Austin, Texas is jam-packed with sites to see, music to hear, food to eat, and the best places to swim in Austin! The Capitol and the Blanton Museum of Art on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin are two of the most interesting places to visit to learn about some political history and observe various art exhibits; Sixth Street and Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater are some of the best music venues to visit; Franklin BBQ and Veracruz All Natural are two of Austin’s finest eateries; and bat-watching at the Congress Street Bridge or hiking and biking along the Barton Creek Greenbelt are just a couple of options for outdoor activities in the city. Of course, if you want to venture outside of the central city, to commune a little more closely with nature, that is an option, too! One place where there is plenty to occupy a city dweller seeking some rest and relaxation is McKinney Falls State Park.
A short 13 miles from the state capitol, McKinney Falls State Park lies within the city limits of Austin. It is a 641-acre state park managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, well known for the small waterfalls that have resulted from creek water cascading and flowing over and through the Texas limestone ledges. This makes it one of best places to swim in Austin. Many people visit McKinney Falls State Park to explore this area where Native Americans dwelled nearly 9,000 years ago. Some come to camp, pitching tents, parking RVs, or piling into rental cabins on the premises.
McKinney Falls State Park offers numerous other outdoor recreation opportunities as well. Hiking and mountain biking are two of the most popular activities, because there are close to nine miles of trails that wind throughout the park. Birding and wildlife observation appeal to some visitors who visit the park hoping to catch a glimpse of the rarely seen painted bunting and the more oft spotted white-tailed deer and armadillo amidst the bald cypress trees and wildflowers. Fishing is also a well-liked pursuit for fisherfolk who visit McKinney Falls State Park; with ample shoreline access to Onion Creek and Williamson Creek, they are bound to haul in several fish, from sunfish to catfish to largemouth bass. Another fun diversion is a modern-day version of treasure hunting called geocaching; many small caches can be found at McKinney Falls State Park, as well as at other Texas state parks. Geocaching is often popular with families, as is another offering at the park: the Junior Ranger Youth Explorer Program. The Junior Ranger program allows children to record their experiences as they participate in a variety of activities while at the park; and they earn a special pin when they complete them!
McKinney Falls State Park is a great place to visit whether you are just visiting or if you live in Austin or the surrounding area. Its location on the edge of an epic city makes it an easily accessible spot for urbanites, suburbanites, and rustics alike. McKinney Falls State Park is just one example of why Austin and its outskirts are a great place to visit and to live. It truly has something for everyone!