A day on the water can be a fun and relaxing break from the stresses of everyday life.

Lake Travis and Lake Austin, located in Texas, are two of the most popular destinations for boating enthusiasts in the area. But before you set off on your boat trip, it’s essential to make sure you have everything you need for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Today, we’ll discuss what you need to pack for a day on Lake Travis or Lake Austin.

Lake Travis and Lake Austin are extremely different, so preparing for either is equally different. Get to know how the two lakes vary here.

drone view of party boats on lake travis at devils cove

Boating Safety First

Before we get into what you need to bring on your boat trip, let’s talk about boating safety.

The Coast Guard doesn’t exist in this area since the nearest ocean is hours away, but local police departments do have Lake Patrol, and state law requires that all boats have a life jacket for each person on board. It’s important to wear them when on the water, but if a boat is anchored and you’re swimming, of course it’s not required then.

It’s also important to make sure your boat has a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. If you don’t have these items, you can purchase them at any boating supply store. If you’re renting a boat that is captained, it’s a huge red flag if any of these items are not present.

Don't Forget Your Cell Phone

While it’s important to disconnect and enjoy the natural surroundings, it’s also essential to have a way to call for help in case of an emergency. Make sure to bring your cell phone and keep it in a waterproof case or dry bag.

Whether you’re hosting a birthday party on the lake or simply getting away from work stress, the last thing you want is for your phone to be at the bottom of the lake. Just as the hundreds of phones already down there.

Pack a Dry Bag

Speaking of dry bags, they are an absolute must for any day on the water. A dry bag will keep your valuables, such as your cell phone and wallet, safe and dry. You can also use it to store any extra clothes or towels you might need throughout the day.

Visiting Lake Travis

Since Lake Travis is known for fun and fishing, make sure you have a valid fishing license if you plan on casting a line.

You’ll also need to keep in mind to protect yourself from the Texas sun because in the heat of the summer, before you slip into the water, it can feel like the sun is literally 100 feet away.

What to Bring to Lake Travis

Here’s a packing list for your day on Lake Travis:

  • Cell phone in waterproof case and/or dry bag
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat
  • Fishing license (if you plan on fishing)
  • Water and snacks
  • Swim suit(s)
  • Towels

As previously mentioned, be sure that any boat you board has the proper number of lifejackets, first aid kit, and a fire extinguisher.

Visiting Lake Austin

If you’re heading to Lake Austin, it’s a different vibe with different popular activities. Lake Austin (also called Lady Bird Lake), located in downtown Austin, is a popular spot for kayaking, paddleboarding, and other water sports.

What to Bring to Lake Austin

If you’re planning a day on Lady Bird Lake, make sure to bring your own water equipment or you can rent them from one of the many rental shops in the area.


Here’s a packing list for your day on Lake Austin:

  • Cell phone in waterproof case and/or dry bag
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat
  • Water and snacks
  • Swim suit(s)
  • Towels

Additionally, since Lady Bird Lake is in the heart of Austin, you may want to bring some cash to grab a bite to eat at one of the nearby restaurants.