Joyce Matthews, a Maverick Horseback Rider, contributed the following on a fun thing to do in Austin!
Texas Rowing Center is a fun outdoor activity to do with friends or with family. It’s located on the north shore of the Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trail directly across from Austin High School. The Rowing Center offers kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding. If you follow them on Instagram,
you receive discounts and more offers (@txrowingcenter). You can also receive a free additional hour with your rental when you tag them in your pictures. Another great thing about Texas Rowing Center is that they usually offer discounts with groupon so make sure to check it out on there before purchasing a rental ticket online or in person.
I have personally used Texas Rowing Center three times now. I have only done canoeing with friends whenever I am in Austin for a trip. In my opinion, canoeing is the safer option because the boat feels more sturdy and you can fit up to 3 people in the canoe with you. Even then, canoeing can be scary because you have this constant fear that you will tip over. The boat can tip over if you and the people you are with do not paddle right or without a “plan”. Even if you are experienced and careful, it is still possible that you may tip over into the lake. To get into the canoe, have someone hold it steady. As you step in, bend your knees and grab the sides of the canoe for balance. Walk to your seat along the center of the boat. Remember to remain in your seat. The slightest shift of weight can make a canoe tip. It is important to keep your load balanced. Avoid sudden movements or rocking from side to side.
Once you are paddling wearing a life jacket is an absolute must, particularly considering how unstable a canoe is and the risk of drowning and hypothermia. Keep your shoes on to avoid slipping or stepping on sharp objects near the land. Other safety tips include:
■ Keep an eye out for other canoers, kayakers, and paddle boarders and keep appropriate distance
■ Heed all safety warnings
■ Look out for hazards such as low branches, fallen trees, rocks and debris
■ Be aware of the currents in the water – you don’t want to end up floating farther downstream than you planned
■ Always sit on the seat or in the center of the canoe – sitting on the side of a canoe will cause it to tip over
■ Do not canoe in bad weather
If your canoe does tips over, don’t panic. Your canoe will float even if it’s full of water, and you can wait until you can get to shore to empty it. Stay with your canoe and paddle or push it toward the shore. When you get to shallow water, flip the canoe with the help of another person and carefully climb back in. All of this and more will be explained by one of the Texas
Rowing center staff members when you check-in. TRC has lockers for you to store personal items so you don’t have to carry them with you onto the lake.
There is usually plenty of parking on the street. If you can get over the fear of tipping or falling into the water, you will have a blast. It is just so beautiful out on the lake and truly an enjoyable experience. It has great views and calm waters, almost like a painting, if you go canoeing around sunset time. If you canoe during bat season, you may even get a glimpse of the famous Austin bats (another Top Austin Thing to Do) emerging from the Congress Avenue bridge (depending on how far you have canoed on Lady Bird Lake). I would highly suggest checking out Texas Rowing Center the next time you are in Austin!