|Median Rent||Median Sqft|
|1 Bed||$1,779||790 sqft|
|2 Beds||$2,295||1,161 sqft|
|3+ Beds||$3,500||2,795 sqft|
In a city where outdoor activities and vast greenspaces are prized commodities, living near a lake might just be the ultimate goal for many locals. At the edge of Downtown Austin is Lady Bird Lake, but that’s more of a metropolitan oasis than a lake the way most of us envision one. That’s why the 30-square-mile Lake Travis has long represented an ideal escape-from-it-all destination as the closest large body of water to the city. Along much of the shoreline surrounding the lake, developments tend to be fewer and farther between than nearly any other part of Austin, which is a huge part of Lake Travis’ tranquil allure. Rocky cliffs, winding roads, and breathtaking Texas Hill Country scenery add to the appeal of living a more laidback existence this far west of town. The literal Lake Travis neighborhood is bordered by the jagged shores of Lake Travis to the east and south, and extends a few blocks north and east beyond Ranch to Market Road 2769, but for the sake of this particular guide, we’re including information on any residential areas bordering Lake Travis. Smaller neighborhoods and subdivisions that are a part of the greater Lake Travis community include Lakeway, the Hills of Lakeway, Rough Hollow, Eagle Ridge, Hudson Bend, Falconhead, Lake Pointe, Lago Vista, Steiner Ranch, and Highland Lake Estates.
A great portion of the residential options surrounding the lake tend to be single-family homes—including vast estates boasting some of the best views of Lake Travis—but in recent years more apartment communities have begun materializing within a few miles any direction from the water. Apartments in Lake Travis often offer incredible amenities, including state-of-the-art fitness centers, dog parks, resort-style pools, and often spectacular views of the Hill Country and Lake Travis itself from certain vantage points.
With the exception of a few bus stops in Lago Vista in the far northwest sector beyond Lake Travis, public transportation is almost non-existent in the greater Lake Travis area. Therefore—even more so than other parts of Austin—a car, truck, or motorcycle is essential for daily transport needs. Even ride shares can take far longer to arrive with fewer drivers serving these neighborhoods, adding to the necessity of a personal vehicle. Cycling is prevalent around Lake Travis, but due to the even-more-spread-out nature of the region, it’s typically an activity reserved for recreational purposes rather than running errands or grabbing a bite to eat.
When you’re ready to get away from this part of West Austin for a while, you can easily hop a flight at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, where you can choose from an average of 350 daily flights offering nonstop service to more than 70 destinations (both domestic and international). Depending upon which side of Lake Travis you live, the airport is 30-50 miles away and a commute of 30-60 minutes. Another option is to head to Downtown Austin to catch Vonlane, a luxury, low-occupancy bus service with only first-class seating and amenities that include Wi-Fi, on-demand entertainment, a large restroom, and food/beverage service from a dedicated bus attendant. The service operates between Austin and San Antonio, Houston, or Dallas and can be accessed within the same 30-60 minute window.
Because of its more remote location, the concentration of restaurants in Lake Travis isn’t as dense as in other parts of Austin, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find nearly any type of cuisine here. Lake Travis attracts a lot of tourists and weekenders from the city, so there are lots of fast-food outlets and chain restaurants, but also some of the best and most unique local restaurants in all of Austin. Perhaps the best-known and most famous is The Oasis on Lake Travis, located right on the water with spectacular sunset views and a lively atmosphere for Tex-Mex and American favorites to enjoy on one of the multi-level patios. Other notable options surrounding the lake include Sundancer Grill for burgers and seafood; Cho Sushi Japanese Fusion for Asian favorites; Las Palapas and Vaqueros Café and Cantina for Tex-Mex; Steiner Ranch Steakhouse for beef-centric dishes and fantastic hilltop views; KaBaBeQue for Halal certified Mediterranean-Indian fusion; the Grille at Lake Highlands for weekend brunch; Nik’s Italian Kitchen & Bar for pasta; Lazeez Mediterranean Café for gyros and shawarma; ThunderCloud Subs for sandwiches; and Vincent’s On The Lake, another waterfront option serving Texas staples. You’ll also find traditional Austin food trucks and trailers near the lake, including Madera & Grill serving burgers and tacos, and Smokey J’s Barbecue, one of the most popular BBQ spots near Lake Travis with picnic tables aplenty. And for satisfying a sweet tooth, try the many sugary options at Dolce Bacio Gelato & Desserts.
The bar scene in Lake Travis is limited, but popular standouts include Hudson Tavern, Oasthouse Kitchen & Bar, Twin Creeks Hall, Oz. Tap House, and Bar 620. You can also get a kick of booze made locally at Oasis Texas Brewing Company, Infamous Brewing Company, Bent Oak Winery, and Planet Rock Vodka Distillery. For a jolt of caffeine instead, locals love Invader Coffee and Summer Moon Coffee. Daily Juice is also a best-bet for fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, and other health-focused options.
Retail stores around Lake Travis consist mostly of big-box chains and other national brands, with fishing, boating, and cycling shops mixed in. Grocery options near Lake Travis include well-stocked H-E-B, Randalls, and Target locations.
Due to the vast size of Lake Travis, activities in, around, and on the water lead the list of the top diversions for locals and visitors alike. On the shores of the lake, make sure to check out Volente Beach Resort & Waterpark, Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures, and Lake Travis Zipline Adventures for adrenaline-pumping and/or relaxation opportunities. Hike around or pack a picnic as ways to enjoy Bob Wentz Park, Cypress Creek Park, Mansfield Dam Park, Windy Point Park, and Tom Hughes Park. Or, if you want to hang out (and let it all hang out), Hippie Hollow Park is one of Austin’s most famous attractions as an adults-only, clothing-optional section of rocky shoreline overlooking the lake. Several companies offer boat rentals, too, or you can join a group on one of Captain Verde’s Party Boats excursions. You can always simply hang out on one of the many small beaches along Lake Travis, too.
For a little pampering, make a day of it (or a long weekend staycation) at either Miraval Austin Resort & Spa or Lakeway Resort & Spa, both with lake views. Golfers have an abundance of options in the area, including Lago Vista Golf Course, Pedernales Golf Course, Lake Travis Golf Course, and the non-traditional Lake Travis Disc Golf. And when the weather outside’s not great, nearby movie theaters include Moviehouse & Eater by Cinépolis NW Austin, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Lakeline, and Cinemark Hill Country Galleria.
Even though, in many ways, Lake Travis seems far out in the country, two colleges and universities are within very close proximity, including Concordia University Texas and Austin Community College. Otherwise, the commute to any of the other educational institutions within the city would likely be too far to commute to for most students, staff, and faculty.
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