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. Unimproved boat ramps are located on the northeast shore, at Festival Beach and behind the Holiday Inn Hotel west of I-35. Additional access points for watercraft that can be carried are located off the public dock adjacent to Rowing Dock and in the drainage ditch off Stephen F. Austin Drive, across from Austin High School. Additional information about fishing in Lake Bird Lake can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website.
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.
- EpicSUP is located on the southeast shore of the lake at Lakeshore Blvd, in the South Shore District. They rent SUPs and kayaks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Zilker Park Boat Rentals is located in Zilker Park on Barton Creek, just downstream from Barton Springs Pool. They rent canoes, kayaks, and SUPs.
Businesses with questions about Parks Concessions should visit the concession webpage.
Local Boating Laws 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.
- It shall be unlawful 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.
- 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.
- It shall be unlawful for any person to dive from or jump of any bridge that crosses the Colorado River within the city limits.
- No person shall operate a gas-powered 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.
- 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.
- Only boats powered by electric motors that do not exceed a capacity of five horsepower can operate on Lady Bird Lake.
- 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.