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Texas summer have you sweating? Cool off in Marble Falls

Unexpected Texas Marble Falls
Located in the heart of Hill Country, Marble Falls is surrounded by water, rolling hills, and outdoor adventures © Image courtesy of Visit Marble Falls; Graphics by Jacob Rhoades / Lonely Planet

When God blessed Texas with heaps of sun, he must have known folks would need the occasional reprieve. Locals love to get out on the state’s lakes, springs, and rivers, and no place is better situated than Marble Falls to take advantage of them all.

 © Jacob Rhoades / Lonely Planet

Located in the heart of Hill Country, about an hour northwest of Austin, Marble Falls is surrounded by water, rolling hills, and outdoor adventures. Lake Marble Falls, a reservoir of the Colorado River, features kayaking, boating, wakesurfing, wakeboarding, fishing, paddle boarding, swimming, cliff jumping, and more.

Marble Falls is also surrounded by the Highland Lakes, which includes Inks Lake, Lake Travis, Lake Buchanan, and Lake LBJ. Here are our favorite ways to make a splash in the Marble Falls area.

Lakeside Park and Beach is the perfect place to throw down your beach towel © Courtesy of Visit Marble Falls

Lake Marble Falls

In 1951, the construction of Starcke Dam on the Colorado River was finished, which created Lake Marble Falls. In the decades since, locals and visitors alike have flocked to the lake for water sports of all types. Lakeside Park and Beach is the perfect place to throw down your beach towel. It also has covered picnic tables, a boat ramp, public restrooms, a pavilion, barbecue pits, a tennis court, basketball court, and even a swimming pool.

Anglers can try their luck at catching largemouth bass, channel catfish, and crappie – guides are available across the Highland Lakes area, including Jay Fish Bird Fishing Guide Service, and Lee Benton. Want to take your own path through the lake? Boat and jet ski rentals are available as well through Bay Marine Sports Center, or you can rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Just Yakin’ Kayak Rentals, which services Lake Marble Falls and surrounding lakes.

Anglers can try their luck at catching largemouth bass, channel catfish, and crappie © Courtesy of Visit Marble Falls

Inks Lake State Park

Near Inks Lake, about 30 minutes north of Marble Falls, you’ll find Inks Lake State Park, a Hill Country treasure full of water and land activities for the whole family. Swim, water ski, go boating, or even scuba dive here. There’s even a large no-wake zone for paddling, and you can rent canoes, paddle boats, and kayaks from the park store. Two fishing piers are available, as well as a boat ramp and fish cleaning stations for your catch, which will likely include such popular species as sunfish, catfish and bass.

For a truly magical slice of nature, head to the Devil's Waterhole, where rock formations dot the water, creating a beautiful swimming spot. You can access Devil’s Waterhole by hiking or paddling. On land, camp out at nearly 200 campsites or one of the park’s 22 cabins. Many are lakeside and near hiking trails and picnic areas.

Texas Tidbit: You do not need a fishing license to fish from the shore or a pier in a Texas state park.

If you want to learn how to wakeboard or wakesurf there are few better places than Marble Falls © Courtesy of Visit Marble Falls

Lake LBJ

Also located along the Colorado River is Lake LBJ, named for former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was born and raised in the Texas Hill Country. Lake LBJ is one of the few Texas lakes that maintains a consistent level, which means the 21-mile-long lake is popular for boating, wakeboarding, water skiing, fishing, and even sailing. If you want to learn how to wakeboard or wakesurf, Texas Wake Academy holds summer camps for kids, and private lessons for all ages. Wakes2U also offers wakeboard and wakesurf lessons, plus sunset cruises and boat rentals.

For an elevated resort stay right on Lake LBJ, check out Horseshoe Bay Resort, which has numerous dining facilities, a spa, a newly renovated golf course, three pools, a kids’ club, tennis courts, and lots of rotating activities.

Plenty of kayak rental companies service Lake Marble Falls and the surrounding lakes © Courtesy of Visit Marble Falls

Lake Buchanan

Created to bring hydroelectricity to the area and to store water for flooding issues, Lake Buchanan is full of water adventures. Vanishing Texas River Cruises, operating out of Lake Buchanan since 1981, offers scenic wilderness cruises, eagle and birding cruises, sunset cruises, and private charters across the lake where you can view migrating birds, Texas flora and fauna, and waterfalls while learning about the history and geology of the area.

Along the shoreline, Black Rock Park is a 25-acre park with cabins, campsites, showers, restrooms, kayak rentals, swimming, fishing, and even mini golf, horseshoes, and washers. On the north shore of the lake is Cedar Point Recreation Area, which sits on 310 acres and offers picnicking, grills, campsites, a boat ramp, fishing, and paddling.

Texas Tidbit: From mid-November through February, the American Bald Eagle can be spotted at Lake Buchanan. The Ultimate Eagle and Birding Cruise from Vanishing Texas River Cruises gives you the opportunity to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Rock formations dot many lakes in the area, creating beautiful swimming spots © Courtesy of Visit Marble Falls

Lake Travis

Meander down the Colorado River toward Austin, and you’ll run into Lake Travis, a 65-mile-long lake where there’s always a party. Lots of restaurants, vacation rentals, and events are found along the shorelines of Lake Travis, but there’s still plenty of room to drift off into your own little oasis and find a quiet place to relax. Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area is one such place, where 654 acres of park are dedicated for camping, hiking, boating, and lots of outdoor recreation. Set up camp right along the shoreline of Lake Travis, and enjoy grills, picnic tables, and serenity away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Another tucked-away gem is Krause Springs, a private property listed on the National Register of Historical Sites. The Krause family allows visitors to explore the 32 springs on the property, plus lots of natural pools that flow into Lake Travis. Camping and RV spots are available, and guests can also visit the Butterfly Gardens on site, too.

With loads of waterfront activities and picnic spots to enjoy, it’s easy to pack a bag and hit the water in Marble Falls.

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