Hike, bike, fish!
The natural opportunities are plentiful south of the downtown grind. There’s McKinney Falls, a gem of a state park that features nearly 10 miles of wooded hiking trails, two amazing natural swimming holes, and a 500 year-old tree with a title. Onion Creek Metropolitan Park is a 170-acre, off-leash park with a playscape for the kiddies and a system of lovely shaded nature trails with creek access. If those options don’t strike your fancy, try exploring the Williamson Creek Greenbelt, a ribbon park that borders winding Williamson Creek, the rugged five-mile Slaughter Creek Preserve hike and bike trail, and Stephenson Nature Preserve.
McKinney Falls State Park: 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy near Smith Visitor Center. 512-243-1643. Open daily 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Adults $6, children 12 and under get in free. Website.
Onion Creek Metropolitan Park: 7001 Onion Creek Dr. or 8652 Nuckols Crossing Rd. 512-974-6700. Open daily 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free. Website.
Williamson Creek Greenbelt: 5120 S 1st St. 512-477-1566. Open daily 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free. Website.
Slaughter Creek Preserve: 9901 FM 1826, trailhead through automatic gate near Trautwein homestead. 512-477-1566. Open daily 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free. Website.
Stephenson Nature Preserve: 7501 Longview Rd. 512-974-6700. Open daily 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free. Website.