given that I lived in texas all through high school, college, and a few years afterward - I've been to austin multiple times. the city of austin really has so much to offer, from local music to wineries, to shopping and nightlife, to the state capitol, formula 1 racing and sxsw events. there's always something going on in austin.
austin also has so many natural attractions, one of them being barton springs [ahem, not to be confused with barton creek mall]. over the years, I'd heard a lot about barton springs. I envisioned a tiny stream surrounded by rocky, grassy terrain. turns out I was wrong - I finally had the opportunity to check it out at a recent bachelorette party and was seriously impressed.
parking was a bit of a challenge for us since we really didn't know where to go, the entrance on barton springs rd was closed so we ended up making a few wrong turns before entering a parking lot for zilker park. it was $5 to park per car plus $4 per person at the entry gate.
we arrived around 10:30am and only waited in line for a few minutes, although the park was already pretty crowded. when we left at 1:30pm, the line to get in the park was around the block and it was scorching hot by then.
we walked around the outskirts of the park for a while trying to the find the right entry point as there are no posted signs. the dog pool area is free, but in order to get to the paid entry point - you have to walk passed the dog area until you see the larger gated area. no alcohol or coolers are allowed in the park, so we brought individual tumblers with our drinks of choice. I recommend putting your cups in a beach bag to avoid suspicion, we were later asked to confirm there was no alcohol in our cups...
one thing I wish I would've thought about was to bring pool floats. although they only allow floats in a small area of barton springs, it may have been worth it. the weather was so warm, but since the water comes from a natural spring... the water was beyond chilly! I actually couldn't take the plunge it was so cold. a pool float would have been really nice to lay on and dip my feet in while not getting completely wet.
since coolers and food are not allowed in the gated park area, there is a little zilker café right outside the gates. we didn't check it out, but it sure looked cute.
overall, barton springs pleasantly surprised all of us. it was much better than I expected! if you plan to go, don't forget to pack a towel, beverage, and a float and get there early to avoid lines. we also played our speakers pretty loudly and no one seemed to mind. barton springs made for an awesome, low key saturday in austin.