10 Incredible Picnic Spots in Austin, TX
As the capital of Texas, Austin is one of the most vibrant cities in the state. Home to the best live music venues, creativity, artistry, and liveliness permeate the air. You can’t help but feel the contagious effects of the incoming warm breeze of the spring season, coaxing you to spend more time outside and explore.
Enjoy Lake Austin, Lake Travis, Lake Walter E. Long, and other waterways through the city’s various parks. With the countless areas nearby available for you to soak up the sun and culture, it’s no surprise that Austin has a special place in the hearts of residents and out-of-state visitors.
As we leave the cool winter behind, the days become longer, and wildflowers blossom, picnics are a fantastic way to welcome the arrival of warmer weather. Pack a picnic basket of homemade foods, or grab a bite from one of Austin’s countless food trucks and trailers to enjoy with loved ones.
For the Austinites looking for the best picnic spots in downtown Austin and the surrounding area to have a relaxing lunch with friends and family, we’ve gathered a list of locations you won’t regret visiting.
1. Zilker Park
The well-loved Zilker Metropolitan Park in downtown Austin is over 350 acres full of opportunities to engage with on a beautiful afternoon. With three picnic sites available, there’s plenty of space to open a picnic blanket and dive into your food with unparalleled views of Austin’s skyline.
After a delicious lunch, you can also enjoy recreational activities. Take a walk around the Zilker Botanical Garden to improve digestion. Play at the disc golf course or volleyball courts to warm up your muscles. Even the children can indulge in the massive playground after fueling their stomachs.
For those interested in Lady Bird Lake and Barton Creek, stand-up paddleboard, canoe, and kayak rentals are available by the hour or for the full day to make yourself right at home in the water. You can dip into the spring-fed waters of Barton Springs Pool if you’re more of a swimmer.
2. Mayfield Park
Mayfield Park is a humble but stunning 23-acre oasis. This quiet beauty is perfect for those looking to connect with nature. The historic cottage, koi ponds, and luscious gardens create the ideal respite for busybodies. The free-roaming peacocks love to bask in the sun and wander around the park, adding a unique flair to the space with their majestic, shimmering feathers.
The park has a handful of picnic tables and benches so visitors can simultaneously savor the sights and meals in peace. Take a moment after your picnic to traverse the multiple hiking trails accessible from the park. Birdwatchers will love this chance to bring a pair of binoculars and spot the other species within the trees.
3. Mount Bonnell
Located inside Covert Park at 3800 Mount Bonnell Rd., a visit to Mount Bonnell gets your heart pumping. Hike up the 106 steps for a short, easy workout to the highest point in the city, and enjoy the picturesque view of downtown Austin from over 700 feet.
After working up your appetite and snapping some photos to commemorate the moment, enjoy lunch at the picnic tables scattered at the top.
4. Laguna Gloria
This charming villa sits right by the shores of Lake Austin and doubles as a museum, housing many works by contemporary artists from all over the world. The Laguna Gloria is a fantastic choice to observe a world-class collection of sculptures, designs, and other installations. The outdoor exhibits keep your eyes curious and stimulated as you enjoy a meal at the sculpture garden.
You can also taste Spread & Co.’s cheese-focused menu at the Laguna Gloria for a convenient option. The cafe offers a range of sandwiches, salads, and even charcuterie boards, perfect for a satisfying bite before heading off to explore the grounds.
5. Sparky Park
Previously an electrical substation, Sparky Park is a lovely, family-friendly spot if you prefer to spend your lunchtime chatting and relaxing. This pocket of delight in the Northeastern district of Austin is a small neighborhood park that requires no physical demands.
The unique artwork creates an ideal sensory play experience for young children.
6. Texas State Capitol
The thoughtfully landscaped grounds of the Texas State Capitol are great for picnics, given the ample shade the surrounding trees provide. Located on Congress Ave, the impressive three-story statehouse is the largest in the nation and made of red granite reminiscent of the sunset, certainly demanding your awe.
There are over a dozen historical monuments to take some photos of while you savor your meal. While you’re here, take full advantage of the self-guided and guided tours offered inside the capitol building or the exhibits in the Capitol Visitors Center.
7. Mueller Lake Park
This lively park at 4550 Mueller Blvd. is the darling of the Mueller neighborhood. Consisting of 30 acres of land, there is enough space in Mueller Lake Park for everyone to enjoy. Playgrounds, an outdoor amphitheater, and public art are some of the many features that decorate the area.
Have your picnic at the designated picnic peninsula. There are trails for soulful afternoon walks, runs, or bike rides. Restaurants, shops, a farmer’s market, food trucks, and other amenities are a convenient walk away.
8. McKinney Falls State Park
The McKinney Falls State Park is a giant with over 600 acres worthy of multiple visits. For those seeking a tranquil afternoon, spend some hours with the glorious limestone ledges of Onion Creek and engage with the local wildlife.
There are also outdoor recreational activities to get your body moving and wash your worries from your mind. You can fish and splash around in the Williamson and Onion Creek running through the park. Nine miles worth of various winding trails are also available for hiking and biking, presenting the chance to traverse for as long as you desire.
9. Bee Cave Sculpture Park
If you’re looking for a destination in the Austin area but outside of the cityscape, Bee Cave Sculpture Park is home to seven acres of natural wonders and eye-catching sculptures. This gem combines the beauty of the landscape with artistic talent and is a delightful spot to enjoy a picnic.
10. Hill Country
Hill Country has all you can imagine if you desire a change of scenery from the metropolis. This strip of land between Austin and San Antonio is worth exploring. The diversity of rolling hills, bending rivers, breathtaking heights, and more appeal to adventurous souls who want an exciting afternoon with stunning views.
Fredericksburg has a multitude of outstanding wineries to visit. There are infinite ways to relish in the serenity of sunlight and vineyards over some drinks.
In Wimberley, Montesino Ranch has horseback riding lessons for an exhilarating chance to discover its grounds. There are also many opportunities for short hikes and finding the best locations for picnicking or observing the sunrise and sunset.
Extend the Moment
If you realize that you don’t want to leave after seeing the gorgeous landscape and want to continue touring the area, Collective Retreats offers luxurious accommodations. There’s no need to leave Hill Country behind. Satisfy your wanderlust and enjoy the best comforts.
Our retreat located in Wimberley gives you access to the best of Hill Country. Enjoy culinary experiences that expand your horizons beyond the natural world. Our chefs offer memorable gourmet dining from breakfast to dinner using only the best local ingredients.
Our accommodations are available for you to stay however many nights you wish. Even as you rest, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the native foliage as our tents dissolve the typical rigid division between nature and civilization. We embrace symbiosis instead.
The Summit Tent has a chic rustic design consisting of a king bed with 1,500 thread sheets, a wood-burning stove to keep warm, and a bathroom fully stocked with necessary amenities for our guests.
Situated right by the hillside, you’re sure to love the panoramic scenery from the private deck. The Family Suite offers the same luxury with more room for your children to join you in the elevated experience.
The Best Picnic Yet
Picnics are a fantastic way to unwind if you’re bogged down with the monotonous stressors of life. Don’t let the choice of a perfect picnic area add to your woes.
If you need guidance on how to explore the area, our retreat is perfect for you. We know how to make the most of your time and have a wide variety of experiences available. Select whatever is most appealing, and you won’t regret spending your days with us.