Well… normally we’d have 100 things for you to do this summer in and around Austin, but since we are in the era of social distancing, our Summer 2020 Bucket List looks… a bit different this year.

Typically when the brutally hot and humid Texas summer rolls around, my family and I become “indoorsy” and gravitate toward heavily air-conditioned activities like bounce houses, movie theaters and museums. This summer due to all of the unknown regarding COVID-19, my family plans to continue practicing social distancing. We believe the best way to achieve this is to become an “outdoorsy” family during the summer of 2020. 

If you are of a like mindset and feel like socially-distanced activities fit with your family’s goals, here is a list of activities for your Summer 2020 Bucket List. Don’t forget to slather on the sunscreen, fill up your water bottles and, most importantly have some fun!

  1. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – Upfront, I want to mention that you have to become a member to visit this stunning botanical garden during the summer of 2020. A Family Membership is $85/year. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is adhering to social distancing guidelines. It is only open to a limited number of people at a time via  reservation and some high-touch features are temporarily closed. 
  2. Carly’s Critter Camp – This petting zoo and animal sanctuary is located in Dripping Springs. Admission is by appointment only and it costs $10 an hour per person. At Carly’s, your children can interact with bearded dragons, hedgehogs and bunnies. If you don’t want to risk going to the actual camp, you can also rent certain animals for an overnight stay at your home.
  3. Drive through zoos – The two drive through zoos nearest to Austin are Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch near New Braunfels and The Exotic Resort Zoo in Johnson City. At these zoos your kids can get up close and personal with some bigger animals like ostriches and camels – all from the comfort of your own air-conditioned car.
  4. Swimming holes – If you choose to go to one of the many public swimming spots in and around Austin, I recommend you go early and claim a spot off the beaten path. My family recently did this at Bull Creek and when we left we noticed a large number of people congregating around the main swimming hole behaving like the COVID 19 pandemic didn’t exist. Here’s a comprehensive list of swimming holes around Austin, but I’m not so sure I would brave Barton Springs during the summer of 2020 if social-distancing is one of your priorities.
  5. Peter Pan Mini Golf – This Austin icon is adhering to strict social distancing guidelines. They require patrons to wear a mask/protective face covering, only allow a group maximum of four and are sanitizing their golf equipment. Alternatively, they will allow you to bring your own golf balls and putters.
  6. Pioneer Farms – Pioneer Farms features five Texas-themed historic areas to explore. This activity does involve going into some buildings if you choose, but the farm has strict social distancing restrictions in place. No more than 10 people are allowed to gather at one place at the same time and masks must be worn at all times. You can see the full list of their safety guidelines here.
  7. Kayak or paddle board on Lady Bird Lake.
  8. Hike the Barton Creek Greenbelt and then cool off in the creek. Popular swimming spots (when there’s water) are Campbell’s Hole, Lost Creek, Gus Fruh, and Twin Falls.
  9. Go old-school and catch a flick at the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In.
  10. Visit (or camp at!) one of our awesome nearby state parks, like McKinney FallsPace BendColorado Bend, or Pedernales Falls.
  11. Take a day trip to the Hill Country and visit Fredericksburg to hike Enchanted Rock
  12. Pick nectarines and peaches, feed the animals at Sweet Eats Fruit Farm in Georgetown.
  13. Visit one of these farms!
  14. Explore the 227-acre Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve.
  15. Take the family on a picnic – we’ve got a pretty great guide, here.
  16. Head out for a family cycle at The Veloway at Circle C Ranch Metro Park :: A 3 mile, paved bicycle tract that is flat and free of cars!
  17. Sail Away on Lake Travis :: Plan a sunset sail on Lake Travis with Texas Sailing! Pack the champagne and cheese plate.
  18. Head out to the Frio and checkout Garner State Park
  19. You’ve likely covered every square inch of your neighborhood and home, but just in case, here’s a list of 50 simple ideas to do outdoors with your kids.
  20. Try a stroller workout class (Fit4Mom offers a free class to try it out)
  21. Go fly a kite on Murchison Hill or Zilker Park.
  22. Snap pics of your kids in front of all of these awesome Austin murals!

    Austin Murals
    On the south side of Crescent House Furniture. Artist: Scott Staples

What other socially-distanced, “outdoorsy” activities are on your Summer 2020 Bucket List?


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