Top 10 Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities in Bastrop County

Enjoy the family-friendly activities in Bastrop County in Central Texas from outdoor dinosaur parks to the lake to zipping over our forested areas to childhood competitions. Let’s count down to the best spots together.

No. 10 – Photo op with Smitty, the World’s Largest Gingerbread Man

Now, this is a silly one, but a fun way to explore a town. The World’s Largest Gingerbread Man monument is the cookie sheet used to bake the giant cookie named Smitty during Smithville’s holiday celebration in 2006, where it earned its place in the Guinness World Book of Records. And it’s painted just like it was frosted! Smitty even has his own Facebook page. Make sure and take photos and selfies and tag @World’s Largest Gingerbread Man. What other unusual things can you spot in Smithville?

Smitty -Woolr's Largest Gingerbread man

No. 9  – Play the field with disc golf

Harking back to childhood memories with friends, this family-friendly activity garners fun, laughter, and maybe even a little bit of competition. Both Elgin and Smithville have courses in their biggest parks, with no charge to play. Discs can be rented in the Smithville Indoor Recreation Center with a refundable deposit and ID. Elgin offers handy tips and scorecards to keep track of the play. There’s also the Moody Disc Golf Country Club in the Red Rock area but with a per-person fee.

Disc golfer throwing desc

No. 8 – Kayaking on the Colorado – or on Lake Bastrop!

Yes, even youngsters can get aboard. The two outfitters – Bastrop River Company and Rising Phoenix Adventures – can get you onto the river and after your adventure, back to your car. They both rent kayaks, paddleboards and canoes and have some tandem kayaks for those uncertain on the river. For an added guarantee, they will even guide you through the river, giving you helpful tips. To check of a bucket list item, choose one of the two local Texas Paddling Trails for your route.

No. 7 – That ol’ time pastime of fishing

Guaranteed to make memories, head to Moby Dicks’ Fishing Pond for fishing on the well-stocked lake. It’s a private lake so you don’t need a Texas Fishing License, and they have all the gear. You can also camp, hike, picnic, and stay in cabins overnight!A little girl fishing at Moby Dick's Private Pond Fishing in Cedar Creek, Texas.

No. 6 – Gentle Hiking at McKinney Roughs Nature Park and the two State Parks

An outdoor adventure in the forest that gets the kids moving. Think bird calls, species of trees, and the interesting histories behind the parks. McKinney Roughs Nature Park also offers horseback riding and river fun. On some Saturdays, Bastrop State Park and Buescher State Park offer guided hikes that anyone can join in their forested climes and you can see the regrowth of Bastrop State Park. Remember to take water, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes!

Colorado River running through trees

No. 5 – Zip high above the Lost Pines region

Here’s a true adventure for the older teens at Zip Lost Pines. Take the full (6 lines) or half zip line tour Thursday through Monday side-by-side with a friend or family member. Be prepared for a high-flying, inspiring, adventure-filled excursion that gets you outside and way off your feet. You’ll love immersing yourself in nature and witnessing the breathtaking views of Texas firsthand. Riders must be at least 16 years of age (Ages 16-17 accompanied by an adult on the tour), 52” tall, and between 60 and 250 lbs.

Two people zip lining down dual lines at Zip Lost Pines near Cedar Creek, Texas
No. 4 – Putt-Putt Golf

Lake Bastrop South Shore has a 9-hole mini-golf course that will test your skills and be sure to create the giggles as it brings back childhood memories. Located next to Lake Bastrop and under wonderful leafy cover, this is a beautiful relaxing place to make some memories. Golf club and ball included in price. At the park is also a volleyball playing field, kayaks to rent and a covered pavilion with seating to relax between games. Definitely a picnic-worthy location.


Off the beaten path just 20 minutes east of downtown Austin, the zoo is home to over 500 rare and beautiful wild animals and birds. Not only can you tour the zoo, but you can also receive guided tours each Saturday evening Spring through Fall. Meet the 4,000-pound Tank the Hippo, the zoo’s biggest attraction. Plus there are six Animal Encounters so you can be with animals up close (Dingo, Lemur, Hippo, Otter and Monkey), including a cute Guinea Pig Encounter for toddlers. The zoo is small and rustic compared to places like San Antonio or Houston, and is an intimate little wildlife sanctuary with breeding programs for fourteen endangered species.


No. 2 – Toads in Town scavenger hunt

Stop by the Visitors Center & Museum of the Bastrop County Historical Society and get this fun scavenger hunt for kids, where they find all the frogs around Historic downtown Bastrop and record their locations. Then turn in the form for a prize. The visitor’s center also has a gift area for all ages. As an indoor bonus, the museum showcases the history of Bastrop, established four years before Texas became a state in 1836, and Bastrop County. Bastrop County also is fortunate to have six different community museums that cover different topics and historical periods of the county. Whether you are young or old, museums have something for everyone.


"Croakeo and Julie" toad sculpture by Clint Howard
No. 1 – The Dinosaur Park

Grab the family and take a walk under the forest canopy through self-guided trails and seek the dinosaurs along the way, complete with a bite of information at each stop. The Dinosaur Park offers realistic life-size dinosaur exhibits that show skin and color variations, from the smallest to the largest dinosaurs known to man, you will see it all. While you are there, unearth your inner paleontologist and enjoy your own fossil dig or visit the gift shop and take some home. This attraction, which has earned international recognition, has also earned its place at the top of the list of family-friendly activities in Bastrop County. This is an amazingly fun, educational experience for families. Some come on down and RAWR!

The Dinosaur Park in Cedar Creek, Texas