Content Produced in Partnership with Visit Austin
The recipe for any great family vacation? The destination needs to have a combination of activities for the kids, conveniency for the parents (easy-to-grab meals are always a plus), and room for flexibility so that the parents can have just as much fun as the kids. Austin, an outdoor lover's paradise, and super kid-friendly city, is the perfect family getaway for families with kids of all ages. While your Austin family vacation might not be raging at all the music venues, there is still so much to do, see, eat, and listen to that are totally kid-friendly and cool for parents, too.
For the Great Outdoors
- Barton Springs: Barton Springs Pool is a must for families traveling with kids. The three-acre natural spring-fed pool is the perfect setting to spend half a day or cool off after a long day in Zilker Park. The crisp water is so refreshing and there is plenty of room to spread out and relax.
- Bike The Greenbelt: Rent a couple of bikes and have endless adventures around Austin, near the river and lakes. The city is very bike friendly, and it’s a fun alternative for driving. If you want even more biking adventures, head to Walnut Creek or Turkey Creek Trails.
- Hike the city: The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail skirts along Lady Bird Lake through downtown for 10 miles. The views of downtown are some of the best and you’re never too far from the river.
- McKinney Falls State Park: Located within Austin city limits are smooth limestone pools and picturesque waterfalls that are perfect for swimming.
- Mount Bonnell Hike: The highest viewpoint in the entire city with only 102 stairs to the top means even little kids can make it to the peak. While you’re in the area, stop by Mayfield Park and Preserve to catch a glimpse of the beautiful peacocks that roam the grounds.
- Kayak and Fish in Lady Bird Lake: Rent a pole and a kayak and spend a day on the lake teaching your kids how to fish. Definitely an activity for the memory books.
- Hamilton Pool: About an hour outside of Austin, Hamilton Pool is a beautiful natural spring-fed pool where you can swim, snorkel, and just have fun. Reservations are required, so book in advance to make sure you can get in.
For the First Timer's
- Walking and shopping on South Congress: From Big Top Candy Shop to Amy’s Ice Creams, there is something delicious to taste on each block.
- Cathedral of Junk: A true inspirational spot for kids to use their imagination and see how one man’s trash can be a treasure and work of art to someone else. Super fun photo spot!
- Peter Pan Mini Golf: This kitschy mini golf spot will delight the kiddos and spark a bit of childhood wanderlust in the parents. Play early in the day to beat the summer heat.
- See the bats at sunset: More than 1.5 Million Mexican free-tailed bats call Austin home from March through November. See their nightly flight near the Congress Avenue Bridge. Travel tip: the best view is from lake level, so rent a kayak and paddle over there to see them in action.
- Live Music and BBQ: Salt Lick’s barbecue is definitely top notch, but parents will love it for the outdoor patios, easy-to-order menu, and fun live music environment.
For the Arts and Culture
- Mural Hunting: Located all around the city, murals are a fun way to explore new areas and have the kids “be on the lookout” for street art.
- Austin Zoo: Nearly all of the animals at the zoo are rescues, making Austin a leader in research and rehabilitation. Your children will love seeing them all, too!
- Picnic in Zilker Park: Afterward, make sure to take the train ride around the park. Our two-year-old loved it, and it was a fun way to see different areas of the park without walking the whole way.
- Boggy Creek Farm: You pick 'em fruits and veggies — plus pretend you're a local!
- Lady Bird Johnson’s Wildflower Center: A true joy for all flower lovers, there’s always something in season at the Wildflower Center.
- Inner Space Cavern: Cool off underground and learn about the cave systems of Texas, the difference between stalagmites and stalactites, and uncover fossils.
For the Foodies
- Hopdoddy Burger Bar: Fresh ingredients with a fun outdoor patio and a selection of local beers.
- Shady Grove: Pictures this: A big patio, shady pecan trees, live music, and authentic Tex-Mex food. That's what you can expect to find at Shady Grove, a great, family-friendly dining location.
- Dinner and a Show: See live music and have brunch at Stubb’s Bar-B-Que, Geraldine’s, Guero’s, Juliet, and Banger's — just to name a few.
- La Barbeque: With their call ahead ordering, you don’t have to wait in line with kids for some of the best barbecue in Texas.
- Taco Ranch: A drive through taco spot that is cheap, delicious, and fast — perfect for the family on the go.