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.
Suited for all kinds of aquatic explorers, the enormous fleet of watercraft curated by Austin Boat Rentals ranges from long houseboats to three-person WaveRunners and boats to pull water-skiers. But not only do they rent out boats, they plan parties, offer access to the Volente Beach Water Park, wakeboarding lessons, and even limo service to the downtown area.
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.
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.
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.