Austin may not be a coastal city, but there’s still plenty to do on the water. Although land-locked, Austin is bisected by the Colorado River, which forms reservoirs, or lakes, along it’s winding route to Matagorda Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. Conveniently for Austin residents, these lakes – Lake Austin, Lake Travis, and Lady Bird Lake – are all in close proximity to the city, providing several options of where to cool off during these dog days of August.
I’ve been lucky enough – thanks to my 2 outstanding bros! – to get out on the water a few times since arriving down here, and I have to say it is pretty nice. The water is just cool enough to be refreshing, and there is a great mix of good waterskiing/wakeboarding spots as well as quiet coves to anchor out and swim. Or so I thought. On a Tuesday, one cove we found had just two other boats. Fast forward to Saturday afternoon, and there were more than 50 boats lined up in the same cove, each with at least half a dozen sunbathers lounging on the decks, and more bobbing up and down on noodles in the water. I don’t know which was worse: the puke that floated by me at one point in the afternoon or the tiny lake leeches I found on my feet after walking around in the more shallow, muddy areas of the cove. Otherwise, it was a dream, although the opposite of quiet.
And then there’s After Lake. Like Aprés Ski or After Beach, but After Lake involves docking at a pier-side restaurant – or often more a shack of sorts – and chowing down as you watch fellow watercraft whizz by, with or without a skier in tow. The best After Lake spot I’ve been to so far here in Austin is Ski Shores, where diners sit just on the edge of the dock as swans, fish and even turtles beg for leftover scraps. It’s like a real-life aquarium!