Waterloo Adventures on Lake Travis is the perfect place to practice for those American Ninja Warrior tryouts. Even better, you get to stay cool while doing so because it’s on the lake. Literally.
Austin’s rainy spring morphed into full-fledged summer almost overnight. Now we have one thing on the brain: get in/on/near the water! My friends and I recently spent a fantastic day at Waterloo Adventures in order to share our experience with you.
Thank you to Waterloo Adventures for comping our entrance and meal for the purposes of this article.
What to Expect at Waterloo Adventures
Waterloo Adventures designed this experience on the lake to be an all-day affair. I highly recommend taking advantage of all the location has to offer, on top of the obstacle course.
To start the day, park at Cypress Creek Marina one hour before your reservation, where a friendly shuttle van driver picks you up and takes you to the Waterloo Adventures office. The office is where people also sign in for sister business Lake Travis Zipline Adventures. The staff members verify your waiver and give you wristbands for the day (one for admittance and one for 21+).
From there, it’s an easy walk to the dock to board a covered pontoon boat that ferries you to Adventure Island. The boat captain gives you the lay of the land, rules, and some additional tips before you hit the shore. Captain Rob kindly offered to take our photos with the most scenic backdrop on the ride.
Pulling up on the boat with all of the brightly colored, floating equipment waiting to be explored was a thrill, in and of itself. The Waterloo Adventures equipment and private beach felt like a secret wonderland waiting to be explored. My group felt positively giddy, imagining our fun lake day to come!
Leaving the boat, head to the lounge chairs/umbrellas and claim a shady spot for later. Then grab a life vest (required for all people in the water at all times) and a locker for your keys/valuables. At the water entrance, get a brief orientation before hitting the obstacle course.
Important note: The keys are on wristbands and may come off in the water. I suggest leaving the key at your chair in a bag and not carrying it into the water. Mine was frayed and the key came off the actual wristband (luckily, on dry land).
As the lifeguard says, anything that falls into the lake is now the property of Lake Travis. He means it: Lake Travis is too deep to trawl for anything. Consider leaving everything on land except your swimsuit, life vest, and water shoes (recommended, by the way).
Conquering the Obstacle Course
After orientation, everyone swims out to the obstacle course, and it’s game on. The entry fee includes one 45-minute block of time on this course, so use your timed session on the gear.
The course has a few entrance points, a good tip for busier days. You don’t all have to start in the same spot. And with a max capacity of 80 people, I’d suggest swimming out to a less busy spot to start.
Each entry/re-entry spot has a swinging step below it, to aid in getting up on the floating platform leading to the obstacles. From these platforms, you can run, jump, climb, hurdle, swing, and balance your way to glory at the end of the course.
The ideal skills required are balance, upper body strength, and core strength. Needless to say, I didn’t finish the course, haha, with my kitten-like strength and bad knees.
Two of the people in our group did well, each completing the course, though not without a few falls into the water. I hear their arms got the best workout of the day. Most of the kids on the course were able to run the whole course a few times in the 45 minutes.
➡️ Keep reading: No Bad Days: Insider’s Guide to Lake Travis
Aqua Park Hijinks
After the obstacle course, swim over to the aqua park to swim, play, and chill in the water. The Waterloo Adventures excursion includes unlimited access to the aqua park on that day. I’d been eyeballing the park for a year and was thrilled to finally try it out.
First we climbed on the giant, floating trampoline and checked out the action from above. It wasn’t as bouncy as I’d hoped, but I’m sure when it has dozens of people on it, it would be. It’s an easy climb up and fun to jump off into the water.
The other floating structures in the aqua park include a 14-foot “iceberg,” a.k.a. a floating climbing wall, and huge water slide with a 12-foot drop into the lake and no additional swinging step to board (you have to pull yourself up).
The Waterloo Adventures aqua park also has a bubbly-looking springboard jumping platform, with a water step to help you climb onto the platform. I scaled this one with ease and loved not only the view from the top but also launching myself into the lake. It is so fun!
Waterloo Adventures Private Beach
“Pardon me, ma’am, is this hammock taken?” is something you may feel like asking when you’re ready to dry off and chill out a bit. That’s because Waterloo Adventures has big, beautiful hammocks strewn between shady trees. They look enticing enough to really bring the island vibe to life.
If hammocks aren’t your thing or are taken, grab a cozy lounge chair under an umbrella, a picnic table in the sunshine, or simply throw your beach towel on the ground to hang out.
Your nap or reading will only be interrupted by the sound of zipliners whizzing overhead, as the Lake Travis Zipline folks fly right over the beach. It’s pretty fun to see how fast they go as they master Austin’s longest and fastest zipline.
One thing’s certain: working out in the water makes me ravenous. Waterloo Adventures does not allow outside food or drinks, but they have a food truck and sell cold drinks. On our visit, we tried the pepperoni pizza rolls at the food truck.
Two pizza rolls from south Austin’s The Tipsy Pizza make a good-sized snack, enough to tide you over. At the time of our visit, they only had pepperoni, so the only veggie option for now is to buy some chips or other packaged snacks from the office when you sign in for the day. I’d love to see a fruit stand with quick choices like apples and oranges.
Waterloo Adventures sells frozen cocktails, beer, bottled water, sodas, and Gatorade to quench your thirst. I hope they’ll add a few local options to the mix this summer, but it’s nice to have boozy and hydrating choices.
Waterloo Adventures is unique in Austin. The giant floaties are a blast! They’re as fun as they are colorful, as challenging as inviting. The service staff and lifeguards are both helpful, and cheerful.
What’s the Damage?
Tickets for the entire day of fun, including the obstacle course, currently cost $54/person, no matter what age. Those wanting a second go on the obstacle course can sign up on Adventure Island for $10 a pop.
Compared to other amusement parks, it’s a great value. Waterloo Adventures would make a fun summer family outing or even a cool, active twist on a grown-up birthday party or bachelor/bachelorette celebration.
My friends and I would definitely go again. Even though this is only the second year in business, tickets tend to start selling out mid-season. Waterloo Adventures is open Thursday through Monday from now through September. I suggest the early time slot, for maximum island time!
14529 Pocohontas Trail Suite A, Leander, TX – Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
Have you ever been on a floating obstacle course?