Photo: Philip Arno Photography/Shutterstock

An LGBTQIA+ Guide to Hippie Hollow, Texas' Only Official Nude Park

Texas LGBTQIA+ Travel Beaches and Islands
by Deven Wilson Jun 27, 2024

The thought of nude beaches tends to come with assumed prerequisites of having liberated cultures and a local air of cultural progress. So Texas’ Hippie Hollow Park, with deep blue waters in the heart of a deep red state, doesn’t exactly feel like a natural spot for skinny dipping.

But the fantastically queer and welcoming hideaway of the state park offers a peek behind the collective assumptions many make about Texas. On the same lake where a makeshift armada of “Trump” flag-waving boats sank before the 2020 election, LGBTQIA+ Texans continue to strip down and get up to a gay old time at the only nude public park in Texas.

The best time to visit Hippie Hollow, Texas


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There’s no real wrong time to visit Texas’ Hippie Hollow, as the state only occasionally gets a cold snap. The crisp waters of the lake offer a welcome reprieve during the rest of the year when the heat returns for the remaining seasons: pre-summer, summer, and post-summer. When the temperature sits above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, having somewhere to take it all off without scrutiny is a welcome reprieve.

Both Pride Months (the city of Austin officially celebrates pride in August) also offer plenty of reasons to make way to the nude beach. With events both big and small, size doesn’t matter when it comes to partying among the queer community.

How to get there

Like most of the state’s destinations, the primary way to get to Hippie Hollow is on the open road. If coming from Austin, the most direct and scenic option is Route 2222; the drive takes about 35 minutes. Easy enough to remember, this windy pathway leads motorists out of the city and into the country.

Hippie Hollow is also doable as a day trip from San Antonio at about a 90-minute drive. But if you’re coming from further away towns like Dallas (three hours), you’ll probably want to stay overnight nearby.

Hippie Hollow Park: 7000 Comanche Trail, Austin, TX 78732

About Lake Travis

hippie hollow, texas - coves at lake travis

The many coves along the shore of Lake Travis make it one of the more popular lakes along Texas’ Colorado River. Photo: Trong Nguyen/Shutterstock

Lake Travis is a favorite among the Texas Highland Lakes, a group of artificial lakes created by dams on the Colorado River. For those with a keen sense of geography, this isn’t an odd offshoot of the more famous Colorado River: It’s a separate waterway in Texas that feeds into the Gulf of Mexico. The bodies of blue waters start deeper in the Texas Hill Country with Lake Buchanan, and end with the river-like Ladybird Lake, abutting downtown Austin.

Lake Travis is the second largest of the Highland Lakes and is known as a quick getaway for Austinites. It bends and forms several coves with sprawling lake houses looming large over the water, and has a surface area of close to 30 square miles. Many people think the destination and its several parks are best viewed from The Oasis, a perched dining complex with multiple patios and bars. It’s a locally famous spot for spectacular views and okay food. Sipping a margarita while watching the sun set over the lake from 450 feet above is well-worth slightly lowering your usually high foodie standards.

Hippie Hollow State Park is just over a mile north of the Oasis and is officially a nude park. The whole area has been unofficially nude since the 1950s (hence the name “Hippie Hollow,”) but was officially made into a park in 1985.  It’s open 9 AM to 8:30 PM, with the last admission at 8 PM. Entry fees are $8 for adults or $3 for seniors, payable by cash only. As with all state parks in Texas, admission is free for disabled veterans.

Hippie Hollow’s LGBTQIA+ connection


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When the invisible happened is up for debate, but long before the state turned Hippie Hollow into a park, the eastern half had been unofficially designated the “gay” side. From the parking lot, where visitors are greeted with large signs warning of the possibility of seeing nude bathers (along with a reminder that this park is exclusively for ages 18 and older), the trails leading east wind their way to the queer cove. While no one on the “straight” side would ever police queer visitors from being on the west side, the long-standing tradition means guests on the east end can relax even more, knowing their fellow nudists are likely members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Events at Hippie Hollow, Texas


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There are a couple of events held at Hippie Hollow for queer people, but there is one to rule them all. And it’s Splash Days.

Splash Days

Splash Days is an iconic way to kick off Pride. It starts on Memorial Day weekend with a four-day version of MTV’s Spring Break from the 1990s – but if Carson Kressley hosted it instead of Carson Daly.

The penultimate day on Sunday is when queer people invade the lake and take over the beach, with parties starting in the parking lot. Boats and barges hang anchor, and party goers often begin on the beach and before hopping onto boats. The parking lot fills up early, and the best way to sail into this swimsuit-less hangout is by finding a boat to take you. So be sure to mention your love for sailing during the parties beforehand to land a captain with room for you to board – potentially wearing a life vest only.

Otter Fest

In mid-July (July 13, for 2024), party boats will swarm the shores at Hippie Hollow, Texas, for more queer partying in the buff during Otter Fest. Embracing the furrier side of gay men, this furry fun time is open to everyone regardless of gender or body hair status. But it’s the perfect event for stripping down and embracing the fuzz, especially for those who might normally feel ashamed of their hair.

Hippie Hollow Takeover by Queer Black Women Alliance

Happening on August 25, the Queer Black Women Alliance will celebrate Austin Pride by taking over Hippie Hollow. The non-profit has the goal of lifting up queer Black women in a state actively putting them down, and hosts these takeovers as a means of promoting body positivity and improving self-image by stripping down as much as every attendee would like.

Where to stay near Hippie Hollow, Texas

hippie hollow view from the oasis

Several rental homes are available close to Hippie Hollow and The Oasis restaurant. Photo: Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock

Lake Travis is an easy drive from the city of Austin in case you’d like to stay in a downtown Airbnb, but there are also fantastic stays closer to Hippie Hollow, ranging from rustic to luxurious.

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

The Magical Cabin

Anyone who wants that classic “lakeside cabin” vibe, but with an interior design ready for Dwell Magazine, should descend upon this property and snag a night or more at the Magical Cabin. Shingled and ready to mingle, this wood-lover’s haven in the hills has fantastic lake views and direct access to the park via a quick wooded hike. It sleeps up to four guests, and summer rates are around $285 a night.

Miraval Austin Resort & Spa

For those who never say “budget,” the Miraval is the ultimate luxurious lakeview resort. On a hilltop with an infinity pool looking over Lake Travis, this wellness-heavy resort is all-inclusive (a rarity in the United States!) The splurge may feel worth it to soak up the organic good vibes before heading down to Hippie Hollow to relax in the sun on your soulful sojourn.

Peace Retreat Tiny House

Across the lake from Hippie Hollow is this cozy tiny house that saves space and cash as an affordable getaway that doesn’t sacrifice style. The lakefront house has a balcony overlooking a secluded cove, and the lofted sleeping space is as cozy as can be. It’s dog-friendly, and guests also get free use of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Rates are around $100 per night in the summer.

What to wear to Hippie Hollow, Texas

hippie hollow texas at lake travis near austin

Photo: Philip Arno Photography/Shutterstock

It may seem paradoxical to include a clothing section in a guide to a nude beach, though you do need to be dressed in the parking lot before entering the park. But there’s one article of clothing that’s highly recommended for wearing beyond the entrance gate: water shoes. Water shoes can be a lifesaver on the jagged rocks and razor-sharp zebra mussels that can hide out of view but be a huge pain. And it’s a bit of a rocky walk down to the water to reach the actual beach within the park. While it means not being completely in the buff, your feet will thank you for not completely baring it all.

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