It is sooo hot in Austin in the summertime. Thank goodness there are plenty of spots to cool off, from blue holes like Austin’s natural spring, Barton Springs at Zilker Park, to Lake Travis. No boat? No problem. Whether you’re interested in a personal watercraft, day cruising, sailing, freshwater fishing, camping overnight, or water sports, GetMyBoat boat rental service has you covered.
Don’t know how to drive a boat? Also no problemo. You can charter a boat, complete with captain. Before we get into fun family-friendly things to do on Lake Travis (and the perfect boats to experience them in!), let’s get acquainted with the lake.
About Lake Travis
About a 30-minute drive from Austin, Lake Travis is a reservoir on the Colorado River. The massive lake has plenty of entry points from the small towns that surround it, including Lakeway, Spicewood, and Hudson Bend. Roughly 60 miles long, this expansive lake boasts crystal-clear water, several coves, and gorgeous views.
Lake Travis makes for a wonderful family vacation, but it’s also a good place for a romantic getaway or a fun trip with friends. During boating season (March–October), Lake Travis is a water recreation haven for everything from water sports to swimming.
From pontoons to powerboats, GetMyBoat offers endless options for boat rentals and charters on Lake Travis. A pontoon or houseboat rental is best for large groups. In addition to day boat rentals, GetMyBoat offers weekly rentals and overnight rentals. Rentals start at $65 an hour for a small ski boat and go up to $450 an hour for a luxury motor yacht.
Hang Out On The Water
Hangout spots on the water include Devil’s Cove and Little Devils, and Starnes Island is the best place for boat parties. All three are popular with party barges, so if you want some peace and quiet, it’s best to find a small cove to drop anchor.
Best Boat For Hanging Out On Lake Travis: Double-Decker Tritoon With Slide
There’s no better boat for anchoring down for a good time than a double-decker tritoon with a slide. The grandkids will love sliding into the lake from its upper deck. At 27 feet, this 2019 tritoon can carry up to 16 passengers. It comes with tubes, an Aqua Lily Pad to float on, and an icy Yeti cooler.
Grab A Bite At A Lakeside Restaurant
Dock your boat rental and go ashore for a meal at one of the many lakefront restaurants. Steiner Ranch Steakhouse boasts awesome sunset views from the patio. Speaking of sunset views, that’s what The OASIS, the largest outdoor restaurant in Texas, is known for. Emerald Point Bar & Grill, The Gnarly Gar, and Sundancer Grill all offer food and drinks on the water as well. Most lakeside bars and restaurants have live music on the weekends. Beachside Billy’s Lake Travis Restaurant & Water Park at Volente Beach Resort offers fun for the kiddos with slides, pools, and more.
Best Boat To Bring To A Lakeside Restaurant: Pontoon
Pace Bend Park is great for those who want to swim off its miles of shoreline. If anyone onboard is very brave, they can jump off the cliffs overlooking Lake Travis.
Best Boat For Swimming In Lake Travis: Bowrider
If you aren’t spending all day onboard, a small Sea Ray bowrider can be the perfect size. This 19-foot boat holds about six people and is located near Cypress Creek Cove, another great Lake Travis locale for swimming and cliff diving. Easy to drive and maneuver, the Sea Ray can also be used for water sports such as skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding.
Enjoy Water Sports
Water sports such as wakeboarding, wakesurfing, waterskiing, and tubing are popular on Lake Travis. The best (low-traffic) times to go are in the morning and evening. Upriver west of Lago Vista and Pace Bend Park are both lower-traffic areas.
Best Boat For Water Sports On Lake Travis: Wake Boat
Whether your family is into tubing, waterskiing, or wakeboarding, GetMyBoat has the Lake Travis boat rental for you. Powerboats of all different styles are available. Speedboats work well for all of the above, but wake boats are specially built for wakeboarding and wakesurfing, with an inboard motor and a ballast system to weigh down the boat so it makes a surfable wake. This Axis A22 has room for 10 people and comes captained, so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and soak up the sun as your captain navigates around Lake Travis.
Jetskiing is a popular pastime on just about any lake, and Lake Travis is no exception. You may even see some stand-up jetskiers doing backflips! Each year in June, the annual Jet Ski Extravaganza takes over the shores of Pace Bend Park. See highlights from 2019 here.
Best Jet Ski For Tooling Around Lake Travis: Seadoo
Some GetMyBoat boat rentals come with an option to rent a jet ski as well, or you can rent one separately, or rent more than one at a time. This 2021 Seadoo Spark Jet Ski is the latest model and can fit up to three people at a time.
Cruising around Lake Travis in a sailboat is a wonderfully relaxing way to experience and explore the reservoir.
Best Boat For Sailing On Lake Travis: Sailboat (You Guessed It)
Don’t know how to sail? No worries. This 30-foot Hunter sailboat comes with a skipper to take you around.
Try The Zip-Line And Floating Obstacle Course
Best Boat For Zip-Lining: Houseboat Yacht
This 55-foot deluxe modern houseboat yacht accommodates up to 50 people and sleeps up to 12 guests, so it’s perfect for a large gathering such as a family reunion. It is anchored in a beautiful cove next to Waterloo Park and the Lake Travis Zip Line. So, while you’re on the water, you won’t be cruising around the lake in the behemoth.
This renovated Airstream houseboat features astroturf decks and hammocks on the top deck so you can sleep under the stars. Two kayaks and an Aqua Lily Pad are available upon request.
Lake Travis is home to several lakefront resorts, hotels, and campsites, but there’s nothing quite like being rocked to sleep by gentle waves when you sleep on a boat in the water.
Best Boat For Camping On Lake Travis: Houseboat
After spending the day floating, paddleboarding, kayaking, rowing, and fishing in a beautiful cove, stay overnight on this houseboat. There’s a kitchen, a grill, and an upper deck where you can enjoy dinner. This boat stays docked, but the rental does come with a captained pontoon boat ride so you can get out and about.
Best Boat For Fishing On Lake Travis: Fishing Boat (Of Course!)
Enjoy A Sunset Cruise
Austin is nicknamed “the Violet Crown,” and when the sun sets, it’s easy to see why. Purple-hued rays are doubled when reflected in the water, which is why we recommend taking a sunset cruise. Plus, usually by sunset it has cooled off a bit. So if you want to go on the lake, but don’t care to get in the water, a sunset cruise is for you!
Best Boat For A Sunset Cruise On Lake Travis: Yacht
Get a taste of yacht life by booking a sunset tour. This 38-foot Cruisers Yachts 3650 Motoryacht offers plenty of deck space to relax and enjoy a picnic as you cruise around and watch the sunset. Don’t worry about driving this beast — it’s chartered, so it comes with a captain!