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Family-friendly summer fun in the Highland Lakes

Swim, float, jump, and sunbathe at Devil’s Waterhole in Inks Lake State Park. Staff photo by Jared Fields

The Highland Lakes is filled to the brim with family-friendly fun year-round, but now that school’s out, the options are overflowing.

Check out our roundup of fun things to do with the kids this summer. Click on the links for more information.


School’s out, but that doesn’t mean books close until the fall. Kids can read for fun and prizes this summer at several Highland Lakes libraries. With the theme “A Universe of Stories,” this year’s Texas Summer Reading Program is out of this world. Each library offers entertaining programs all summer with big prizes for the most voracious readers.

For schedules and details, check out the story on


Get hands-on (pun intended) at the Science Mill in Johnson City. Staff photo by Jared Fields

Another place that makes learning fun is the Science Mill in Johnson City. This Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) museum has over 50 hands-on exhibits, a calendar of special events, a featured 3D movie, and much more.

Dig for fossils, control a colossal robotic hand, feed a tortoise, create chemical reactions, solve molecular mysteries — the scientific adventures are endless.


Krause Springs in Spicewood is a popular summer swimming spot. Staff photo by Jennifer Greenwell

The area isn’t called the Highland Lakes for nothing. Everywhere you turn, there’s fun to be had on the water — whether it’s a lake, a river, a swimming hole, or a giant waterslide.

The Lakes

Kids can learn to fish on Inks Lake State Park, paddle along on Lake Marble Falls, explore waterfalls on Lake Buchanan, and go boating with the family on Lake LBJ. Find more fun things to do in our Where’s the Lake Guide.

Swimming holes and more

Texas is hot, but local swimming holes are cool. Dive in, wade in, or just dip your toes into the refreshing water at any one of these spots.

While the Marble Falls city pool will be closed this summer due to Lakeside Park construction, other municipalities offer a respite from soaring temperatures. Check them out.

And, on June 15, you can Slide Marble Falls! Tickets are on sale now for this 850-foot waterslide, which will be set up downtown during Market Day on Main.


Spider Mountain Bike Park on Lake Buchanan offers kid-friendly trails. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

The Highland Lakes is the place to play. Here are some of our favorite spots and activities:

• Disc golf — The area boasts four free courses and a pay-to-play one. Read more in our Highland Lakes disc golf tour.

• Gold panning — The Llano River is a treasure trove of fun for gold panners and rock hounds. Take the family to the Kingsland Slab or Long’s Fish and Dig.

• Park it — The Highland Lakes is covered with national, state, and city parks for fresh air and outdoor adventures. Fish, hike, camp, ride, explore, and more. Check out our Hiking Guide or our Outdoors Guide to fill out your field trip itinerary.

Hidden Falls Adventure Park — This Marble Falls-area facility features over 200 trails across 2,100 acres. Explore it in a variety of off-road vehicles.

Spider Mountain Bike Park — This new mountain biking facility has trails for beginners up to advanced riders. And it’s the only chairlift-served bike park in Texas.


Hill Country Motorheads in Burnet has a collection of more than 100 motorcycles on display. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Highland Lakes Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force Museum — History takes flight at this Burnet museum. Exhibits include authentic World War II artifacts and aircraft. Rides are available for a fee.

Fort Croghan Grounds and Museum — See how Burnet County pioneers lived and worked at this historic fort. Admission is always free, but donations are appreciated.

The Falls on the Colorado Museum — Highland Lakes history — including 700 years past — is on display at this Marble Falls museum.

Hill Country Motorheads — There are more than a hundred motorcycles, including vintage ones, on display in this Burnet collection.

This is only a taste of fun things to do this summer with the kids. Check out the guides on as well as the events calendar at and for more.

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