A great early morning or late evening activity in Austin is to kayak or canoe on Lady Bird Lake. Paddling in the water is a great way to explore the city from a whole new vantage point, and it’s a nice way to get some exercise in as well. Below are a few locations that will rent kayaks, canoes and SUPs in the greater Austin area.
Austin Canoe & Kayak (9705 Burnet Rd.)
Rent kayaks, canoes and SUPs by the day and take them anywhere. With a rental you can receive a discount on coolers, dry boxes/bags and even sunscreen and bug repellent. Life vests are included with rentals.
Austin Kayak & Paddle Board (1610 E. Riverside Dr.)
Take advantage of free parking to rent kayaks and paddle boards by the hour and pick them up from the AMLI Southshore building.
Capital Cruises (208 Barton Springs Rd.)
On the south side of Lady Bird Lake, at the boat dock at the Hyatt, you can rent canoes, kayaks, SUPs, and even swan pedal boats by the hour. Free parking can be a little tricky if you don’t snag a spot at Auditorium Shores — here’s a map of your options.
Congress Avenue Kayaks (74 Trinity St.)
Located next to the Four Seasons Hotel on the north side of Lady Bird Lake is the Waller Creek Boathouse, which is a collaboration between the City of Austin and the Austin Rowing Club. One- and two-person kayaks, as well as SUPs (stand-up paddling, for those ages 16 and older alone and 13 and up if with an adult) are available for rental by the hour or half-day. Cash and credit cards are accepted, but you must leave a valid driver license while you are out. Keep in mind that parking can be limited in that part of downtown.
EpicSUP (2200 S. Lakeshore Blvd.)
In addition to stand-up paddleboards, they also rent single and double kayaks dock in the South Shore District, on Austin’s new Boardwalk. Cash, Visa and MasterCard are accepted, and you can also pay for your rental in advance online. You’ll need to bring a valid photo ID.
Rowing Dock (2418 Stratford Dr.)
On the south side of the lake, west of Mopac is the Rowing Dock, which also rents canoes, kayaks, SUPs and paddleboats by the hour. You have to leave an ID or a set of keys while you are out and you can pay with either cash or a credit card. Parking is available.
Peace Paddling (Steiner Ranch Boat Club, 12300 River Bend and Mary Quinlan Park, 1601 Quinlan Park Rd. S.)
Choose from single or tandem kayaks or SUPs to explore Lake Austin from the Steiner Ranch Lake Club ramp or the Mary Quinlan Park ramp.
Texas Rowing Center (1541 West Cesar Chavez)
Another option north of the Lake and right next to Austin High is the Texas Rowing Center, which also rents canoes, kayaks and SUPs by the hour and by the day. Parking nearby is free and usually plentiful. Cash and credit cards are accepted.
Zilker Park Boat Rentals (2101 Andrew Zilker Rd.)
Located just downstream from Barton Springs is the Zilker Park Boat Rentals, which rents canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards (perhaps, better known as SUPs) by the hour or day (if you hope to stay out a few hours and wrap up your trip by noon, you can use this coupon). Rentals are by cash only, you need to leave a photo ID while your boat is out. Some of the benefits in starting from this spot are that you can combine a canoeing outing with some playtime at Zilker Park; you can get the chance to see both sides of the shoreline (and the wildlife) as you paddle out to Lady Bird Lake; you will pass by Lou Neff Point, where there are nearly always ducks to feed and you get a chance to begin your journey in the relatively calm waters before going out into the huge expanse that is Lady Bird Lake, complete with a current and lots of other folks doing the same thing. On busy weekends, you may find the area downstream of Barton Springs can get pretty crowded too. If you head out on a weekend between March and November, you’ll need to bring along a few dollars to pay for parking at Zilker (and keep in mind there is additional parking east of the main playground, if you want to minimize your walking time. Just cross the Zilker Zephyr track and follow the signs down the stairs to the boat rental.)
Outside of Austin
PflugFun on Lake Pflugerville (18216 Weiss Ln., Pflugerville)
Rent a kayak, stand up paddleboard and pedal boats to use on Lake Pflugerville. Rentals are available by the hour only and include a life vest. Parking is available.
The Mobile Kayak (Brushy Creek, 3300 Brushy Creek Rd., Cedar Park and Jones Brother Park, Lakeside Dr., Leander)
The Mobile Kayak offers single or double kayaks, SUPs and pedal boat rentals at the two locations above.
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