Boating on Lake Travis: Austin Bucket List for 2015

2015 Austin Bucket Lists

We say it all the time, but we do truly believe it: Austin is an amazing place to raise a family. With this in mind, we’re on a mission to go discover all the things which make our town special. To help get out more without getting overwhelmed, we came up with the Austin Bucket List project. Each year, we pick 10 things we’d like to do in Austin — with or without our kids. That sounds doable, doesn’t it? Then, we document our adventures here, with the idea of getting each of you inspired to do the same.

What’s an endeavor like this without a few friends along for the ride? We asked our blogger friends in Austin who’d like to join us on the Austin Bucket List project, and we were thrilled to have several takers. Last we heard from Lisa, she and her daughter took a Texan rite of passage by taking a tour at the Capitol. This time, she hit the open water. Here’s what she had to say:

My original Bucket List item was to rent a boat on Lake LBJ, but that was written in January, when Lake Travis was still barely above a mud puddle. After the rain fell and fell, I knew Lake Travis had to be the place to go boating.

My friend and I decided to treat our husbands and her dad to a wonderful 4-hour boat pontoon boat rental for Father’s Day…which happened to be a day that poured intermittently.

My girl with my mom

Not to be deterred, we got out to Paradise Cove Marina/Luxury Boat Rentals, despite the torrential rain we experienced on RR620. There are several other marinas out on Lake Travis – a quick Google search will bring them up – and I chose this one based on the ease of their online registration. There was no cancellation, though. If you didn’t go the day you were scheduled, they wouldn’t keep your reservation for another day. If you subscribe to Groupon or LivingSocial, I’ve seen deals for boat outings on there a few times a year.

The rate for a 4-hour trip on a 12-person pontoon boat was about $300. Any licensed driver can drive the boat, and the marina guys will give you a map and instructions on the best spots to navigate the lake, as well as no-wake zones and shallow shorelines. They inspected the boat and told us more than once that if anything happened to the propeller, it was $1200 for a new one. Seriously, don’t ruin the propeller.

They also gave us life preservers for the kiddos.

Eight adults, two kids and four coolers were shuttled onto our pontoon boat, where the rain came down and much beer and fried chicken was consumed.

My husband, the navigator

The kids loved being out on the water, and we were happy to be doing something different while consuming many beers. The kids took turns captaining the boat as “Big Daddy” (my friend’s dad) did the majority of the driving. The biggest hiccup was the rain; if we had sunny skies, we would have lasted a lot longer on the water than the 2-1/2 of our 4 hours.
AdvertisementI’ve driven by Lake Travis many times and seen it dotted with boats. We were lucky that the lake wasn’t super-crowded on Father’s Day, probably because of the rain. Though there were plenty of jet boats causing waves, there wasn’t an obscene amount of boat traffic.

During one of the rain stoppages, we found an area cove where we all took turns jumping into the lake to cool off. I normally despise lake swimming because of what I call “lake muck.” But the rising lake levels seem to have obliterated that problem. The water was really refreshing and we all had a blast swimming around…until the time came to get back in the boat. There were some ladder issues; to sum up, none of us would have make the Olympic team in Boat Ladder Climbing Agility.

Making sure we know how to steer and work the radio

Once the inevitable happened and we ran out of beer and fried chicken, we headed back to the marina. We were shuttled back to the main dock and hauled our gear back up to the parking lot. It’s remarkable how tiring riding on a boat can be!

A bonus to the trip was a stop at the Infamous Brewing Company on the way home. All dads got a free pint and the popcorn machine was a big hit with the kiddos. Plus, they didn’t mind us devouring the rest of our boat snacks…the ones that survived the rain.

Dads and kids on Father’s Day

Overall, it was a great experience and I would definitely do this again. As far as Bucket List items go, this one was pretty easy to check off the list. Next time, we may even go for a jet boat and try out some tubing or waterskiing. We’ll remember to pack more beer and chicken.

Other things you should take with you on the boat:

  • Pool noodles
  • Ziploc bags to keep anything you don’t want wet dry
  • Extra towels
  • A mini radio or Bluetooth speakers in case the boat radio doesn’t work
  • An umbrella
  • Lots of sunscreen

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]After growing up in Pittsburgh and bouncing around The West, Lisa Caldwell settled in Austin in 2012 with her husband and daughter with the dream of eating tacos for the majority of her meals. In her spare time, she writes at Hip-Baby Mama.[/author_info] [/author]


Lisa Caldwell
About Lisa Caldwell 16 Articles
After growing up in Pittsburgh and bouncing around The West, Lisa Caldwell settled in Austin in 2012 with her husband and daughter with the dream of eating tacos for the majority of her meals. In her spare time, she writes at Hip-Baby Mama.