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Lake Austin winds through some of Austin’s finest residential areas. Real estate opportunities range from palatial lakeside estates to luxury waterfront homes and condos. Click here to see all Lake Austin-area listings.
Formerly Lake McDonald, Lake Austin was the first large, manmade reservoir in Texas. It was formed in 1893 after the completion of the Austin Dam, which toppled in a flood seven years later. In 1939, the Lower Colorado River Authority built Tom Miller Dam, which stands to this day. Part of the Highland Lakes chain on the Colorado River, Lake Austin begins in West Austin at Mansfield Dam (Lake Travis) and ends in central Austin 21 miles downstream at Tom Miller Dam, where it feeds into downtown Austin’s Lady Bird Lake. It has an area of 1,830 acres and a maximum depth of 75 feet.
About Lake Austin
Unlike Lake Travis, Lake Austin is a constant-level lake filled with aquatic vegetation such as hydrilla and watermilfoil. Like Lake Travis, however, it is deeper than Lady Bird Lake, covered with boathouses and docks, and full of Largemouth Bass, Sunfish, and Catfish. Lake Austin is used for flood control, water supply, electrical power generation, and recreation. Recreational activities include jet skiing, boating, water-skiing, boat tours, camping, picnicking, and fishing.
Real Estate on Lake Austin
The sizes of Lake Austin homes range from the quaint, Craftsman-style cottages adorning Lake Austin’s northeast side (Tarrytown) to luxury lakefront mansions in exclusive neighborhoods like Watersedge and The Island at Mount Bonnell.
Offering tranquil surroundings, shimmering lake views, instant access to Lake Austin’s recreational opportunities, and a location minutes from downtown, the premiere real estate lining Lake Austin can be priced up into the multi-millions. Its lakefront homes typically include multi-level boat docks, and its cliffside estates can feature high-end trolley systems.
Lake Austin homes are served by several acclaimed school districts, including Austin ISD, Eanes ISD, and Lake Travis ISD. Zip codes around Lake Austin include 78703, 78746, 78731, 78730, 78733, 78732, 78638, and 78734.
Attractions near Lake Austin
Aside from the famous Pennybacker Bridge, which arches 350 meters across Lake Austin where it intersects with Capital of Texas Highway (aka Loop 360), attractions of Lake Austin generally revolve around recreation.
A three-lane boat ramp beneath this bridge is a favorite place for Lake Austin boat entry. Next door, the historic Austin Country Club offers a large clubhouse, a 180-acre golf course, 10 lighted tennis courts, boat slips, and a heated swimming pool. Established over 40 years ago, County Line Bar-B-Q is an Austin favorite that can be found where Bull Creek meets Lake Austin just past Pennybacker Bridge.
Walsh Boat Landing, located beside Tom Miller Dam, offers lakefront restaurants like Mozart’s Coffee Roasters and Hula Hut Tiki-Mex Restaurant, in addition to a historic boat ramp. Nearby, Lake Austin Marina offers a full-service, LEED-certifiable marina with 168 slips as well as a ship store.
Mayfield Nature Park and Preserve borders an inlet of Lake Austin and is known for its peacocks. Just next door, The Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria offers art exhibitions and classes for all ages. Mount Bonnell, high above the lake, offers a steep hike rewarded by towering sunset lake views and stargazing.
Lakeside Lake Austin Spa is westward and offers specialized spa treatments and a luxury resort. Emma Long Metropolitan Park, one of the largest parks in Austin, also borders Lake Austin and offers boat ramps, volleyball courts, and several swimming areas shaded by cypress trees. Nearby Ski Shores café has been an Austin lakefront landmark since the 1950s!
Residential real estate opportunities along Lady Bird Lake include chic urban lofts and downtown condos in luxury high rise condominiums, in addition to a handful of cliffside estates with Capitol and downtown views.
About Lady Bird Lake
Located in central Texas, Lady Bird Lake is the easternmost of a succession of reservoirs located along the Colorado River known as the Highland Lakes. Its 468 acres begin at the foot of Lake Austin’s Tom Miller Dam, curve around downtown Austin, and conclude at Longhorn Dam.
Of the three Highland Lakes described here—Lady Bird Lake is the smallest and shallowest, and the closest to downtown. Like Lake Austin, it is a constant-level lake. With a maximum depth of only 18 feet, most motorized boating is prohibited, rendering it a key recreational area for fishing, rowing, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, picnicking, and kayaking.
With its laidback, lakeside lifestyle, rolling Texas hill country beauty, and half-hour proximity to Austin, upscale residential real estate along Lake Travis remains in high demand. Click here to see all Lake Travis-area listings.
Located northwest of Austin in the city of Lakeway, Lake Travis belongs to a group of six man-made reservoirs along Texas’ Colorado River known as the Highland Lakes. The longest of the three lakes mentioned here, Lake Travis begins at Max Starcke Dam in Burnet Country and snakes 63 miles through Travis Country toward the capital.
Lake Travis boasts over 270 miles of shoreline ending at Mansfield Dam in the city of Lakeway, where it feeds into Lake Austin, which in turn supplies Lady Bird Lake. The surface area of Lake Travis takes up 18,930 acres, making it 10 times larger than both Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake combined. It is also deeper, with a maximum depth of 210 feet. Lake Travis boasts the clearest and coldest water of the three.
About Lake Travis
Created by the construction of Mansfield Dam in 1941, one of Lake Travis’ primary functions is flood control, characterized by a water level that remains constantly changing. It also serves a vital role in electrical power generation and as the water supply for the nearby city of Austin and the surrounding metropolitan area.
For anglers, Lake Travis has been stocked with several species of fish, including Largemouth Bass, Guadalupe Bass, White and Striped Bass, Catfish, and Sunfish. Recreation on Lake Travis also includes boating, kayaking, jet-skiing, sailing, parasailing, swimming, scuba diving, picnicking, camping, and zip-lining.
Real Estate on Lake Travis
With its laidback, lakeside lifestyle, rolling Texas hill country beauty, and half-hour proximity to Austin, upscale residential real estate along Lake Travis remains in high demand. Its neighborhoods are comprised of tens of thousands of homes. Offerings include lakefront homes, condos, and lake houses in a wide range of prices. Many feature outdoor living areas, pools, and patios that take advantage of the sweeping lake views. Elite offerings include guest casitas, equine facilities, and private vineyards. Waterfront and cliffside lots on Lake Travis also are available.
Prominent neighborhoods with deep water access include Northshore on Lake Travis, The Hollows, Reserve at Lake Travis, and Rough Hollow. Zip codes for the area include 78732, 78734, 78726, 78641, 78654, 78645, 78669, and 78638. Lake Travis homes are served by several acclaimed school districts, including Lake Travis ISD, Lago Vista ISD, Leander ISD, and Marble Falls ISD.
Attractions on Lake Travis
Lake Travis offers innumerable attractions, from fine restaurants and marinas to sylvan city parks and premiere golf courses. Some lakefront restaurants are accessible by boat after a fun day in the sun and offer breathtaking sunset vistas.
Lake Travis also boasts over 20 marinas, as well as watercraft rental sites. The Shore Club, aka Volente Beach, offers live music, beach volleyball, a swim-up bar, and lakeside waterpark. Nude sunbathing and swimming is permitted in Hippie Hollow Park, which holds the distinction of being the only legal clothing-optional park in Texas.
For a day at a lakeside park, residents can head to 323-acre Arkansas Bend. It offers a boat ramp, nature trails, restrooms, and campsites. With over nine miles of shoreline, Pace Bend Park features high limestone cliffs and impressive lake views. Bob Wentz Park at Windy Point is a favorite location for water sports like windsurfing, sailing, and scuba diving.
With seven golf courses in just two zip codes, Lake Travis offers a remarkable amount of golfing opportunities. These include private courses like Lakecliff on Lake Travis and public ones like Point Venture Country Club.
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