Not many people could even find the Water Recreation Capital of Texas on a map. Still, there is no shortage of adventurous, refreshing, and relaxing things to do in Canyon Lake, both on and off the water!
That’s because this tiny but mighty Southern city has 80 miles of stunning shoreline to explore, with outdoor activities for every age and type of traveler.
Whether you’re in the market for an adrenaline kick (hello white-water tubing) or want to slow things down with some sunbathing in the middle of land-locked Central Texas (yes, it’s possible), we’ve got you covered!
With these insider tips on when to visit, entrance fees, things to do, and so much more, visiting Canyon Lake, Texas, has never been so straightforward. Keep reading to get them all!
Pssst: Maybe you’re already staying in a larger, more tourist-focused city. Well, did you know Canyon Lake is one of the best day trips from Austin? It’s just 1.5 hours away!
13 Fun Things to Do in Canyon Lake, Texas
On this list, we’re breaking down the must-see attractions that you just have to hit while in the area.
See Texas Hill Country from all angles (above, below, and underwater) with a stop at some of our favorite attractions in, on, and around Canyon Lake in Comal County!
Hit the Trails at Guadalupe River State Park
Get out and stretch those legs! The region around Canyon Lake has some of the most pristine nature in the state, and the best way to see it (besides from the water) is on foot.
Where to start? None other than the gorgeous Guadalupe River State Park, just 30 minutes from Canyon Lake (and one of the best state parks near Austin!).
There are a number of trails to choose from, varying in length from a short and sweet 0.68 miles to a tougher 5.1-mile trek.
Whichever you choose, you’re sure to be treated to plenty of scenic landscapes, from enchanting Bald Cypress forests to sprawling grasslands to crystal-clear creek crossings.
Entrance to the park costs $7 for adults and kids 12 and under get in free.
Read next: 33 Best Things to Do in Texas
Go Underground at the Natural Bridge Caverns
We’re kicking our list of things to do in Canyon Lake off with a bang at the Natural Bridge Caverns, the largest known commercial caverns in all of Texas!
Located just a 30-minute drive from Canyon Lake, this is a super easy day trip with tons of fun activities to enjoy on site.
Explore otherworldly formations in their two different cave systems on a guided underground tour, or head above the surface for climbing, zip rail, and ropes courses.
You can also head to the Discover Village to mine your own gems and fossils!
Prices vary depending on the date and time you visit, as well as the package you choose. Check their website for more details.
Swim and Sunbathe at Comal Park Beach
One of the more obvious things to do in Canyon Lake is, of course, enjoy the body of water that gave it its name.
Comal Park Beach is one of the most popular lakeside spots, with two boat ramps, a children’s playground, tons of picnic tables, and a well-maintained sandy stretch that includes a roped-off swimming area.
There isn’t any shade along the beach, so make sure to bring your own umbrella and plenty of water and sunscreen.
It’s also a pretty popular place for local families to hang out during the warmer months. (Comal Park even scored a spot on our list of the best beaches in San Antonio or nearby). To snag a good spot, show up earlier in the day!
The park is open April-September, from 8 AM to sunset.
Pssst: San Marcos is just a stone’s throw away from Canyon Lake!
Peek into the Past at the Heritage Museum of Texas Hill Country
Most people will tell you that beach time and water sports are the best things to do in Canyon Lake, but the area has seen millennia of fascinating history, far before hosting tourists!
The Heritage Museum is much more than just a building holding a few dusty artifacts.
It stretches across acres of land, encompassing hiking trails, fossil dig sites, and more than 200 dinosaur footprints dating back 110 million years!
Take a guided tour of the dinosaur trackways, admire Cretaceous fossils and Native American artifacts, and visit outdoor displays of historical farming equipment (used by the first pioneers who tamed the Texas landscape)!
You can also browse a collection of one-of-a-kind vintage pieces from the 1800’s all the way through the 1950s, donated to the museum by those that grew up in the heart of Texas Hill Country.
The museum is open Wednesday-Sunday from 12 PM-4 PM. Tickets cost $5 for adults and $4 for children ages 5-12. Kids 5 and under get in free!
Search for Sunken Treasures at Canyon Lake
Of all the water activities to try when traveling to Canyon Lake, this is definitely one for the bucket list!
Scuba diving isn’t something often offered in Texas, but it’s possible in Canyon Lake, with some of the deepest, clearest waters in the state and plenty of underwater views.
Get up close with freshwater plants and fish. Explore wrecked cars and boats at 40-60 feet and even an underwater forest at 60-80 feet.
Rumor has it, there’s even an entire ghost town below the surface. The US Army Corps of Engineers flooded a residential area in the 1950s to build the lake, and homes, buildings, and even graveyards are still lurking underwater.
Divers typically head out from North Park, Comal Park, and Overlook Park for the easiest water access.
If you’re a total beginner, there are a number of dive shops around the area that can offer advice and sign you up for a scuba certification program.
Before you dive into too much sightseeing, get to know Canyon Lake on a deeper level. 😉
Go for a Scenic Drive Along River Road
The historic River Road is not merely a way to get between destinations quickly, but a destination in itself!
Hugging the Guadalupe River and at times trundling over the tumbling waters below, this picturesque route is a delight to drive.
Lean out the car window to admire the majestic Cypress trees lining the road or feel the wind coming off the river.
Cruise past farms, ranches, campgrounds, and live music venues and through tree tunnels or stop along the way at one of many cozy restaurants.
The road ends right around Overlook Park, a scenic and secluded spot for swimming, hiking, and picnicking.
Find Your Perfect Red at Dry Comal Creek Vineyards
Care to take a break from the surf and sun? Leave the lake behind for a while to indulge in a bottle of 100% Texas-grown red or white, paired with incredible views of lush vineyards and quaint brick buildings.
Located 20 minutes from Canyon Lake, Dry Comal Creek Vineyards is a local favorite that has been around since the 1990s.
For just $20 per person, they offer tastings in their gorgeous outdoor lounge that include multiple samples, guidance from their “libation ambassadors,” and a logo glass to take home. (Reservations are required).
You can also enjoy charcuterie platters, food trucks, and live music. Check their upcoming events before you go!
This spot is not far from the Natural Bridge Caverns (just 10 minutes by car), so you can easily combine the two for a day trip that perfectly strikes a balance between down-and-dirty adventure and fine-wine luxury!
Catch a Show at Whitewater Amphitheater
As though its long list of big-name headliners wasn’t enough, Whitewater Amphitheater is set against one of the most scenic backdrops of any stage in Texas.
The sprawling amphitheater is surrounded by a forest of towering old-growth Cypress and pecan trees, with the Guadalupe River running just next door.
They’ve hosted concerts by Miranda Lambert, Willie Nelson, Pat Green, and other country stars. Even if country music isn’t your thing, heavy hitters in other genres (like Skrillex!) have also made appearances.
Concerts are held from April-October, and you can check their schedule of upcoming shows or buy tickets at the venue’s website.
During the day, Whitewater also rents out canoes, kayaks, and tubes to enjoy the river and serves up cool refreshments at their beloved beer garden.
Ride a Tube Down the Guadalupe River
A list of things to do in Canyon Lake wouldn’t be complete without a mention of many a Texan’s favorite summer activity–tubing!
Grab a giant inflatable and spend the day floating down the Guadalupe River. There’s a mix of calm, slow sections during which you can sit back and relax, plus mild rapids to keep your energy up.
You can build a custom tubing trip with a tour company (this typically includes the pick-up, food, and drinks), or you can just rent the tube and do it yourself!
In general, the tubing season starts in mid-May for weekends only and is in full daily swing by Memorial Day.
Tee Off at the Canyon Lake Golf Club
The 18-hole, par-72 Lakeside Golf Club has views so lovely you may just mess up your perfect swing.
This course is built into the rolling hills of Texas Hill Country, with a range of landscapes that keep the game interesting for everyone, from beginners to golf pros.
The course costs $27 per person Monday-Thursday and just $20 after 2 PM on weekdays. On weekends, the price bumps up to $29 or $25 after 2 PM.
After you finish, head for lunch or dinner at the 19th Hole Bar & Grill, which serves up an all-American menu of hot dogs, burgers, TexMex, and more.
Paddle Out From Canyon Park Beach
We head now to the north side of Canyon Lake for the secluded and straightforward Canyon Park Beach.
Unlike other beaches in the area, this one offers a shallow area where young kids can splash around, as well as plenty of deeper sections.
Outside of the swimming area, you can head out into the cold, clear water via canoe, kayak, or paddleboard. Boats aren’t allowed here, so you’re guaranteed to have the lake all to yourself and other paddlers.
It’s a lovely place for family outings and nature getaways, as well as the perfect spot to catch a spectacular Texas sunset!
Canyon Park Beach is open April-September for day use only. Visiting hours are from 1 PM-sunset on weekdays and 7 AM-sunset on weekends and holidays.
Entrance costs $5 per car, payable in cash only.
See Texas Hill Country From Above at Wimberley Zipline Adventures
Canyon Lake is a relatively quiet stretch of Central Texas land, but we know there are plenty of adventurers out there asking, “What to do in Canyon Lake once I’ve already seen the beaches, museums, and nature walks?”
Well strap in (literally) because Wimberley Zipline sends tourists flying out over Texas Hill Country, with stunning views of the surrounding hills, meadows, and canyons.
You get to zoom through 10 different lines, ranging from 150-900 feet long and as many as 100 feet high.
Each tour lasts 1.5-2 hours and costs $100 per person (including parking, equipment, training, a guided walking tour, bottled water, and of course, all the ziplining fun).
To calm your nerves again after the adventure, treat yourself to a cold glass of beer, cider, spritzer, or soda in their Biergarten.
Wimberley Zipline Adventures is just 40 minutes from Canyon Lake, Texas, so it makes for a thrilling half-day trip!
Go Fossil Hunting at Canyon Lake Gorge
This is certainly one of the most unique things to see in Canyon Lake.
The dramatic Canyon Lake Gorge was formed in 2002 when heavy storms caused a flood of water to breach the spillway, thus carving this mile-long slash in the landscape.
Visiting this spot is like traveling back in time, as the flooding exposed layers of rock dating back as many as 110 million years.
Fossils, dinosaur footprints, and other ancient artifacts are all yours for the finding if you keep a careful eye out!
Guided tours of the area are available for $10 per person, although children under seven years of age are not allowed. It’s quite a strenuous hike, so make sure you’re prepared with walking shoes and water bottles!
Wrapping up on What to Do in Canyon Lake, Texas
There is no shortage of things to do in Canyon Lake, let alone the Hill Country. It’s an ideal location to enjoy the summer vibes, beautiful views and find some good camping opportunities.
Whether you’re on a day trip, weekend getaway, or summer holidays, Canyon Lake, Texas, has everything to keep you busy and return for more!
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