After searching for family-friendly outdoor activities in Austin, it didn’t take us too long to realize that the city had a lot to offer. Surrounded by nature, the city offers kayaking, canoeing, biking, hiking, swimming, surfing (yep, you can surf in Austin), zip lining, and more. You name it, Austin offers it.
Although we had concerns about the Texas heat, we couldn’t rule out the possibility of zip lining over Lake Travis. To minimize our worries about the high temperature, we booked an early excursion with Lake Travis Zipline Adventures, in Hill Country, a 45-minute drive from downtown.
Combining speed, height, beautiful views, and pure adrenaline, the zip lining experience was nothing short of a blast for our family.
If you like a bit of adventure, here is everything you need to know:
Check-in and transfer
The check-in location was at a campground adjacent to the lake. We arrived early, at 8 a.m., so we played a bag toss game while waiting for the rest of the clients to arrive. We also had time to wander around the lake and take some great photos. The temperature was perfect, and the campground was quiet and peaceful.
After everyone had checked in and presentations were made, it was time to move on. There was a short van ride to a marina, where a boat took us to the zip line site on the other side of the cove.
Upon our arrival, our guides patiently showed us how to use and carry our harness. We learned the hand signals they would be using and all the “do’s and don’ts” to remember while we were gliding over the trees. They were friendly and cracked some jokes to break the ice in the group. In no time, we were comfortable around each other and already having fun.
Including this first half-hour of training on safety procedures and protocols, our adventure was a three-hour experience.
Zip lining over Lake Travis
With Go-Pros charged up and powered on, we were ready.
Surrounded by trees and dense foliage, we hiked up a moderate trail towards the first platform. It was still early in the morning and the weather couldn’t have been more pleasant. The smell of nature—moist leaves, wood, and wildflowers—aroused my senses, bringing back memories of my childhood in Brazil.
According to our guides, there were five zip lines. The first two, called “Bunny Slope,” were beginner level, just to get us acclimated; the last three were longer and faster, at 1,600, 1,800, and 2,800 feet long, respectively.
Once we were in place on the first platform, our harness secured and attached to a sturdy cable, all we needed to do was get a boost over the edge. With a guide along with us, and another one waiting on the platform at the end of the line, we flew down. Gliding from one platform to the next, we felt like birds, soaring over trees and thick vegetation.
The higher we glided, the more exciting it was.
The remaining two hours were much the same. A short hike to the next platform and off we went. Remarkably, the last zip line had double cables, so we could even race each other. This zip line also careened over the lake where it appeared to be tradition for folks boating or rafting below to wave and yell as you speed by overhead. My husband and I raced, and I lost. Our daughter raced another lady in our group and she lost as well. Apparently, body weight increases speed, so I happily took my loss on this one.
Around noon, we’d finished, and by then the temperature had risen sharply. Feeling hungry and hot, we loaded back into the air-conditioned van that drove us back to the campsite. Sipping a cold bottle of water, we looked over the hills and lake above which we had just soared, and silently said our good-byes.