Public Lake Access and Launch Areas
- IH 35 and East Avenue - unimproved boat ramp
- IH 35 behind the Holiday Inn - unimproved boat ramp. Paid on street parking.
- Stephen F Austin Drive under Mopac - unimproved path to north shore. Paid on street parking.
- Red Bud Isle - Shoreline access is available at Red Bud Isle in the upper end of the reservoir near Tom Miller Dam and on the hike-and-bike trail, which circles almost the entire lower two-thirds of the lake
- Stephen F Austin Drive - approximately 600' south of Cesar Chavez. Unimproved boat ramp. Paid parking on street.
- Festival Beach Boat Ramp - Nash Hernandez Senior Road. Limited parking on site.
- The Rowing Dock - Stratford Drive. Small public dock on the side of the Rowing Dock Facility. Extremely limited parking largely used by customers.
A variety of watercraft rentals are available around Lady Bird Lake. The following businesses have been awarded contracts to operate watercraft rental concessions on parkland:
- Austin Rowing Club is located downtown at the Waller Creek Boathouse, at the end of Trinity Street. Austin Rowing Club offers a variety of rowing programs for youth and adult rowers; need-based scholarships are available. In addition, kayak, canoe, and SUP rentals are available. The boathouse also has Alta’s Café, with a great view of Lady Bird Lake.
- limited on site parking, largely used by customers
- EpicSUP is located on the southeast shore of the lake at Lakeshore Blvd, in the South Shore District. They rent SUPs and kayaks.
- limited on site parking, largely used by customers
- The Expedition School is located on the northeast shore of the lake at the Festival Beach boat ramp, at the end of Nash Hernandez Sr. Road. They rent SUPs, kayaks, and canoes, and offer group paddling sessions, guided paddling sessions, and lessons.
- Rowing Dock is located west of MoPac on the south shore of the lake, with the entrance off Stratford Drive in Zilker Park. They offer kayaks, canoes, and SUPs for rent.
- limited on site parking, largely used by customers. Expect significant traffic March - September.
- Texas Rowing Center is located on the lake just south of Austin High School. Texas Rowing Center offers a variety of rowing programs, lessons, and coaching for youth and adults; summer camps; and kayak, canoe, and SUP rentals.
- Paid parking along Stephen F. Austin Drive.
- Zilker Park Boat Rentals is located in Zilker Park on Barton Creek, just downstream from Barton Springs Pool. They rent canoes, kayaks, and SUPs.
- parking lots for at large park use. Expect significant traffic March - September.
Businesses with questions about Parks Concessions should visit the concession webpage. A concession approval (permit) is required for any rental to the public of a boat designed for recreational rowing/canoe/kayaking/shell/rowboat, to operate an excursion, or similar, or other purposes defined as commercial under Park Code.
In addition to the Texas Water Safety Act, the City of Austin has established several ordinances for Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake and Lake Walter E. Long. The purposes of these ordinances are to protect the health and safety of the public using the area lakes.
- Texas law requires the following with respect to PFDs (personal flotation devices). Recreational vessels (including canoes, kayaks, and other paddlecraft) under 26ft. in length when underway (including drifting or not at anchor).
- All children under 13 years old must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket, (type I, II, III, or V (wearable).
- Adults must have a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket, (type I, II, III, or V (wearable) that is easily accessible.
- Fishing: It shall be unlawful for any person to fish from the deck or other portion of any bridge that crosses the Colorado River within the city limits. Additional information about fishing in Lake Bird Lake can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.
Local Laws (Austin City Code of Ordinances Chapter 8)
Concessions: A concession approval (permit) is required for any rental to the public of a boat designed for recreational rowing/canoe/kayaking/shell/rowboat, to operate an excursion, or similar, or other purposes defined as commercial under Park Code.
Events/Exhibitions: No public event or exhibition may occur on Lady Bird Lake without City of Austin and City Council authorization.
Swimming: It is illegal for any person to swim, bathe, wade or go into the waters of Lady Bird Lake, except in efforts to rescue and recover human beings.
Jumping/Diving:It shall be unlawful for any person to dive from or jump of any bridge that crosses the Colorado River within the city limits.
Motorized Vessels: No person shall operate a gas-powered or electric motor vessel on the waters of Lady Bird Lake, except with the permission of the city. Motorboats operated by officers and employees of the city in the performance of their official duties are exempt. Only watercraft powered by electric motors that do not exceed a capacity of five horsepower can operate on Lady Bird Lake. Home made watercraft with any motor additionally required Texas Parks and Wildlife registration and inspection.
- No person on any watercraft on Lake Austin, Lake Walter E. Long, or Lady Bird Lake shall possess, use or operate, or assist in the use or other similar device capable of propelling or launching fluid-filled balloons or other projectiles.
- No person within 150 yards of the shoreline of Lake Austin, Lake Walter E. Long, or Lady Bird Lake shall use or operate, or assist in the use, of other similar device to propel or launch fluid-filled balloons or other projectiles towards the waters of said lakes.
- It shall be unlawful for any person to occupying watercraft located on Lady Bird Lake for the purpose of sleeping between dusk and dawn or overnight habitation unless the City Council approves otherwise.