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Just because school’s back in session, doesn’t mean that summer feeling has to come to end. That’s why happyly is partnering with Free Fun in Austin to offer readers a bevy of curated activities for a fun and active family day in the midst of these strange times. After all, it is happyly’s mission to inspire fun and safe outings so you can spend less time planning and enjoy more quality time together. This week, getcher pedal on because we’re planning a fun biking day complete with burgers and a pit stop at Govalle Park!
Start Your Day at Southern Walnut Creek Trail
Looking for some fresh air and a safe place to let all the little bikers in your life enjoy the open road? Then look no further than the Southern Walnut Creek Trail! Seriously, Bike Austin calls this entirely paved trail the “gateway to cycling bliss.” Fun fact: this trail, which opened in 2014, took two decades to build and was Austin’s first urban trail!
Spanning a width of ten feet, this trail crosses only one roadway for a near-carless bike ride. In our books, that makes it the perfect place for beginners, gaggles of kids, bikers looking for a socially distanced hang with friends, and those hoping to take in the gorgeous scenery – you’ll pedal past some waterways too.
Know before you go:
The full trail runs about nine miles from Govalle Park to the Walnut Creek Sports Park in North East Austin (we’re talking east of 183). Obviously, you can make this ride as long or as short as you want, but the first few miles are the most kid-friendly. Afterward, you’ll find some steep hills that may overwhelm little legs. But the wide, paved path lends itself to a smooth ride. If your crew is the exploring type, there are some unpaved side trails that are also fun to ride around on!
Parts of the trail are quite shaded, while others offer awesome views of grassland, wildflowers, and that big Texas sky. (The last few miles are notably less shaded.) As mentioned above, this is a well-loved trail by many cyclists, so it can get busy on the weekends. It is also rather toasty during summer afternoons. We suggest a morning ride to beat the heat and the crowds. Parking is usually a breeze as there’s a lot at the Govalle Park entrance.
Southern Walnut Creek Trail
Location: Govalle Park entrance at 5200 Bolm Road
Hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
If you happen to be looking for more places for beginners to have a biking day in Austin, check out this post.
Refuel with Dan’s Hamburgers To-Go
Just across the (busy) street from Govalle Park, you’ll find old-school Austin, no-frills burgers, as well as grilled cheese, chicken tenders, fries of several varieties, homemade onion rings, and shakes. Dan’s Hamburgers has been grilling up patties since 1973 and while it’s nothing fancy, these classic burgers are an instant (and affordable) kid-pleaser. Perfect after a long day of biking.
Dan’s dining room is currently open at limited capacity. If you’d prefer, grab an order to go from their drive-thru and enjoy a picnic in the park.
Location: 844 Airport Boulevard
Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m (open ‘til 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays)
Price: $1.69 – $7 per order
Lounge at Govalle Park
Govalle Park is an Eastside gem at any time, but its offerings are slightly dimmed under the City’s current COVID-19 safety measures. Normally, we’d suggest a dip in the Govalle Pool or a romp on the park’s expansive play structures – one for toddlers, one for older kids, both with super fun slides – but the pool and playgrounds are currently closed. Still, the 26-acre spot features endless grassy fields to run, skip, or roll in, plus picnic tables that are perfect for, well, picnics. Parking in the lot is free and public bathrooms are available, but they’re not always the cleanest, so plan accordingly.
Location: 5200 Bolm Road
Hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Bug spray
- Hand sanitizer/ wipes
Happyly is the country’s only mobile-first family activity planning app focused on helping families live their best life.
We are passionate about supporting families in a fulfilling, balanced, and active outdoor lifestyle. How? By developing resources and delivering inspiration to fit your personal needs, whether it be for planning an afternoon or a long journey. With the help of happyly, you will save hours of wasted time planning, as well as the frustration and disappointment your tribe feels when your plans don’t turn out as you hoped.
By doing the leg work and endorsing our favorite activities based on first-hand knowledge, our expert team saves valuable time for our community, empowering parents to be fully present when it matters most. Working parents spend an average of twelve waking hours a week with their children. When you break it all down, it’s not a lot. So even just one or two hours a week spent searching or planning is just too many. Let us help you spend less time planning and more time experiencing life together.
If you have ideas for our next installment in our Family Fun Day Austin Series, we welcome them at [email protected]. Enjoying our content? Please download the free happyly app for fast access to all of our blog content, favorite activities, and expertly designed curated days, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.