If you’ve chosen Austin, Texas, as the destination of this year’s family vacation, you’re in for a treat. This one-of-a-kind city is recognized for its quirkiness and its reputation as a haven for music lovers. But it also has plenty to explore for the whole family. With so much to do and see, you might feel overwhelmed and unsure where to even begin when it comes to planning your trip.
Fortunately, you won’t have to spend hours online searching for the best spots to take your little ones. In this guide, we’ll highlight our favorite activities for kids and how to find the perfect Austin hotel for your visit.
Explore the Zilker Botanical Garden
Found in the heart of downtown Austin and within the Zilker Metropolitan Park, the Zilker Botanical Garden offers a bit of zen inside the otherwise bustling city. Immerse yourself in nature’s beauty by venturing through the park’s butterfly trail or appreciating a selection of themed gardens, including the Mabel Davis Rose Garden and the Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden.
Each visit promises something new to explore. Koi ponds, live oaks, cacti, and hummingbirds are just a few elements to spot throughout the garden.
Watch the Bats at Lady Bird Lake
From April through October, thousands of bats can be found beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge, where they then head east over Lady Bird Lake just after dark. There are plenty of places to watch this extraordinary show, but one of the best views is right on the water.
When you and your family book a ride aboard the Lone Star Riverboat, you’ll enjoy a scenic guided sunset boat tour of Austin’s most iconic sites, followed by a bat-watch on the lake.
The Thinkery Will Keep You Curious
A hands-on children’s museum located in East Austin’s Mueller community, the Thinkery uses science, technology, engineering, arts, and math to let your imagination run wild. It features 40,000 square-feet of interactive exhibits for the whole family. Permanent exhibits are updated regularly, so your little one can keep learning.
The museum is open daily and within walking distance of Austin’s top restaurants and Mueller Lake Park, making it easy to stop in whenever you’re nearby.
Spend the Day at Austin’s
Can’t agree on what to do next? Austin’s is the perfect compromise. This amusement park is full of indoor and outdoor activities to keep your family entertained for hours. With an arcade, go-karts, roller coasters, laser tag, bowling, mini-golf, bumper boats, and more, there’s something for everyone, of any age, to enjoy.
After you’re done, you won’t have to worry about finding somewhere to stop for lunch. The park has a bar and grill with an extensive menu to satisfy whatever your kiddos are craving.
Play at Pease District Park
The Pease Park Treehouse is a great place to hangout and let your kids run free. This two-story treehouse is unlike any other, thanks to its open-air design resembling a seed pod.
At the bottom of the treehouse, you’ll find limestone block seating where you can relax and watch as your kids play. And if you’d like to join the fun, follow the circular path through the treehouse that takes you up to the large net on the second story. Unwind while you listen to the peaceful sounds of surrounding wildlife or plan an afternoon picnic among the treetops.
Reach New Heights at Zip Lost Pines
Zip Lost Pines is an anything-but-ordinary experience that allows you to see Austin from a whole new perspective. Take a full zip line tour and explore all six lines throughout the park, or take advantage of the Little Zipper Experience, complete with an hour-long unlimited zip session, yard games, snacks, and a take-home craft.
Elevate Your Stay With an Austin Hotel
After a long day spent exploring, you’ll want somewhere for your family to come back and relax. When you stay at a luxury hotel in Austin, you’ll be conveniently located amidst some of the city’s most notable attractions. Enjoy upscale guest rooms and suites, amenities, and incredible hospitality that make you feel right at home and ready for your next adventure.