Lake Austin & Emma Long Metropolitan Park Weekend
How can you beat a Memorial Day Weekend with family and friends camping at Emma Long Metropolitan Park, enjoying Lake Austin, a round of golf, great food cooked on the grill, drinks and appetizers on the Lake, and games and s'mores around the campfire?
For Memorial Day, we decided to camp on Emma Long Metropolitan Park in Austin. This Park is a Texas Outside Favorite Park because it's close to Austin and all that it has to offer, has a few excellent sites right on Lake Austin, and has some pretty good amenities that we enjoy. The problem is that it doesn't take reservations and it's very popular - in fact, as we sadly found out, campers start coming in on Sunday the week before to pay for a site that they'll only use during the Memorial Day Weekend. We knew this in advance but couldn't get to the Park until early Monday morning - only to find out there was no one at the front gate to help us determine what sites were open. There are only 20 water and electric sites and we thought that thought that to hold one, there had to be a camper, tent or something on the site to show it was taken!
So we found a site a guy was moving out of and rushed to the gate to put our money in the honor box. After looking at the site more closely, we determined that our 42' motorhome wouldn't fit in it and quickly found one of the only other open waterfront sites and squeezed the camper in it and went in search of a park ranger or somebody to tell that we've moved. Meanwhile, other people are starting to come in and find a site for the weekend. We found the park ranger, who wasn't sure which sites were already reserved for the week and which weren't but he was very helpful and said he would do his best to find out.
He came back after 30 minutes and said that the site we were in was already taken but one across the street from the lake was open, so we moved the camper to that one, put a note in the honor box about moving to a different site. 30 minutes later we were set up and ready to relax when I noticed that a camper was breaking camp and getting ready to leave a prime waterfront site. I hightailed it down to his site, confirmed he was leaving and that we could have his site, and went in search of the park ranger to let him know that we were moving again!!! He confirmed the site was open and we blessed and thanked for his help in putting up with us. So we put all the camping gear away, put up the jacks, closed the slides, unhooked the water and electric, and moved 100 yards down the road to the perfect campsite to set up again for the third time! The site wasn't quite big enough for our motor home and it took us 15 minutes to squeeze in diagonally. By now it's 4:00 and time for a cold beer!
Emma Long Metropolitan Park has 20 RV sites (11 on the water) with water and electric, primitive camping for tents, a huge day use are, hiking and biking trails, volleyball and baseball courts, a boat ramp, and more. Best of all the sites are spacious, along the bank of Lake Austin, and the shoreline is sandy and great for boat parking and swimming. Read our review of Emma Long Park to learn more.
Over the next 4 days while we were waiting for our two daughters and their family of 5 kids (2 to 9) and husbands plus my brother and his wife, we:
- played a round of golf at Twin Lakes Country Club (a private course with a fantastic layout that's fun, scenic, and demanding - I know I lost 3 golf balls, took home a lot of sand in my hair from being in the bunkers, and lost several bets resulting in my having to buy a few rounds of margaritas)
- drove into Austin to watch our oldest grandson win his baseball tournament and add another trophy to his collection
- drove home to pick up the boat and bring it to the park - the road into the park is very windy and narrow and steep and I didn't want to try to pull it with the motor home (which makes us over 65' long)
- set up our office (an extension cord running down to our lawn chair two feet from the lake and under a huge tree) and tried to do some work
- at cocktail hour each day, we grabbed a drink and headed up and down the lake admiring the huge beautiful homes
What a fun and relaxing and very quiet and peaceful four days and then it starting getting wild as the park started to fill up with campers and day use guests and our family of 11 plus 2 dogs arrived. And over the next three days we had a blast:
several games of soccer and wiffle baseball - those kids are good, fast, and have way to much energy, but my nap by the lake was refreshing
perfectly cooked burgers, dogs, ribs, sausage, chicken, and all the fixin's - thank you very much
a cruise to the party cove where all the young, hard bodies were rafted together with their fancy ski boats with radios blaring at full volume with everything from rock to reggae to country, beer bongs flowing, dancing on swim platforms, and having a blast - we got a lot of strange looks as our pontoon boat loaded with 5 kids and some older folks cruised by, so we slipped around behind the crowd to drop an anchor and try to remain incognito
after an hour or two in the party cove it was time to give the ears and eyes a rest and boat on down river to the 'kids and old folks" party cove
knee boarding, tubing, and wakeboarding enjoying some appetizers and dip and too many margaritas at Hula Hut
- doing a "geranimo" off the rope swing
sitting on the deck at Ski Shores sipping a cold one while the kids enjoyed the playscape and sandy beach and the adults had a jumping contest
Monday was depressing as we packed up and then headed for home in the rain - we needed it badly, but not when we are trying to pack up the tents, canopy, chairs, toys, boat, and all that other stuff we enjoyed for the last few days.