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One, two, tree: 22 parks to visit in Austin

We’re highlighting the 22 best parks that Austin, TX has to offer — complete with swimming holes, pickleball courts, and playgrounds.

Crystal clear water with rock overhang, and hills in the background at Bull Creek Park.

Visitors to Bull Creek Park often swim, fish, or hike alongside the stream that cuts through the center of the park.

Photo by @oozoo_

Table of Contents

Whether you’re looking for a place to play with the kiddos or to decompress with some off-screen time, Austin features ~400 parks and recreational spots for you to enjoy.

Ready to plan your trip to the park? Grab your shades and trusty water bottle — here are some of Bat City’s best.

Nature parks

Bull Creek District Park, 6701 Lakewood Dr.
This 48-acre park is split by a stream often used for swimming and fishing. Hikers can access the Bull Creek Greenbelt, a two-mile out-and-back trail.

McKinney Falls State Park, 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy.
The only state park in Travis County, McKinney Falls is a go-to spot for local hikers, bikers, and campers. The property was once owned by Thomas McKinney, an early Austinite who financed a substantial portion of the Texas Revolution — learn more from our guide to the state park.

Barton Creek Greenbelt, Multiple locations
The Greenbelt is one of Austin’s most cherished attractions and stretches ~7 miles through south Austin. The natural area offers several swimming holes, including Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, perfect for a post-hike dip.

Rocks in the foreground, framing water in the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Behind the water, you can see a hill rising.

The Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of Austinites’ most cherished natural areas.

Onion Creek Metropolitan Park, 8652 Nuckols Crossing Rd.
Explore 517 acres of trails, pavilions, and play fields at this southeast Austin park. Parts of this park are bordered by Onion Creek and the Onion Creek Greenbelt, a 250-acre natural area.

Mayfield Park, 3505 W. 35th St.
Step out of Austin and into a tropical world at Mayfield Park, where peacocks and herons wander through verdant gardens. This picturesque spot boasts an early 1900s cottage and maintained gardens, which are commonly used as a wedding venue.

A close-up of a peacock walking over stone at Mayfield Park

Peacocks roam Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve.

Family parks

Waterloo Park, 500 E. 12th St.
You’ll want to check out this park’s calendar before planning your visit. The Downtown gem hosts several family-friendly events, including the Morning Glories childhood education programs.

Alliance Children’s Garden, 1000 Barton Springs Rd.
This one-of-a-kind playground contains climbing walls, a sand pit, a splash pad, interactive music features, and tunnels. As an added bonus, it’s nestled right off of Barton Springs Road with gorgeous views of the Austin skyline.

Kids playing on grassy tunnels at Alliance Children's Garden.

Kids can climb on top of and through grassy tunnels at Alliance Children’s Garden.

Photo by Joecelyn Zimmerlie/@mother.explorer

Mueller Lake Park, 4550 Mueller Blvd.
Located across the street from Thinkery, one of Austin’s best children’s museums, this 30-acre park contains an open-air amphitheater, picnic area, and interactive playscape. Follow the trails long enough, and you’ll eventually end up at the neighborhood’s Skate Park and Pump Track.

Pease District Park, 1100 Kingsbury St.
Kids will love exploring this park’s newly renovated Kingsbury Commons, complete with a sculptural two-story Treehouse. This is a common spot for Austin festivals, including the upcoming Eeyore’s Birthday Party.

The Kingsbury Commons at Pease Park

Kids will love exploring Pease Park’s treehouse.

Photo by ATXtoday

Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, 12138 N. Lamar Blvd.
This north Austin park boasts 293 acres of hiking, swimming, and sports facilities. Bring the kids for the park’s castle-like playground, and bring the pup for a run around the off-leash dog area.

Mount Bonnell, 3800 Mount Bonnell Rd.
Just a short — albeit very vertical — hike from the road, Mount Bonnell is considered to be Austin’s oldest tourist attraction. The lookout point offers expansive views of Lake Austin and is a popular hot spot for scenic picnicking.

The view from Mount Bonnell

Mount Bonnell is on the National Register of Historic places.

Photo by ATXtoday team

Dog parks

Zilker Metropolitan Park, 2207 Lou Neff Rd.
Zilker is so much more than a dog park, but it’s also one of the best places in the city to let your pup socialize and roam free. On any given day, expect to see hundreds of furry friends running around the park’s central field, which is equipped with dog-friendly water fountains.

Red Bud Isle, 3401 Redbud Trail
Dogs can run off-leash on the entirety of this 13-acre island on Lady Bird Lake. Access the island via car or via the water, but make sure to check on the status of the lake’s blue-green algae, which can be toxic to dogs when blooming.

A dog standing in front of the water on Red Bud Isle, wearing a yellow bandanna

Pups can roam free on the entirety of Red Bud Isle.

Barkin’ Springs, 2105 Andrew Zilker Rd.
This free dog beach downstream of Barton Springs Pool is a hot spot on a hot day. Again, make sure to check the status of the lake’s algae before letting your pup take a dip.

Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park, 907 W. Slaughter Lane
Access this park’s off-leash dog park — which contains a one-mile trail — off of South 1st Street. You can also bring your pups on-leash on the rest of the park, which has several options for hiking, biking, and play.

Auditorium Shores, 900 W. Riverside Dr.
Pups roam off-leash under the skyline at this lakeside dog park. Pro tip: Walk between this spot and Zilker Park along the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail to hit up two dog parks in one.

Three dogs looking at the camera at Auditorium shores, with the skyline behind them.

Take in the skyline while your pups enjoy a day at Auditorium Shores.

Emma Long Metropolitan Park, 1600 City Park Rd.
Pups will love the Turkey Creek Trail, a nearly three-mile long off-leash hiking trail that weaves over creek beds and through a secluded, forested patch of the Hill Country.

Looking for more? Check out our guide to dog-friendly spots in ATX.

Sports parks

Givens District Park, 3811 E. 12th St.
In addition to a swimming pool, tennis courts, and basketball courts, this park has an indoor recreation center with a full-size gym, weight room, and kitchen. Soccer and softball players can also enjoy the multipurpose field and softball field on the 40-acre property.

Pan American Neighborhood Park, 2100 E. 3rd St.
Play tennis or catch a baseball game at this east side park. The space also has a colorful, mural-covered outdoor stage for live performances.

People playing pickleball on a court at Pan Am Park.

Work on your pickleball game at Pan American Neighborhood Park.

Photo by @samuelajones

Dick Nichols Park, 8011 Beckett Rd.
Pickleball fans rejoice: this South Austin park is home to a public pickleball court, plus two tennis courts that can be adapted into pickleball courts. The 152-acre park also has a swimming pool, playground, and walking trails.

Balcones District Park, 12017 Amherst Dr.
Basketball, volleyball, tennis, and swimming are all on the table at Balcones Park. The scenic trails at this park also pass by a waterfall and creek.

Longview Neighborhood Park, 7609 Longview Rd.
Practice your backhand at this park’s pickleball courts. The 20-acre property also contains a history cemetery, baseball fields, and trails that wind around the Stephenson Nature Preserve.

Your park grab bag

Picked your perfect park? Make the most out of your experience with our favorite items for a relaxing day outside:

  • Is there anything quite like sitting in the shade and enjoying a good book? Check out our guide to books by local authors to help choose your next great read.
  • The Kindle Paperwhite is a lightweight e-reader option that stands up to bright sunlight.
  • A good water bottle keeps you hydrated — we’re big fans of the best-selling Owala FreeSip + this insulated stackable tumbler from Asheville NC-based retailer Pirani.
  • Heading to the park with kids? Check out the Owala FreeSip for kids.
  • Don’t forget the travel-size bug spray and sunscreen.
  • These sunglasses from Nordstrom Rack are available at discount prices + have a style for everyone.
  • Keep it all together in a handy tote bag — these adorable tote bags are all crafted by small businesses and local makers.

Ready to visit these local parks but don’t know where to start? We’ve created this handy map so you can find all of these featured parks.

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