Living in the Greater Austin area means your family has access to some amazing outdoor recreation, including hiking, biking, water activities, and just relaxing with nature. In and around Cedar Park, you’ll find dozens of local and regional parks, scenic waterways, and plenty of fun for the whole family. That’s why Crème de la Crème of Cedar Park on Parmer Lane has put together this list of six amazing, nature-filled experiences around Cedar Park.
Brushy Creek Lake Park
Right here in Cedar Park is Brushy Creek Lake Park, located in the Avery Ranch area off of Parmer Lane. This outdoor recreation area has a little bit of everything for each person in your family. It features the reservoir, a number of trails, a skate park, a sports park, and plenty of open grass and pavilions for picnicking.
Enjoy the water by launching a kayak or canoe from the shore. Just paddle around or cast a line to fish for bluegill, crappie, walleye, muskie, yellow perch, catfish, and largemouth bass. If you’re looking for a scenic place to stroll, the Brushy Creek Regional Trail does a few loops around the park and near the reservoir. Or you can take a longer hike or bike ride along the Brushy Creek Greenbelt toward Champion Park and Olson Meadows Park to the east or toward the Twin Lakes area to the west.
You can also take the kids rollerskating or skateboarding at the skate park, play volleyball at the sand courts, have a round of bocce ball, cool off at the splash pad, or spend time on the playground.
Cedar Park Sculpture Garden
Mix art appreciation and nature exploration together with a visit to the Cedar Park Sculpture Garden, located outside of the Cedar Park Recreation Center. This collection of unique art pieces features different types of sculptures made of diverse materials, including wood, ceramic, and metal. Many pieces in the collection are temporary, and the city rotates new pieces in, so there’s something new to see every few months.
Twin Creeks Historic Park
Twin Creeks Historic Park embraces its history, from the John M. King Log House, which has been around since 1859, to the storied past of the land itself. Hike the Twin Creeks Historic Park Trail, which is about 2.2 miles out and back, taking around an hour to complete. It’s an easy route, with just a little elevation gain and dog-friendly path that’s paved, so it’s good for kiddos, too. On your hike, you’ll see waterfalls, traverse little creek crossings, walk over bridges, pass other historical structures, and get the chance to explore a quaint cave surrounded by lush forest.
Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
About 19 miles south of Cedar Park in the tippy-top of Austin, you’ll find Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve. This park is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it features historic buildings, beautiful gardens, large palm trees, water lilies floating in stone ponds, and stunning peacocks roaming the grounds. There’s also a 21-acre nature preserve that’s home to the park’s trails and wildlife habitats for native animals.
This outdoor retreat is the perfect destination for a scenic hike. Animal lovers will enjoy walking among the peacocks, viewing the koi in the ponds, and looking for animals like bullfrogs, turtles, herons, egrets, and snakes while hiking in the woods. If you’re looking for a photogenic picnic spot or special event venue, the historic cottage and gardens here at Mayfield Park are a great option.
Lake Travis is about 15 miles southwest of Cedar Park, and this waterway is home to multiple parks and activities. At Mansfield Dam Park, you can enjoy camping and picnicking by the water and swimming in a secret cove. Arkansas Bend Park is known for its beautiful sandy beach, convenient boat launches, cozy campsites, and nature trails. Consider visiting Bob Wentz Park, too, where you’ll find a beach, sand volleyball, designated scuba diving and swimming areas, and covered picnic tables to get out of the hot Texas sun.
Since Lake Travis is a wider portion of this part of the Colorado River, you can enjoy all sorts of water activities. Go kayaking or canoeing along the river and in the lake. Take a ride on a sailboat, small yacht, pontoon, or party boat, or try out wakeboarding. Go scuba diving to explore the aquatic life and depths of the lake. Cast your line from one of the docks, from a watercraft, or while on a fishing tour. There are also a couple of zipline parks, many waterfront restaurants and bars, a giant blowup water park on the lake’s surface, and multiple golf courses.
Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
Located about 18 miles west of Cedar Park and north of Lake Travis is Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. This nature preserve is home to hundreds of different species of plants and animals native to Texas. It was originally established to protect the habitats of local songbirds and ensure the prosperity of these species. That’s because these birds only thrive in the marshy caves and sinkholes unique to this area. This terrain also makes for some fantastic nature viewing.
This wildlife refuge is an animal lover’s paradise because the park hosts guided hikes and other educational experiences that teach you about the native plants and animals that call the refuge home. Take a birding trip to view habitats and spot birds like eagles, warblers, spoonbills, and puffins. Or, hike a few of the 2,100 miles of nature trails and look for animal tracks and nests from a safe distance. This park also allows some hunting, which can actually help maintain a safe population. And if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to bow hunt, take some archery lessons here.
So there you have it, six nature-filled experiences in and around the Cedar Park, Texas, area. There are many other local parks in Cedar Park, Austin, and other nearby towns with plenty of fun outdoor activities. Did we miss any of your family’s favorite outdoor retreats? If so, contact us, and we’ll be sure to add it to our list!