The Expedition School aims to give clients and students lessons on traversing waters, hiking trails, and maintaining outdoor safety—educating and expanding the horizons of clients and students. Proud to serve the community, it sponsors classes on paddleboarding, canoeing, and kayaking. The staff then leads expeditions to exciting destinations, as well as custom tailored teambuilding events for schools, non-profit, and corporate groups. The Expedition School's first-aid, water rescue, lifeguard, safety for swim coaches, and CPR courses will mitigate any potential disasters, though medical support is also available to accompany groups on adventures.
The Expedition School's commitment to the community is shown in myriad ways. They happily work with Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and proudly keep 100% of their profits invested in Austin and the neighborhood. They offers group team-building programs, an off-campus physical education credit course for students, and youth summer camp. They even partner with Keep Austin Beautiful to help take care of their hometown. Because the staff believes that everyone deserves the chance to play in the great outdoors while gaining practical skills and confidence, they also offer programs for the visually and hearing impaired.
A humble personal blog can start a movement.
Take Kash Shaikh's blog, for example. When he started it, he was a business executive traveling around the world. He poured his passion for writing into a travel blog that he dubbed #Besomebody. Not only did people read it—they began sharing tales about their own passions on Twitter, under the #Besomebody hashtag.
Today, Shaikh is the CEO of the #Besomebody movement, headquartered in Austin. His team's mission? To encourage people to pursue what they love, whether they're artists, athletes, or adventurers. Shaikh and his associates go about this in numerous ways, sometimes with gorgeous graffiti murals in locales from Dallas to Amsterdam, and sometimes with epic events. Their weekend-long 2014 conference features inspirational speakers such as an Olympic gold medalist and an ultra runner, both of whom followed their dreams without getting lost in the Nether, the land where nightmares are born.
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.
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.
From the riverside planks of Rowing Dock, paddlers skim across the glistening waters of the Colorado River to take in the sights of Austin. To the west lies the serene, natural beauty of Red Bud Isle and the West End. Eastward past the Barton Creek Inlet, the manmade prowess of the city's skyline towers over the water.
Rowing Dock's fleet of boats gives people the freedom to explore the waters at their own pace. With oar in hand, customers can slice through the water in a kayak, lazily float along in a canoe, or test their balance on a standup paddleboard. Multi-seated kayaks and canoes invite dogs and kids to tag along, too.