Top Austin Summer Spots for Active Living

By Billy Bosco – May 8, 2022

Every year, I forget how hot Texas summers are. I’m quickly humbled as I melt the second I step outside. But I wasn’t raised to be a quitter and if you’re in Texas, neither were you. The party must go on! Thankfully, this city has plenty of options for workouts and hangout spots to avoid the heat yet remain active. Here are some of my favorites:

In The Morning

Running at Lady Bird Lake.

My favorite way to start the day is with a workout. It sets the tone for the rest of the day by getting the blood rushing and endorphins flowing. Here are some options for getting that morning sweat in!

  • Lady Bird Lake Run: The sunrise over Lady Bird Lake is incomparable to any other city. My favorite place to start is Auditorium Shores but due to limited parking, consider parking near the Mopac bridge on the west side or Holly Shores on the east side. You can make this as short or as easy of a run as you’d like. Feel free to toss in a bodyweight workout at the outdoor gym at Auditorium Shores. 
  • HEAT Bootcamp: The perfect full-body pump and confidence booster. Every coach at HEAT is personable and knowledgeable. They will watch your form while you move your body! This is a great place to build your community and make plans for the rest of the day. Grab brunch with your new gym buddies afterward.
  • Squatch Frontier Fitness: If you’re on the east side of Austin, this place is for you! Similar to HEAT, they have great coaches who will treat you right. Squatch has a tight-knit community of people making plans! This is a great place to meet new people, hop in the ice bath to soothe aching muscles and plan the rest of your day.

Mid-Day Adventure 

Barton Springs Pool.

This is the meaty part of the day. You have plenty of options here but thankfully, a Texas summer lasts forever so you have time to do them all. Here are some of my favorite things to do once I start moving.

  • Lookout Point Hike: Austin has as many trails as they do bars. This is my favorite hike as it has a variety of things to do. Just south of Lady Bird Lake and West of Mopac, this is convenient and offers downtown views. Hike into a forested ravine and along a dry creek bed. The trees will keep you shaded from the heat. Follow the creek through a tall cliffside covered by a huge moss-covered wall. The hike leads to the Austin Nature & Science Center, which has free admission and is a rescue for injured animals such as bobcats, owls, vultures and more. 
  • Zilker Park + Barton Springs Pool: This is the place to be in the summertime. Bring friends to Zilker and play a game, have a picnic or make new friends. After you work up a sweat, walk to Barton Springs and dive in that crystal blue water. Swim some laps in the deep section or hang out in the free section to get your bronze on. Since it stays the same temperature year-round, it’s especially refreshing in the summer.
  • Paddleboard West of Mopac: Want to feel like you’re out of the city without leaving? Rent a paddleboard and take it west of the Mopac bridge. The noise of the city will disappear, and you’ll be surrounded by towering cliffs. With a good year of rain, the cliffs will be covered in dense green vegetation. Every time I take this route, I feel as if I have been transported to a different country. Bring some food or drinks and relax away from the urban sprawl. Paddleboarding is also a great shoulder, core and stability workout.

In The Evening

Austin at night.

In the evening when you want to unwind, grab food and watch the sunset, these are the best places to go! 

  • The Oasis: This has the best sunset view in Austin. Located northwest of Austin, resting high above Lake Travis, this place offers a restaurant, a shopping center and a great way to end the evening.
  • Hula Hut: Don’t want to drive that far for dinner? Hula Hut is west of Mopac and north of Lady Bird Lake. It sits right on the water and has a great drink selection. You’ll also get the chance to see some giant carps waiting for food to fall! 
  • El Alma: Located south of Lady Bird Lake on Barton Springs is El Alma. Try to make a reservation so you can sit on the outdoor upstairs patio. At sunset, the skyline will turn gold, and you’ll have the perfect view. If you don’t want the night to end after dinner, walk to Auditorium Shores or Peter Pan Mini Golf. 

This city is full of life. The summer heat will beat you down and try to discourage you from seizing the day. Don’t fear — get your workouts done in the morning, hydrate often, do your preferred activity near a body of water and find the perfect spot to catch the best sunset in Texas!


About the Author

AFM ambassador Billy Bosco is an Austin-based personal trainer who sells his own fitness supplements. The world is full of deceptive marketing and fast-track approaches to health. It’s his mission to cut through this and help everyone become realistically fit.


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