12 Best Beaches Near Austin, TX: Dive Into the Coastal Charms (2023)

Austin, Texas, is known for its vibrant music scene, delicious food, and outdoor activities.

However, many people don’t realize that while Austin is not a coastal city, it’s home to some of the best beaches in Texas. 

From hidden gems to popular tourist spots, visitors and locals alike often escape the heat to enjoy a day of swimming, sunbathing, and water sports at a number of nearby beaches.

The 12 best beaches in Austin, Texas, are:

1. Secret Beach

2. Russell Park Swim Beach

3. Bob Wentz Park

4. Rockport Beach

5. Emma Long Metropolitan Park

6. Volente Beach

7. Hamilton Pool Preserve

8. Lake Pflugerville Park

9. Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park

10. Lake Bastrop North Shore Park

11. Potters Creek Park

12. Black Rock Park.

This article highlights the top 12 beaches near Austin, Texas, including the distance and direction from the city and a few details about what makes each location unique. 

12 Best Beaches Near Austin, Texas

1. Secret Beach

Green trees near a body of water.

Located inside the city of Austin, Secret Beach is a hidden gem nestled on the banks of the Colorado River. 

The beach has a designated area for picnics and barbecues, and visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, and kayaking. 

While Secret Beach may not have the same amenities as other popular beaches, such as restrooms or showers, it is a peaceful and secluded spot perfect for those looking to escape the crowds.

Visitors are advised to bring their own food, drinks, supplies, and sunscreen, as no concessions are available on-site.

2. Russell Park Swim Beach

Russell Park Swim Beach, on the shores of Lake Georgetown, is about 40 miles (64 km) north of Austin. 

This family-friendly beach is well-maintained, has plenty of amenities, and is a favorite spot for camping, swimming, fishing, and boating. 

Visitors to Swim Beach can rent kayaks or paddleboards and take advantage of the picnic areas, restrooms, and showers on site. 

For those who want to explore the area, several hiking and biking trails are nearby, including the popular San Gabriel River Trail, which offers scenic views of the lake and surrounding hills. 

3. Bob Wentz Park

The view of Lake Travis from the Oasis near Austin, Texas.

Bob Wentz Park is just 20 miles (32 km) north of Austin on the north shore of Lake Travis. 

The beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, sailing, canoeing, and kayaking, and the park itself offers restrooms, showers, covered picnic areas, and BBQ pits.

The park is open only during the day, and capacity is limited to ensure the area isn’t crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. 

Additionally, there is a $5 admission fee per adult (ages 12-62).

4. Rockport Beach

Rockport Beach is a popular destination about 200 miles (322 km) south of Austin on the Gulf of Mexico. 

It’s the furthest beach from Austin on this list, but well worth the trip.

The beach is clean and easy to access, and the water during the summer is calm, warm, and clear, making it perfect for swimming and snorkeling. 

There aren’t a lot of amenities at Rockport Beach itself, so it’s best to bring drinks, snacks, and supplies with you; however, the town of Rockport is within walking distance, and there are several palapas for shade, picnic areas, and a big playground for kids.

The beach is open from 6 am to 11 pm Sunday thru Thursday and 6 am to 12 am on Friday and Saturday. 

There is no admission fee, but parking is $10 per day.

5. Emma Long Metropolitan Park

People on paddle boards on a large body of water.

Just 16 miles (25 km) from Austin on the edge of Lake Austin, Emma Long Metropolitan Park is a popular outdoor destination for swimming, boating, fishing, and hiking. 

One of the unique features of Emma Long is its proximity to other outdoor attractions, like the nearby Turkey Creek Trail, which offers a scenic hike through the Texas Hill Country. 

The park is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, and features open spaces, campsites, boat ramps, reservation-based picnic table sites, and a designated beach area for swimming.

6. Volente Beach

Volente Beach is a family-friendly private beach resort located on the north shore of Lake Travis, about 30 minutes northwest of Austin. 

At Volente Beach, visitors can enjoy swimming in the clear waters of Lake Travis, relaxing on the sandy beach, or enjoying the water slides and other attractions at the resort.

In addition to the water activities, there are plenty of other things to do at Volente Beach.

Visitors can play beach volleyball or grab a bite to eat at the on-site restaurants. 

There is also a gift shop where visitors can pick up souvenirs and other items.

There is an admission fee to access Volente Beach, but costs depend on what amenities visitors use and what time of day they visit.

Typical pricing starts at $15.00 but can be as high as $27.00 for adults. 

Additionally, the waterpark’s hours vary, depending on the day of the week, and the park is closed on Mondays.

7. Hamilton Pool Preserve

Photo of Hamilton Pool Preserve with green trees and waterfall.

Located approximately 30 miles (48 km) west of Austin, Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural swimming hole surrounded by a 50-foot (15 m) waterfall.

Visitors can swim, hike the trails around the pool, birdwatch, or search for some of the rare plant species found in the preserve. 

In addition to swimming and hiking, guests can partake in guided tours and educational programs or have a picnic in the designated picnic areas.

(Just note there are no concessions or shops in the preserve, so bring everything you need to enjoy your time.) 

There is a $12 fee per vehicle to visit the preserve, and entrance costs $8 for adults (13 to 61) and $3 for seniors (62 years and older). Children under 12 are free.

Additionally, reservations are required to visit the Hamilton Pool. 

Bookings are split between the Morning Reservation Period (9:00 am – 12:30 pm) or the 

Afternoon Reservation Period (2:00 pm – 5:30 pm), and visitors cannot remain in the preserve after their reservation ends.

8. Lake Pflugerville Park

Lake Pflugerville Park is just 20 miles (32 km) from Austin and boasts seven fishing piers, swimming areas, and spots for paddle boarding, canoeing, and windsurfing.

The lake is surrounded by a 3-mile (4.8 km) trail perfect for walking, jogging, or cycling, and there are picnic areas, playgrounds, a beach area with volleyball courts, and a pavilion to rent for events or larger groups. 

Fishing is permitted from the shore or by boat, but anglers must have a valid Texas fishing license.

The park is open from sunrise to sunset, and admission is free. However, there may be a fee for using the boat ramp, which is open year-round.

9. Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park

Two people on a boat fishing.

Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park is a popular recreational area approximately 10 miles (16 km) east of Austin.

The park features a large lake, perfect for fishing, boating, and swimming, public restrooms, two beach volleyball courts, and several picnic areas with tables and grills.

Visitors can also enjoy hiking and biking on the park’s trails.

Hours of operation run from 8 am until 4 pm Monday to Sunday, but the park is open until 7 pm Friday through Sunday during the summer (May through the first week of September).

It costs $5 per day/vehicle, Monday through Thursday, and $10 per day/vehicle Friday through Sunday and Holidays.

Guests wishing to walk or bike in pay $1 per day.

10. Lake Bastrop North Shore Park

Lake Bastrop North Shore Park is located near Bastrop, Texas, just 40 miles (64 km) east of Austin.

At Lake Bastrop, visitors can enjoy a variety of water activities, including fishing piers, a boat ramp, and watercraft rentals, such as kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. 

For those who prefer land activities, Lake Bastrop has several hiking/biking trails, picnic areas, and a sand volleyball court.

Lake Bastrop North Shore Park is also a great place to stay overnight, with several accommodation options, ranging from classic campgrounds and Airstreams to glamping cabins and safari tents. 

There are also restrooms and showers available for visitors.

11. Potters Creek Park

A photo of a seashore of Canyon Lake.

Potters Creek Park, on the northern shore of Canyon Lake, is a beautiful beach area just over 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Austin.

The park has hiking trails, campgrounds, and lake access for boating, swimming, and fishing and offers amenities such as water and electric hookups, picnic tables, fire rings, and grills.

It ‌also has a playground, volleyball court, and horseshoe pit for visitors to enjoy. 

The park is open year-round, but guests must have a reservation to enter.

12. Black Rock Park

Black Rock Park is located on Lake Buchanan, about 90 minutes northwest of Austin.

The park boasts several amenities, such as boat ramps, swimming areas, a fishing area, a children’s playground, mini golf, and plenty of space for outdoor activities like hiking or bird-watching.

Visitors wishing to overnight at Black Rock can rent Airstream campers, campsites (some with RV hookups), or lakeside cabins.

There are also flush toilets, showers, and 24-hour ice and drinking water machines available as well.

Black Rock Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and day passes cost $5 for adults (aged 12-65).