Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Activities Near Austin in Temple, Texas

Temple, Texas is a vibrant city located in Central Texas, which offers some of the best outdoor activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers. From green prairies to shaded forests, Temple’s diversity makes it one of the best cities for outdoor recreation in Texas. Residents of Temple can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking trails, biking, swimming and more in the great outdoors. 

For an experience that packs a punch, head to Belton Lake, home to numerous water and trail activities. Pack a picnic, pitch your tent, float a boat or take in any of the amenities suited for anglers, hikers, families and others. There are nearly 45 Temple parks to choose from, with plans for more already in the works. And since Temple is home to mild winters, outdoor enthusiasts can plan on year-round access to open spaces, parks and lakes. 

Athletes and teams score big with sports in Temple. The area is home to 60-plus sports facilities, including tennis and basketball courts, golf courses, and softball, baseball and soccer fields. Temple College and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor frequently host tournaments, while indoor complexes like the Summit Recreation Center beckon rock climbers, swimmers and junior athletes. 

Trail running or rounding bases, recreation in Temple is as big as all outdoors—and more is on the way. Crossroads Park, a $20 million mega recreational complex, will soon open its 260 acres to host sports and tournaments for soccer, softball, lacrosse, ultimate Frisbee, tennis, flag football and more. 

For those seeking a more secluded outdoor getaway, Temple offers a range of campsites and nature trails, such as the McKinney Falls State Park, Mount Bonnell, and the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Residents can also enjoy a scenic drive through the Texas Hill Country or go zip lining at one of the area’s many zipline adventure parks.

Sparkling Belton Lake is a draw for fishermen and boating enthusiasts from miles around, not to mention locals and families who enjoy 60 picnic sites, a swimming beach, a basketball court and more.

Trek trails and canoe or climb many of the 260 acres at Miller Springs. After mountain biking or bird watching, visit the Nature Center and take in scenic overlooks. Miller Springs is open for free to all, and volunteers often collaborate to care for this Temple treasure.

Sam Houston National Forest is a natural playground with more than 163,000 acres for hiking, hunting, camping, boating and fishing. Deer, quail and woodpecker abound in the forest, and visitors with a keen eye and little luck sometimes spot bald eagles.

Located on the Leon River and 30 minutes from Temple is Mother Neff State Park, one of Texas’ earliest state parks. Visitors to Mother Neff may hike, picnic, camp, geocache and observe nature, and kids are encouraged to become a junior ranger.

Temple is home to almost 45 community and neighborhood parks, as well as a collection of open spaces. Among those parks are 23 Temple trails open for running, cycling, walking pets and spending time with friends.

For a different experience, play a round at one of two disc golf courses, take Fido to the Central Texas Bark Park, sow your seeds at the Saulsbury Community Garden or relax downtown in the Santa Fe Gardens.

In Temple, Wilson Park Recreation Center and Summit Recreation Center boast a plethora of activities for adults, kids and families alike. Both centers offer an open gym, classes, youth camps, sports courts and swimming pools.

At the Summit center, reach your peak with the 20-foot rock climbing wall. Intensify your climbing experience at Boulders Sports Climbing Center. Take on 40 foot textured walls with 30 top rope stations, auto-belays and a fitness area.

Tee up at one of two Temple golf courses. Sammons Golf Course is operated by the City of Temple and open to the public. The 18-hole course located next to Lake Polk has been improved over the years and today hosts tournaments, junior and adult leagues, and golf classes.

Wildflower Country Club is accessible through private membership. The club’s 18 holes are tucked among rolling, green hills and natural ponds. In addition to golf, members also enjoy tennis, swimming, dining and special events.

Adult and youth sport teams can get into the game through City of Temple leagues. Softball, soccer, volleyball, skeet and even kickball are some of the organized sports offered year-round. Flag football is another option for kids.

Youth athletes may participate in soccer, baseball and softball through private sport associations.

Located only an hour away, Temple is perfectly situated for day trips to the city of Austin.

Austin is home to a number of famous outdoor attractions, including Lady Bird Lake, which is a great place for kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing. Visitors can also visit Barton Springs Pool, which is a natural spring-fed pool located in Zilker Park. Barton Creek Greenbelt is another popular spot for outdoor activities, offering miles of hiking trails, swimming holes, waterfalls and scenic views of the Texas Hill Country. 

Downtown Austin is also a great place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts. The Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail is a popular destination for runners, hikers, and bikers, while the Congress Avenue Bridge is known for its famous bat colony that emerges at sunset every day. Visitors can also explore the city’s many playgrounds, golf courses, food trucks and outdoor live music venues, such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival. 

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