You know you’ve found someplace special when you arrive at a park and a free-roaming peacock walks up to greet you. The 21-acre, historic grounds at Mayfield Park and Preserve are one of the few, naturally beautiful spots tucked away from the city where you can still escape the touristy crowds.
The property, centered around an historic, 1870s cottage, is lush with palm trees and tropical gardens interspersed with water lily-lined ponds. On a given weekend, you’ll find members of the park’s peacock population strutting around, displaying their bright green and turquoise plumage or watching over visitors from their perch atop the cottage.
Live oak, Spanish oak, and Ashe juniper tree-lined hiking trails disperse through the property’s backyard. Follow the path as it winds alongside towering limestone rock faces and down to the water; directing hikers toward an inlet off of Lake Austin—a good resting or fishing spot before you make the trek back to the cooing peacocks.
The park is a perfect daytrip getaway for friends, couples, and families looking to get outside and immerse themselves in nature. Be sure to pack a picnic so you can soak in the solitude and splendor of the property post-hike.
*Tip: If you’re looking to explore the area some more, take a stroll over to Laguna Gloria. Located adjacent to the park, this 1916 Italianette-style villa on the shores of Lake Austin is now home to the Austin Museum of Art. Or take a short, half-mile hike up Mt. Bonnell Road to reach the namesake overlook point (Mount Bonnell) that continues to attract visitors with its sweeping views of the downtown city skyline and Lake Austin.
**The park is located at 3505 West 35th Street. Entrance to the property is free. mayfieldpark.org