Largemouth and guadalupe bass fin through the Colorado River rapids while birds soar above river islands and swimmer-friendly sandbars. Moored in a nook along this artery, Texas native and outdoor enthusiast Danny Walker—known as “Pops”—and his son—“Dan the Man Omega Mega”—equip adventurers by renting regular, tandem, and fishing kayaks, as well as standup paddleboards, from MOC Kayaks. To elevate river adventures from Huck Finn–style floating to Rambo-style hunting, pros outfit customers with fishing poles and tackle, sending them off to catch some of the river's more than 20 varieties of perch. For those who'd rather drop their lines in stiller waters, MOC Kayaks takes paddlers to Lake Travis and Lake Austin, and those who seek coaching on how to catch finned bounty can take advantage of guided trips. Dedicated adventurers can also buy their own kayaks to craft custom adventures or to take home and paddle around neighbors' pools.
The sagacious proprietors of Row Paddle Brushy Creek enable year-round water wrangling on idyllic Brushy Creek Lake with a fleet of stable tandem kayaks. Beginning paddlers and veteran boaters alike can take to the sturdy sit-on-top kayaks while careening around the 38-acre lake for 60 nature-filled minutes, catching glimpses of nearby fauna while disciplining errant waves with precise bops on their heads. Tote along your rod, tackle and reel in mealtime during a six-hour jaunt on Fishing Fridays, beckoning tasty water residents away from their underwater condo association meetings and toward your dinner plate. The Bushy Creek Lake Park area features a playground, nature trails, picnic tables, and barbecue grills for preparing fresh catches.
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 7 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.
Stretching across more than 6 miles, Lady Bird Lake's tranquil waters reflect the Austin skyline, the cliffs at Red Bud Isle, and the Congress Avenue Bridge, home to the largest urban bat population in the world. Throughout the year, Rowing Dock’s instructors take visitors into this manmade lake and teach them to paddle in kayaks or row within stand-up paddleboards. For customers who feel comfortable with their paddling prowess, the staffers rent everything from one-, two- and three-person kayaks, paddleboats and paddleboards, and canoes. As these human-powered vessels float across the lake, passengers can view the area's many native birds or canoodle with their oars at sunset.
Because space tourism is not yet a reality, the sensation of floating is usually only achieved by those submerged in water. Not so at Steiner Ranch SUP—the staff here rent out stand-up paddleboards that let visitors float atop Lake Austin, a gigantic, picturesque reservoir on the Colorado River. Visitors check out boards by the hour or half-day to navigate the calm waters, exploring nearby sights such as the dam or the renowned Lake Austin Spa. To propel themselves, they use the high-performance paddles that come with each rental.
The staff stresses that, regardless of age or experience level, anyone can learn to balance on the board. They even hold paddleboard fitness classes for those hoping to hone their strength and balance in a tranquil outdoor setting.
Since 1987, the staff at Texas Rowing Center has spent nearly three decades sending patrons skimming across the waters of Lady Bird Lake on paddleboats, canoes, kayaks, and racing boats. Novices can enroll in the shop?s Introduction to Rowing course, wherein they?ll learn crew techniques with guidance from a staff comprised of former college rowers. After the course is over, the newly knowledgeable graduates can sign up for a membership good for unlimited rowing and coaching. Casual water-goers, meanwhile, can rent a paddleboat for a relaxing spin about the lake?a more inexpensive way to enjoy a day on the water than barefoot waterskiing behind a helicopter.