Lake Travis Area Swimming
Lake Travis living is unique in that it combines peaceful lakeside living with all of the conveniences of the city in Lakeway or the feel of the country in Lago Vista. The area boasts beautiful rolling hills & ¬†access to Lake Travis. Beautiful Lake Travis draws people from all over Central Texas for recreational activities from canoeing to fishing.¬† The lake is part of the Colorado River and is the most popular lake of the six Highland Lakes in the Texas Hill Country.¬† In addition to attracting people who enjoy living lakeside, Lake Travis homes are located in a desirable area and excellent schools.¬† Also within close range of Lake Travis real estate are golf courses.¬† Homes in Lake Travis area range from basic weekend homes, retirement homes, ¬†to magnificent estates.
Lake Travis¬†The most popular of the Highland Lakes that stair-step up the Colorado River from Austin. The lake winds through steep, scenic hills for 65 miles with 270 miles of shoreline. At its widest point it is 4.5 miles across and 190 feet at its deepest at Mansfield Dam.The lake is formed by Mansfield Dam on FM620. Built in 1941, the dam took 1.75 million cubic yards of concrete to build it up to 266 feet tall and more than a mile long with 24 floodgates, making it one of the largest masonry structures in the world.
The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) has eight primitive recreation areas on the upper end of Lake Travis. When the land along the river was purchased from landowners, they quite often sold full parcels rather than small sections of river frontage. This gave the public large areas of former pasture land that has now been opened as parks.
Four of the primitive parks require daily permits of
$3 per day per vehicle and can be purchased at the honor boxes at the park entrance. By and large you get a nicer, cleaner park for the money. Annual passes may be purchased at the LCRA, 3701 Lake Austin Blvd., or through the mail. For information on the LCRA parks, call the Parks, Lands, and Conservation Department at 512-473-4083 or 800/776-5272, Ext.4083 or http://www.lcra.org.
LCRA day use parks are open from April 15 thru September 15 from 6am to 10pm and September 15 thru April 14 from sunrise to sunset.
Travis County also operates several parks around the lake; 512-473-9437.
Arkansas Bend Park¬†Take Lohmann Crossing Road from Jonestown (FM1431) to Sylvester Ford Road. A nice park with two big coves with lots of cliffs and secluded spots. Arkansas Bend has a boat ramp, restrooms, camping, hiking trails, and picnic tables.
Bob Wentz Park at Windy Point¬†At the end of Comanche Trail off FM620. The lake level determines how big this park is. The popular sailing area features camping, restrooms, drinking water, picnic tables, nature trails, showers, a boat ramp (restricted to sailing craft) and sailboat rental (seasonal). Travis County Park. Day use only. Pets not allowed on point swimming area. 512-266-2544 or 512-266-3857
Camp Chautauqua¬†A former recreation area for Air Force personnel at Bergstrom at the entrance to Pace Bend Park, it is now leased to nonprofit groups by the county as a campground. It still has lots of recreation facilities, a boat ramp, fishing pier, and meeting shelters. Swimming is available from the rocky shore. 512-264-1752.
Camp Creek Primitive Area¬†This park is 600 acres off of FM1431 at the end of County Road 343 on the north side of the lake. It covers a small area, but has good swimming spots. It also has a creek running through the campground. The park features a hiking trail, boat ramp, tables, grills, and toilets.
Cypress Creek Park¬†At the intersection of FM2222 and FM2769 (go west until FM2222 ends). This park is one of the first to be affected by low lake levels. There are separate areas for day use and camping, and the park has a boat ramp, restrooms, and picnic tables.
Dink Pearson Park¬†At the end of Lohmann’s Crossing Road off of FM1431. A great place to swim, but often crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. The park has picnic tables, a boat ramp, and restrooms. Last few miles of winding road to park offers panoramic view of the lake, but it’s no place to be if you’ve been drinking too much or you’re in a hurry. Day use only.
Gloster Bend Primitive Area¬†Off FM1431 at the end of Singleton Road on the north side of Lake Travis about six miles west of Lago Vista, this LCRA recreation area is limited to daytime hours and vehicles must stay on designated roads and parking areas. Nice swimming areas, but you have to carry everything from the parking lot to the water. Boat ramp is open 24 hours.
Hippie Hollow (McGregor Park)¬†This is the only clothing-optional beach in the state. Its rock ledges are great places to sunbathe and picnic, and it has restrooms and hiking trails. Take FM620 to Comanche Trail and follow around to the park. Travis County Park. Must be 18 years old or older to enter. Day use only. Pets are not allowed.
Krause Springs¬†A beautiful private park chosen as one of the best swimming holes in Texas by Texas Monthly. It has a spring-fed swimming pool, waterfall, creek swimming area, camping, restrooms, and showers. Take TX71 west to Hollingsworth Center (Spur 191) to Spicewood. Make a right at the four-way stop in Spicewood.830-693-4181
Mansfield Dam¬†On the south or west end of the dam off FM 620 (depending on how you look at it). The water tends to be a little colder here because it is deepest near the dam. This area is popular with scuba divers. The park allows camping and has restrooms, picnic tables, drinking water, a boat ramp, and nature trails. Walk across the dam from the observation area.
Muleshoe Bend Primitive Area¬†In a bend in the river that looks like a muleshoe, this is the largest of the primitive parks. From TX71 turn on Paleface Ranch Road, then take FM404, turn at FM414 (at the sign for Country Music Miniature Donkeys). The park has lots of low shoreline and shaded camping areas, but it seems like a lot of the trash in the lake washes up here.
Narrows Primitive Area¬†This LCRA natural area is open for day use only, on the south side of Lake Travis. Vehicles are required to stay on designated roads and parking areas. Off TX71 follow FM410/411 through Spicewood. Has a boat ramp that is open 24 hours.
Pace Bend Park (Paleface Park) With more than 1,300 acres and nine miles of shoreline, this park off TX71 at the end of FM2322 is one of the most popular swimming holes in Travis County, especially for its cliffs, overhangs, and coves on the west side of the four-mile-long peninsula. The eastern shore is more of a gentle slope. Twenty-two named coves with picnic facilities make it a favorite meeting place for large and small groups. Paleface has restrooms, drinking water, boat ramps, camping, a playground, and a jet ski course (seasonal). The one-mile center strip of the park is a wildlife preserve with hiking trails. 512-264-1482
Sandy Creek Park¬†This park was built on rocky cliffs overlooking the lake. It has a boat ramp, restrooms, camping, drinking water, picnic tables, and hiking trails. On FM2769 just north of Volente.
Shaffer Bend Primitive Area¬†Off of FM1431 on north side of the lake, take County Road 343A to the end of the road and make a hard right. The park has a scenic view of the river valley, lots of waterfront acreage with a low, gradual shoreline, and allows camping.
Tom Hughes Park¬†Turn off FM620 on Marshall Ford Road to Park Road, which winds to the park on the south end of Mansfield Dam. There is a steep climb to the water. Restrooms are available. Travis County Park. Day use only. Pets are not allowed.
Turkey Bend (East) Primitive Area An equestrian/ hiking trail winds over 400 acres, and it also has toilets and fire rings. At the Burnet/Travis County line on the north side of the lake off of FM1431 at the end of Shaw Drive (a beautiful drive in itself).
Volente Beach Club¬†This restaurant has a beach and volleyball theme four miles from the intersection of FM2222 and FM2769, and includes three sand volleyball courts, a swimming area, marina, outdoor shower, and great sunset. Coolers allowed, but no outside alcohol allowed in.¬† 512-258-9993
Windy Point Park¬†This privately owned park caters to scuba divers with a more than 100-foot dropoff with artwork on the bottom. The campground has showers and water. Next door to Bob Wentz Park at the end of Comanche Tr. 512-266-3337.
All information deemed to be reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified.