Red Bud isle is not just a favorite with my boys, but also for my dogs :o) It is, to my knowledge, the nicest leash-free area in Austin.
Red Bud Isle is an Austin Park located on a small island on the west side of Town Lake just south of Tom Miller Dam.
There is a short half-mile hiking loop around the isle that takes you out to the eastern point, than loops around back to the parking lot.
There is also an access ramp for canoes or kayaks to put in.
For dogs, it has a lot of benefits - access to lots of fresh water both to drink and play in, lots of room to roam, lots of friends to play with and no close roads for the wandering dog to get trampled.
For kids, it has almost the same benefits (minus the drinking part!)
Seriously, my boys can spend a whole day here splashing around in the water.
I have seen people bring tubes and floats to hang out in the water, but we generally hop around too much for that.
Throughout the loop around the island are easy access spots to the lake. You can pick one and hang out, or check them all out.
Tips and Thoughts
Be careful where you park!!
There are very limited parking spots for this park. Lots of people park in the fire lane, on the grass, or on the road outside. And lots of people get tickets for parking there. People are frequently coming and going from this park, so the best thing to do is to just wait until somebody leaves, and take their legal spot.
This probably goes without saying, but if your children are afraid of dogs, this is probably not a good place to come, as the place is over-run with dogs of all sizes.
Also, if you do bring your dog, there are a couple of different places distributing poop bags. Please pick up after your pet. With so many dogs in the area, if everyone doesn't pick up, it starts to smell really bad!