Top-notch picnic spots around Austin
Picnics are the quintessential summertime leisure activity. The long days are perfect for packing up your cooler and blanket, grabbing a ThunderCloud sub, and heading out to explore new destinations.
Load up your picnic basket and check out these awesome places to eat outdoors around Austin.
The Butler Trail is the 10-mile lush, urban path that winds along the edges of Lady Bird Lake in the heart of Austin. Named after a former Austin mayor and his wife, the Butler Trail encompasses 199 acres of green space and is the hub of the trail system in and around the city. With so many scenic, picnic-perfect spots, we could easily write an entire separate roundup just about the Trail. Whether you want to perch on a quiet bench overlooking the water, gaze at the turtles, sit under a tree and take in Mother Nature, or people watch, the Trail has something for every picnic-goer. Our favorite spots include the Boardwalk, North Shore Overlook, Luke’s Point, Lou Neff Point, and Lakeshore Park.
The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a go-to picnic spot for generations of nature-loving Austinites. It’s a synonym for outdoor fun in Austin for good reason! The Greenbelt is ideal for adventure-seekers who aren’t afraid to work up an appetite before pulling out their picnic blanket. Hikers, cyclists, dog walkers, rock climbers, rope swingers, kayakers— this is the picnic spot for you. On extra hot summer days, we recommend having your picnic at one of the Greenbelt’s numerous natural swimming holes so you can take a dip to cool off.
Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city without actually leaving town when you go on your picnic? Try heading to Mueller Lake Park instead of one of Austin’s more popular and well-known spots. It offers a relaxed, family-friendly vibe. Sit there and take in the scenery, play a game of cards, feed the ducks, or lie down and look at the clouds in the sky…. No matter what you choose to do during your picnic at this delightful park, you’re sure to have an enjoyable meal.
Picnicking on the lush lawn in front of the awe-inspiring UT Tower is something every Austinite should do at least once. The front lawn is an incredible spot to lie down and talk with a friend amidst the beautiful shady trees, and the surrounding mix of eclectic students and university buzz is surprisingly warm and welcoming. Capturing the laid-back spirit of the city of Austin and those who inhabit it, the front lawn is a place that embraces all who enter. Bonus tip: it’s almost tailgate season, and this spot makes for a killer place to have a picnic with your to-go ThunderCloud sub before catching a UT football game.
Easily one of the most recognizable and picturesque views in Austin, the 360 Bridge over Lake Austin is an extraordinary place to dine al fresco while overlooking the skyline. The bridge connects the northern and southern sections of Loop 360, also known as the “Capital of Texas Highway,” and the drive out to the overlook is almost as beautiful as the bridge itself. There’s an area for off-road parking right before you hit the bridge. Park, climb up the semi-hidden trail and enjoy the magnificent view of the lake in the day, the sunset, or stars at night.
So what makes a perfect picnic? If you ask us, it’s a combination of factors: tasty food, an ideal location, nice weather, and good company or things to do.
Whether you’re a sunseeker, swimmer, hiker, cyclist, dog walker, rock climber, rope swinger, kayaker, or tubing enthusiast—Austin has a picnic spot for that’s sure to satisfy you. If you’re looking for more ideas, be sure to check out our previous roundup of Austin’s best picnic spots as well.
So…. what are you waiting for? Get out of the house, pack up a picnic, and savor the fresh air and warm weather!