Attractions

15 Ways to Savor Texas' Short-Lived Spring

Spring is here but summer lurks in the shadows...

Roses grow in front of the Capitol Building. Flickr Creative Commons.

Spring might have been a bit of a late bloomer this year, but it's finally here, bringing with it fresh beginnings, lovely temperatures, and those breathtaking wildflowers that Texas is so well known for.

Yes, all the earth is alive and green and glorious, but we all know what lurks beyond April—something sinister and sweltering and cruel, something rabid with humidity, wielding 100+ temperatures and laying siege to our lands well into September: summer.

With that in mind, don't wait until the temperatures begin to rise to get outdoors and smell the roses! Let these 15 Austin-based activities inspire you to savor our short-lived spring before it's gone:

1. Clean your cave.

 

A family sells old toys at a yard sale. Flickr Creative Commons.

You hibernated all winter to escape the cold, and rightly so, but now the sun has returned, and so must you. It's time for spring cleaning! Sweep that wintry muck from your doorstep. Knock out a wall or repaint a room. Get rid of stuff you don't need via garage sale or charity donation. And heck, go ahead and organize everything that you own while you're at it, right down to the very last paperclip. 

2. Invite spring inside.

 

Sunlight streams through an open window. Flickr Creative Commons.

Spring's blissful temperatures make it the perfect season for drawing the curtains, hoisting up the blinds, and opening the windows. Let in some of that breezy April freshness to air out those musty rooms. Never mind the allergens—yolo!

3. Let your heart soar.

 

A kite flies over Zilker Park. Flickr Creative Commons.

No doubt you're itching to fly a kite after the disappointing cancellation of this year's Zilker Park Kite Festival due to inclement weather. You may not have had the chance to enter your rocket booster-enhanced kite in one of the festival's competitions, but there's still time to take to the skies—quickly now, before the winds stop a blowin'!

4. Picnic (verb).

 

A carefully-crafted picnic lunch. Flickr Creative Commons.

Because for many of us, springtime means peanut butter and jelly time. If you fill a cooler with a portable lunch buffet and stretch out on a quilt somewhere green and breezy, you're guaranteed to have a happy spring and a happy tummy to boot.

5. Hone your green thumb.

 

Tomato and basil plants thrive this time of year. Flickr Creative Commons.

Spring is a time for beginnings—what could be a better way to experience that than picking up some seeds or a young plant from your local home and garden store and nurturing new life? You’ll gain fresh perspective as you watch your little ones grow!

6. Stop and smell the roses.

 

Firewheel blooms at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Flickr Creative Commons.

Paintbrushes, bluebonnets, firewheel, winecups, and primroses—spring brings all of these wildflowers and more with it to blanket Austin's meadows and hillsides. This year, instead of just admiring the flowers from afar, why not head out to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to get educated about what's in bloom?

7. BLUEBONNET. SELFIES.

 

A girl takes a selfie in a field of bluebonnets. Flickr Creative Commons.

Just don't pick 'em!

8. Ride like the wind.

 

A cyclist commutes to work. Flickr Creative Commons.

Instead of driving to work, why not ride your bike? Not only will you improve your lung capacity and physical fitness, but riding your bike will also allow you to truly see the city as it is in spring, not to mention help you conquer your fear of that inescapable "outside" smell. 

9. Become a bird whisperer. 

 

A scissor-tailed flycatcher lands on a fence. Flickr Creative Commons.

This spring, learn a thing or two about the feathery neighbors that twitter outside your window each morning. You can hook up with the Travis Audubon Society for classes and birdwatching field trips or simply grab some binoculars and a field guide and solo it. If you aren't the outdoor expedition type, try setting up a platform bird feeder in your backyard or hanging a smaller feeder from your balcony.

10. Relax in nature.

 

A man reading near a river. Flickr Creative Commons.

Whether your definition of relaxing is taking a nap or reading the classics, try taking that activity outdoors and take advantage of the lovely weather. 

11. Bust out the grill.

 

Hungry folks cook meat at a grill party. Flickr Creative Commons.

And invite only those who matter to your delectable feast.

12. Start running again.

 

Two runners jog with their dog. Flickr Creative Commons.

Remember when you made that New Year's Resolution to run every day, but you skipped one day early in January and never went back after that? Let spring can be your fresh start and get back out there with no shame! 

13. Be captain of your own vessel.

 

A kayaker paddles Lady Bird Lake. Flickr Creative Commons.

Rent a canoe, kayak, SUP, paddle boat, or water bike from a company like Rowing Dock or Live Love Paddle and take to the open seas of Lady Bird Lake or Barton Creek. With spring's mild temperatures and beautiful scenery, you'll be glad you did!

14. Sleep under the stars.

 

A camping tent in the early morning. Flickr Creative Commons.

There is perhaps no better way to savor the season than pitching a tent and sleeping out under the stars. McKinney Falls, Inks Lake, Bastrop, Lockhart, Buescher, Enchanted Rock, Blanco, Colorado Bend, Pedernales Falls—all of these state parks are located within a two hours' drive from downtown Austin and all are ready to host you and yours in one of their standard or primitive campsites.

McKinney Falls State Park is a mere 15 minutes from the Capitol and features 90 campsites as well as two natural swimming holes, 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, and more.

15. Hike somewhere awesome.

 

A hiking trail along the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Flickr Creative Commons.

Hiking is another immersive means of experiencing the sights and sounds of the season, so lace up those hiking boots and get a move on! The aforementioned state parks contain miles and miles of hiking trails, but Austin boasts some impressive trails of its own, such as the Barton Creek Greenbelt trail system and the 15-mile Walnut Creek loop. For other ideas, read about 25 of Austin's best hiking trails here.

If you manage to exhaust this list before spring ends or if none of the above suggestions strike your fancy, try your hand at slacklining, frisbee golf, or rock climbing, or go for a swim in one of Austin's numerous natural swimming holes.

From all of us here at Austin.com, have a safe and happy spring! 

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Tags: hike, Lady Bird Lake, summer, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, swimming, Zilker Botanical Garden, spring, Barton Creek, walnut creek, turkey creek, barton creek greenbelt, mckinney falls state park, enchanted rock, pedernales, rowing dock, live love paddle, travis audubon society, kite, camp, picnic, slacklining, frisbee golf, rock climbing

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