When most people think Texas, they think cowboy hats, horses, and country music. While some of that is certainly true, most people don’t associate Texas with great outdoor beauty. With high plains, rolling hills, and even a gulf coast, Texas offers a variety of gorgeous geography. In addition, Texas is home to 3,700 named streams and 15 major rivers. Kayaking in Texas can be quite the adventure with so many diverse ecosystems, making it one of the most beautiful states in the country to paddle in. Below is a list of some of our favorite kayaking spots in Central Texas.

Lady Bird Lake

Located in the heart of downtown Austin, TX, Lady Bird lady bird lake paddleLake is considered to be one of the best urban kayaking lakes in the state. Many think of Lady Bird Lake as a beautiful in-city playground that features spectacular downtown views as well as shady areas that make you feel like you’re in your own lake hideaway. If you paddle west of Mopac, you’ll get breathtaking views of the rolling hills that make up Central Texas. The section of Lady Bird Lake East of I-35 features great fishing opportunities for you anglers out there. Lady Bird Lake offers great sights of bat-watching under the Congress Avenue Bridge as well as access to live music along the shore. This area is great for paddlers that want an outdoor experience with close enough proximity to the liveliness of city life.

Guadalupe River

In the heart of the Hill Country, the Guadalupe River is a spring-fed, crystal clear river that is perfect for tubing, fishing, paddling, and swimming. Paddlers will discover class III rapids as well as long stretches of flat water. The Guadalupe is a river oasis that features tons of greenery consisting of cypress, sycamore, oak, and pecan trees. For you angling kayakers, the Guadalupe River is the only river in Texas that is home to trout year round.

Colorado River

As the 18th longest river in the US, the Colorado River is also the longest river with both its source and mount in Texas. The Colorado feeds throughout Central Texas and is known for its large width and slow-moving Colorado Riverpace. This is a great place to visit for beginner kayakers that want to paddle in a place with no rapids or hazardous places. There is plenty of vegetation above and below water that shade fish as well as paddlers. As you travel south, banks steepen and become extremely scenic with cliffs and sandstone bluffs.

Blanco River

The Blanco River is located near Wimberley, TX and is typically recommended for medium to advanced paddlers. Its rolling hills and steep cliffs make paddling on this river a wild adventure embarked with gorgeous scenery. One quality about the Blanco is that you can only kayak down this river in flood conditions, which can be dangerous for paddlers. Normal water levels make much of this river too shallow to navigate. Another thing to keep in mind while paddling the Blanco is that parking is scarce, so if you can get someone to drop you off, the more relaxing adventure you will have.

If you’re ever lucky enough to venture into Central Texas, be sure to take advantage of the many places to kayak. The beauty and greenery that surround the water of the Hill Country is unmatched. And while you’re in the area, be sure to visit Austin Kayak. We’re your source for all things kayaking, canoeing, and hiking.