In a city whose unofficial motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” even exercise options are offbeat. From goat yoga to roller skating, here are eight fun ways to exercise outdoors in Austin.
1. Goat yoga at Yoga and Goga
Take traditional yoga and turn up the cuteness by a thousand notches and you get “goga,” or goat yoga. This Austin studio was founded in 2017 by Rachael Phillips and Trey Kitchen to raise money for Hurricane Harvey victims. The 45-minute Vinyasa yoga class is attended by friendly baby Nigerian dwarf goats that playfully prance around the mats. Goga is ideal for beginners; it’s a fun and nonjudgmental class. Plus, it’s great for de-stressing. If you’re lucky, an adorable goat will curl up with you during Savasana or pounce on your back while you’re doing a cat pose (which maybe should be renamed “goat pose”?).
Info: $30 per class. goga.yoga/goga.
2. Take a dip (or swim laps) at Barton Springs Pool
Tucked into sprawling Zilker Park, Barton Springs Pool is a 3-acre natural swimming pool that’s fed by underground springs that maintain an average temperature of 68–70 degrees. Come steamy summer days, you can spot all sorts of Austinites on the scene, perhaps floating on an inflatable flamingo or swimming laps. A line often snakes around the diving board—where people watching is at its prime.
Info: Adults, $5; nonresidents, $9. Cash only. Open 5–8 a.m. daily (no lifeguards); 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Tuesdays, Fridays–Sundays, (no lifeguard between 8 and 10 p.m.) (512) 974-6300; austintexas.gov/department/barton-springs-pool.
3. Roller skate (or blade) at the Veloway
It was only a matter of time before roller skating made a comeback. Dig your old pair out of the closet and put your wheels down at the Veloway at Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park. The 3.1-mile loop was designed to host only bicyclists and skaters (no pedestrian traffic here), and it meanders through a more-secluded area on the outskirts of the city. The path is smooth but challenging thanks to Austin’s rolling terrain.
Info: Free. Closed 10 p.m.–5 a.m. austintexas.gov/department/veloway.
4. Let off some steam with Austin Bubble Soccer
If soccer and bumper cars had a baby, this sport would be it. Bubble soccer is a game of outdoor soccer where each player is in his or her individual bubble: an inflatable plastic ball that encases the head and upper body. The result: a game that’s played with soccer rules but that’s a lot more fun. In fact, it’s often done for team-building events and pre-wedding parties.
Info: Around $20 per person, per hour. (512) 584-0767; austinbubblesoccer.com.
5. SUP on Lady Bird Lake
Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is the quintessential outdoor Austin activity. Lady Bird Lake, a 6-mile reservoir on the Colorado River, is a SUP hot spot. The placid water is ideal for paddling (especially for first-timers) and feels like an oasis in the middle of the city. There’s nothing quite like gliding under the Congress Avenue Bridge with the downtown skyline in the background. And come sunset, you’ll paddle right under swarms of Mexican free-tailed bats. BYOP or check out EpicSUP or Live Love Paddle for a rental.
6. Play disc golf at Zilker Metropolitan Park
Disc golf is kind of a big deal in Austin—the city is home to five disc golf courses. The sport, which is played similar to traditional golf but with a flying disc, makes exercising fun. Often touted as the Central Park of Austin, Zilker Metropolitan Park boasts a well-maintained 18-hole course that is great for beginners or those looking to throw an ace (that’s disc lingo for a hole-in-one). The course is located in Austin’s city center, and, on a hot day, you can jump into Barton Springs to cool off after your game.
7. Skateboard (or BMX) at the Heath Eiland and Morgan Moss BMX Skate Park
The Heath Eiland and Morgan Moss BMX Skate Park was designed to feel like an urban plaza. Located on what was once the Austin Recreation Center, the 30,000-square-foot park has a swimming pool–like bowl, ramps, ledges, a half-pipe, and rails for all skill levels. And, because it’s Austin, local artist Chris Levack has created artwork that ups the wow factor. In fact, the place is so impressive that skate and BMX pros sometimes stop in for a session.
Info: Free. 5 a.m.–1:30 a.m. Fridays–Saturdays; 5 a.m.–10 p.m. Sundays–Thursdays. austintexas.gov/page/heath-eiland-and-morgan-moss-bmx-skate-park.
8. Hike (or crawl) the Inner Space Cavern
Head 30 miles north of Austin to Georgetown and you’ll find one of the best-preserved caves in Texas. The Inner Space Cavern is a maze of chambers and passageways that was hidden for more than 10,000 years; the Texas Highway Department drilling team discovered the cave in 1963. Visitors can choose from a variety of tours; the shortest is a mile long. The Wild Cave Tour goes deeper into the cavern for three to four hours of climbing and crawling. The good news? The cave’s air temperature is a comfortable 72 degrees year-round.
Info: Adventure Tour, $21.95. Wild Cave Tour, $100 per person. (512) 931-2283; innerspacecavern.com.
Freelance writer Anne Roderique-Jones has written for Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, Afar, Shape, Town and Country, Saveur, Elle Decor, Southern Living, Marie Claire, Men’s Health, and The Knot.
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