Austin Public Parks | Free | Just Add Water

Secret Beach

March 24, 2021

Secret beach isn’t really that much of a secret anymore, nor is it really a “beach” exactly, but it’s still one of our favorite spots in Austin. Sandy banks along the Colorado River makes for a beach-like setting and if you believe in your heart that it’s a beach, then a beach it will become!

Walking across a shallow section

Finding the trail

Getting to the trail isn’t that hard, but you have to know where to look as it isn’t well marked. Firstly, set your GPS for the Montopolis Youth Sports Complex. The beginning of the trail that leads to Secret Beach is across from the parking lot. Head down the trail until the trail splits left or right, next to the park sign. You will keep right at the fork and stay to the right until you come to a hill heading down to the water. Ahhh, the beach!

When you reach the park signs, keep right!

The beach

What is there to do here? Wading, splashing, and swimming of course! Kids also love to dig in the sand, so buckets and shovels would be excellent things to bring. Just remember that it is a bit of a walk to get back to the car, so you may want to limit what you bring as you will have to carry it a ways.

It may be hard to attempt this trip if you don’t have at least two adults, as wrangling kids and all the things kids need is a bit much for one adult. Blankets or chairs to sit on, towels, nets for catching fish, snacks, water, sunscreen, and bug spray are all excellent things to remember to bring as well. Always remember to check the water quality of the place you swim at in Austin, as drier and hotter months can make the water unsafe for swimming in.

Good for kids

Is it safe for kids to swim here? It depends! There are very shallow parts that little kids and toddlers (and even babies) could easily wade in to. There are also deeper parts that are good for swimming for older kids and stronger swimmers. The water is clean and clear (you can see through it to the bottom). However, you must beware when they open the dam and the river rapidly floods. This usually occurs around noon, but the exact time varies.

It’s also a very popular place to bring dogs that run around off-leash, which is something to consider when small children are involved. There are warnings online that swimming or tubing in this part of the Colorado River are not permitted, but we always see people doing it here, so use your best judgement. It’s probably posted due to the danger of the rapidly rushing water when the dam is released, which should definitely not be taken lightly.

Catching fish
Collecting shells

Is it really a secret?

No, it’s not. This place can be extremely crowded on afternoons and weekends. However, if you get there early enough in the morning, you will usually only see a few other people there, and you will have no problem finding a place to call your own. It’s also a safer time to swim, as long as you get out of the water before the dam is released.

Austin Active Kids Opinion

Secret Beach is the next best thing when you can’t make it to the actual beach! For more of our favorite watering holes, go here!

Outing Time

We like to spend at least a couple of hours here. There are no restrooms in this area, so that may end up limiting your stay.


It’s about a 15 minute walk back to the car. So, make sure you bring everything with you when you start upon the trail. It’s best to bring at least 2 adults so that you can share the load. Wheeled coolers or wagons might be useful, but could be tricky getting down the hill at the end of the trail. Bring sand toys, a beach blanket, fishing nets, towels, snacks, water, sunscreen, and bug spray.


Park at 800 Grove Blvd, Austin