Memorial Day

7 best ways to celebrate the start of summer in Austin

7 best ways to celebrate the start of summer in Austin

Enchanted Rock Texas
Learn about 12,000 years of human history (and experience the magnificent views) during a hike to Enchanted Rock. Photo courtesy of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

While summer officially starts on the solstice in late June (the longest day of the year), it unofficially kicks off in Austin on Memorial Day weekend, which falls this year on May 25-28. Start the season off right with these unique holiday weekend events, just a few of many planned around town.

Digital Scavenger Hunt in Bastrop State Park — Saturday, May 26
Begin summer with a special scavenger hunt through Bastrop State Park and Buescher State Parks (one entrance fee covers both). Gather at the playground at 1 pm where organizers will hand out a list of clues. Bring a camera or smartphone to snap photos of your discoveries, a pen to record them, and then regroup at the playground at 4:30 pm to compare findings. Prizes will be awarded to the winners.

Exploring Spring Lake — Saturday, May 26
This sunset kayak tour begins at 8 pm and paddles over San Marcos Springs as they bubble into Spring Lake. Participants will use high-powered underwater spotlights to see wildlife and the incredible underwater landscape. All gear and instruction provided by REI. Arrive early to explore walking and hiking trails around the 251-acre natural area. Register in advance here. $39 for REI members, $45 for non-members.

Free Music at Geraldine’s — Sunday, May 27
The Memorial Day weekend at Geraldine’s includes Jazz Brunch on Sunday from 11 am-1:30 pm (music is free, brunch price varies), and a special performance by Americana/ folk singer-songwriter Kelley Mickwee, who also plays with Austin’s Shinyribs, on Monday beginning at 9:30 pm. The show is free and open to the public.

Irene’s Second Anniversary Bash — Monday, May 28
This West Austin restaurant and bar celebrates two years with a special Memorial Day Birthday Bash including a boozy brunch and backyard barbecue. In addition to the usual fare, expect cotton candy, a three-tiered strawberry cake, specially created Southern Gentleman shirts available for purchase or to win by raffle, and Kendra Scott jewelry. Festivities run 10 am to 6 pm.

Summit Hike at Enchanted Rock State Park — Saturday, May 26 or Sunday, May 27
Join a park ranger or Master Naturalist and climb to the top of 425-foot Enchanted Rock, learning about biology and geology as you go. This dome is just the 640 acre top of a huge underground granite batholith covering 62 square miles — and more than 12,000 years of human history. The reward is the magnificent 360-degree view of the surrounding Hill Country. Meet at the gazebo at the base of the Summit Trail. Entrance fee is $7 per person. Arrive early as the park typically reaches capacity on weekends. Hike begins at 9:30 and runs for about two hours.

Moonlight SUP Tour on Lake Bastrop South Shore Park — Saturday, May 26
Take a guided stand-up paddleboard tour on Lake Bastrop beneath Saturday's Strawberry Moon. This 176-acre park offers hike-and-bike trails, a camp store for snacks and souvenirs, and other watercraft rentals for enjoying the lake. Cabins, tent camping, and RV campsites are available for overnight stays. The SUP tour runs from 8-10 pm, and is $35 per person with all equipment provided.

Woodland Faerie Trail at Zilker Botanical Garden — Saturday, May 26 through August 10
In the week leading up to Memorial Day, reserve one of the 70 spots to create a faerie house for the Woodland Faerie Trail exhibition using native materials and plants found in Texas, such as local seeds, tree bark, twigs, stumps, grasses, and shells. Or just come see the faerie homes when the display opens on Saturday, May 26 at 9 am as part of the magical Woodland Faerie Trail. This unique exhibition runs through August 10.