Things to Do

Pace Bend Park: A Hidden Getaway Close to Home

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Tony Maples Photography


When planning a trip around the Texas Hill Country, you don’t just have to visit state parks. Numerous county-operated parks provide visitors with just as quality a stay. One of these overlooked parks is Pace Bend Park in Travis County. If you’re anywhere in the Spicewood area, check out this little, hidden natural gem, but bring cash because park admission does not accept credit cards. You’ll find a lot more to do here than you’d expect aside from the usual picnicking and hiking.

1. Boating

Lake Travis seen from Pace Bend Park

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The most popular activity, by far, at Pace Bend Park is boating. The park’s location on Lake Travis makes it an ideal spot to launch your boat from and enjoy a day on the water. Two boat launches give you space to access the lake from the park. Though there typically isn’t a wait for the boat ramps, if you have a smaller watercraft, you may be able to launch from the beachfront with the exceptions of the swimming areas.

2. Swimming

Diving at Pace Bend Park into Lake Travis

Photo: Flickr/Randall Chancellor

During warmer weather, visitors dive into the waters of Lake Travis at Pace Bend Park to cool off. Several designated swimming areas keep those in the water safe from boaters. Three coves prohibit boat launches as they are reserved for swimming. These coves are Gracy, Mudd, and Kate. No lifeguards watch over the swimming areas, so if you plan on swimming, you’ll be doing so at your own risk.

3. Camping

Camping at Pace Bend Park

Photo: Facebook/RV Tips Via Benjie Zeller

Not many county parks offer overnight camping, but Pace Bend does. Aside from primitive campsites, which allow for tent camping and do not have shower privileges, you can also opt for improved tent campsites. These have showers and restrooms nearby in addition to electricity and water connections. Because the improved campsites are so popular, reserve your spot early. With only 20 improved campsites and 400 primitives, the odds of getting an improved site reduce if you do not have a reservation. Each primitive campsite includes a barbecue pit and a fire ring, and as long as the area is not under a burn ban, fires are allowed but bring your own fuel because wood gathering, even of kindling, is forbidden at the park.