The paddling aficionados at Austin Canoe & Kayak maintain a stable of masterfully maintained vessels for outfitting all levels of aquatic explorers. Solitary river riders can transport single rental kayaks from the store's waterless location and drop into any body of water they choose, avoiding crowded routes and groups of largemouth bass that blab everyone's best-kept secrets. Adventurous couples can romantically float down Mother Nature's own tunnel of love in a spacious tandem kayak while fairytale marine life sings melodies to set the mood. Single-person boats such as the Wilderness Systems sit-inside Pungo 120 can best the currents of the Brazos River, and a Malibu 2XL from Ocean Kayak can ferry two-person teams seaward on salty jaunts in the Gulf of Mexico.
Live Love Paddle matches clients up with rental kayaks and nudges them out onto Lady Bird Lake for guided tours or self-directed exploration. Rentals are available by the hour. Live Love Paddle's hallmark tour, however, is the Austin Congress Bridge Bat Tour, which leads kayakers up to the urban bat colony that resides beneath the bridge and leaves them with a great vantage point from which to observe the mammals' nocturnal movements. Full-day river trips, two-day overnight kayaking and camping trips, and team building activities are also available.
In 1969, Howard Barnett drove past Town Lake and immediately became enamored with its idyllic, tree-lined banks. With the image of the lake’s picturesque scenery still in his mind, the avid outdoorsman decided to open a nearby canoe-rental shop, finding a spot hidden from the road and only steps away from a creek that fed into the lake. With full support from his family, Howard manned the shop in between his shifts for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Today, the Barnetts continue to run Zilker Park Boat Rentals, and Town Lake has since been renamed Lady Bird Lake. The shop now harbors more than 100 rental canoes and kayaks, as well as Ocean Kayak standup paddleboards. While renters embark on outings, their vessels glide them under pendulant branches, the bridge at Barton Springs Road, and past turtles racing to beat their best time for the 100-meter dash.
The Gliding Revolution crew helps visitors and Austin residents explore the scenic waterscapes and downtown areas of their beloved city. They lead tours on land and on the water via bikes, Segways, and kayaks that head to destinations such as Lady Bird Lake and downtown Austin. Stops along the way include the Texas state capitol building, Lady Bird Lake, historic Sixth street, and the world-famous Congress Bridge bats.
Additionally, Gliding Revolution plants sports teams, school groups, and corporate work groups atop Segways for team-building activities that bolster cooperative problem-solving skills. They also maintain a strict emphasis on safety by beginning each tour with an exercise in Segway operation while suiting up their guests with protective head gear and inflatable sumo suits.
Austin Water Bikes fulfills amphibious fantasies with a fleet of hybrid bicycle-kayaks, called water bikes, that glide along liquid surfaces at speeds of up to 10 miles per hour. These beginner-friendly vessels are safe and almost impossible to capsize due to their kayak-catamaran design and unflinching optimism, making them ideal for aquanauts of all ages.
Set against the Austin skyline, Lady Bird Lake is the result of a beautification project led by former first lady Lady Bird Johnson. Its waters form a scenic setting for participants of water-bike rentals to watch bats take flight from the Congress Avenue Bridge or sunsets paint their colors across the sky. Additionally, Austin Water Bikes' staff uses the lake to lead senior spin classes, team-building workshops, and motivational seminars for freshwater mermen.
Just below the Four Seasons Hotel on the north shore trail of Lady Bird Lake waits the Waller Creek Boathouse, where first-time kayakers and paddling experts alike shove off into serene waters. Paddlers embark on hourly or half-day tours aboard easy-to-navigate water vessels, soaking in the lush scenery. The Congress Avenue bridge's reflection glimmers on the water, lined by thick foliage and towering trees. Throughout their trips, kayakers might find themselves floating alongside a family of ducks or beneath a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats, each of whom have signed a contract promising not to get tangled in paddlers' hair.
Texas River School uses our Rivers as classrooms to teach and reinforce traditional academic subjects to inner city youths; to introduce important personal growth initiatives like leadership, self discipline and civic responsibility and to foster a life long connection to and affection for Texas waterways.