One of my family’s favorite summertime activities is splashing around the shores of Lake Travis. My three boys and I just love the beach — any beach. But we can only make the trek to the coast once or twice a year. So having something “beachy” so close to central Austin (about 30 min.) is just right for us. Bob Wentz Park provides the convenience we need for an easy day of playing in the sun, sand, and water.
While it’s true that Lake Travis has seen better (fuller) days, we can still enjoy what it has to offer, maybe just slightly less picturesque than years past. We pack up our car with a tent for shade, a picnic lunch, cold drinks in a cooler, sand toys, a beach blanket, towels, floats, and we’re ready for several hours of fun.
The City of Austin has temporarily banned public gatherings. Please stay home. The Free Fun in Austin calendar is only for live digital events at this time.
When you arrive, you can expect to pay $10 per car at the gate. Upon entering, you’ll find a restroom and several shaded picnic tables with barbecue grills. On summer weekends, you may find a vendor selling snow cones and beach toys. From this area, you take a bumpy car ride down to the water (on what is actually the rocky, dry lake bed), where you can park close to the shore in any spot you desire. Of course on weekends it does tend to get crowded in the afternoons, with lots of people setting up big tents for family gatherings. (My family usually goes in the morning when it’s quiet, and we leave by late afternoon when the crowds arrive.)
This park is also a popular spot for windsurfing and kayaking, which my boys love watching. You’ll also spot a variety of boats out in the water, although it should be noted that Bob Wentz boat ramp is currently closed.
After asking my boys what they like best about this park, they answered “floating”, “digging in the mud/sand”, and “looking for treasure”. (You can find plenty of kid treasures such as shells, driftwood, and rocks.) Other mom friends who enjoy this park have said that they appreciate the close proximity to Austin and the ease of just packing everything you need in your car and having it all right there. And another friend mentioned how she likes that it keeps everyone in her family of six happy for hours and it’s cheaper for her than paying per/person prices at some of Austin’s swimming pools.
Things to note before you go:
- Wear water shoes to protect your feet. There are parts of the beach that are a muddy, squishy sand and other parts that are very rocky. Because of the current lake conditions, there are also scattered tree stumps around the beach and in the water.
- Bring life jackets for children who are not strong swimmers. Be aware that there are no lifeguards.
- Admission is $10 per vehicle, cash or check only.
- The restrooms are a very long way from the beach. So make a quick stop in when you arrive or plan accordingly.
- Dogs are allowed at the park. While they are supposed to be leashed, I have seen them running and swimming. I have never had any trouble with this, just be aware if you have young ones who are anxious about dogs.
- Glass containers are not permitted.Bob Wentz Park is open daily from 8am to dark.
For more information, please visit the Travis County website.
Bob Wentz Park
7144 Comanche Trail
Freelance web producer and childcare provider, Heidi Okla is mom to three boys (ages 3, 5, and 7), and can’t pass up any opportunity for fun family adventures. Browse her literacy-focused kids activities on her blog, Read ‘Em and Leap.