Escape From Austin: Horseshoe Bay Resort

Photos by Tony Secker

It had been several years since we’d been out to Horseshoe Bay Resort, and as soon as we turned in off the highway, we were both asking ourselves why it had taken us so long to come back. This golf and vacation destination, located about an hour west of Austin, has a somewhat tropical feel to it that at times feels a bit more like South Florida than Central Texas. Vacation vibes were immediately in full swing.

The landscaping definitely plays a huge part in the allure of this place. From the moment you enter the resort, it appears that every flower and every palm tree is part of a grand design. We were also fortunate enough to visit in late spring when everything was in full bloom.

For this trip, we decided to stay in one of the villas, rather than the main tower. We were still only a short walk to the front desk, restaurants, and other amenities, but with the luxury of having what felt like our own town home—complete with kitchen, family room, and a parking spot right by the front door. The villas are also pet-friendly, which was the main selling point for us because we wanted to bring the pup.

After settling in (and a trip to the bar), we headed straight for the real bermuda grass miniature golf course, which was one of our favorite memories from the previous trip. The 18-hole, par 72 course is complete with sand traps and other obstacles, and is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, ponds, and rose gardens. We have a standing rule that the loser has to buy post-round drinks, which is a tradition that I highly recommend for anyone (over 21) that plays here.

To claim my free drink, we wandered into the Whitewater 360 Sports Club, which is conveniently located right next to the mini golf course. This place had been remodeled since the last time we were here, and now hosts a full bar with 360 degrees of flat-screen TVs. We decided to order a pizza and watch the NBA Western Conference Finals, which was a perfect way to end the evening.

In the morning we took the dog for a walk around the resort (have I mentioned the beautiful landscaping?) before heading over to the tower for breakfast at Lantana. They offer an extensive buffet that looked great, but we both opted for made-to-order options off the breakfast menu.

I asked for a cup of coffee for the road and we hopped on the resort shuttle for an early tee time at one of four golf courses at Horseshoe Bay. Today we were playing Slick Rock, possibly the median of the four courses from a difficulty perspective, depending on who you ask. It’s home to the “Million Dollar Hole,” which includes a waterfall feature that you drive your cart across.

And that was that. We were unfortunately only able to spend less than 24-hours at the resort this time around. Not nearly enough time to hit the pool, the impressive spa, the other two golf courses, or rent jet-skis on Lake LBJ like we did on our last trip! But, we hear they just opened a waterfront bar, which has our name all over it, and their Ram Rock course recently reopened after extensive remodels; as if we needed more reasons to visit again.