-star flag that is known to exist is also an integral part of this display.

State of Deception looks at Nazi propaganda from the second World War. This exhibit looks at the way Nazi’s used media propaganda to further their agenda and brain wash the people of Germany. Visitors to this exhibit can see listen to radio broadcasts, see toys and posters that all aim to guide Germans into supporting war and a unified Aryan race.

There is a small exhibit in this exhibit that relates how Texas saw and responded to what was happening in Germany that lead into World War II. On the Texas Homefront, explores Texas internment Camps during World War II, cartoonist, and the Texans that took part in the mission to liberate the Dachau Concentration Camp. The exhibit ends with The Butterfly Project which is a compilation of thousands of handmade paper butterflies carrying the hopes and dreams of the children visitors on their wings.

Austin City Limits Theater shows clips and footage from the PBS TV show Austin City Limits which was the longest running music program in American television history. Snippets from Willie Nelson’s concert series, Sheryl Crow, Radiohead, Lyle Lovett and Loretta Lynn, and many other iconic Texas performers.

Mapping Texas is an exhibition that displays some of the most important maps of Texas that change through history, the history of cartography and sketches of land ownerships. These artifacts are owned by the Texas General Land Office which has 45,000 artifacts out of 36 million on display at The Bullock. Many of the maps and sketches in this special exhibition date back to the early 16th century and showcase the way the landscape has changed from Native lands to the current state of Texas today.

First Sundays is a program that offers free admission the first Sunday of every month. There are special programs in the afternoon designed for families and children.

Eye Witness to History takes place on Saturdays to accompany the State of Deception special exhibit. This discussion revolves around the way the media was used in propaganda and other factors that contributed of the Nazi way of thinking.

Worlds We Have Lost: A Dialogue explores what we have lost due to the Holocaust and is led by a Holocaust survivor from Hungary. This is a one night only event that is a panel discussion with other professors and historians.

IMAX Movie Theater is not only an educational tool, but also shows many box office hits such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Dr. Strange, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story coming in December of 2016.

Living History Days occurs on the first Thursday of every month where visitors can enjoy volunteer actors dressed up in historical costumes educating viewers on the history of Texans and prominent figures from the Texas legends. This program is free but visitors must pre-register.

Family Workshop Days are held in accordance with new special exhibitions. Family workshops days are offered to bring the history of Texas to a child level understanding so that people of all ages can benefit from history statewide and worldwide.

Homeschool Days are a part of the STEM educational program and grand homeschoolers free admission to the museum and free educator’s resources. There are many programs that cover history, science, and politics that the museum hosts in the classrooms. There are also guided museum tours offered and hands on exhibits that encourage discussion based learning.

High Noon Talks are held on the first Wednesday of every month where noon hour discussions are held that have historical or contemporary significant meaning to Texas.

Book It Texas is a discussion group for native Texas writers, authors, editors and publishers.

Field Trips For Grown Ups is a small group guided tour of the museum where participants can learn about the stories that are otherwise untold in some of the most intriguing artifacts in the museum.

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1800 Congress Ave. Austin, Texas, 78701, Phone: 512-936-4629

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