Is it safe to swim in Lake Travis ? The short answer is YES, by exercising common sense swimming safety.
Hundreds of thousands of people swim annually in Lake Travis. Lake Travis is one of Texas’ largest lakes and the state’s most visited. Boat traffic on the water can be very high during peak season, so it’s smart to ensure your location is safe before entering the water.
Lake Travis’ water is normally safe to swim with the exception being during flooding events when the water can be compromised do to flood waters. The lake’s governing bodies are generally quick to act, when the water has been affected, by closing the lake until the water is safe again to swim.
Lake Travis has numerous parks that allow swimming along it’s banks, many with buoyed off swimming areas.
The lake is home to the invasive zebra mussel (like most Texas lakes). The mussels’ shells are sharp and can easily cut bare skin and most lightweight clothing. The public is urged to wear water shoes, tennis shoes or any sturdy, closed-toe footwear while near the water. The mussels can cut dog pads as well.
The lake has a large boat population so swimming is safest inside designated swimming areas. There are snakes in Lake Travis, but no more than any other Texas lake. Snake bites are rarely reported. Experts suggest avoiding brushy or weedy areas near the shoreline on the lake.
There are no real currents to avoid on Lake Travis, except in times of flooding events.
Yes people drown every year in Lake Travis. Most drownings on Lake Travis involve alcohol, unattended children and unsafe boating and swimming practices.
Cyanotoxins from blue-green algae have impacted Austin area lakes in years past. The algae can be dangerous to pets. Experts advise avoiding swimming in coves in lakes that are fed by a small creek, because pollution could accumulate in those coves. Lake Travis water is regularly tested and advisory warnings are broadcast if the water is deemed unsafe in particular areas.
There are several points on the lake famous for cliff diving. We do not recommend this practice. Because Lake Travis is not a constant level lake, it’s depth can vary widely (10 to 50 feet and more) from season to season and even in the same summer. A great spot to jump or dive one year may be deadly the next.
Best places to swim on Lake Travis:
- From one of Lake Travis’ many public parks.
- Volente Beach Resort – a waterpark with the lake’s only sand beach.
- Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures – an on-the-water waterpark and obstacle course.
- From your boat.
Lake Travis is a very safe and enjoyable place to swim. Swim smartly and take common sense precautions:
- Wear a life jacket.
- Don’t drink and swim.
- Wear water shoes or sneakers when you come in contact with shore or the lake bottom.
- Don’t let kids swim alone.
- Always monitor the weather. Get out of the water during thunder and lightening events.
- Don’t cliff dive. Always enter unknown or shallow water feet first.
- Be sure you are water competent for natural environments before swimming – this is not your home pool!