Day Trips: Llano River Slab, Kingsland

Dip into this not-so-secret swimming hole, but save the cooking for the professionals

Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

The Llano River Slab just west of Kingsland is the kind of semi-secret swimming hole that you can't resist telling your friends about. It's a two-mile stretch of public access where the river spreads out over a pink granite outcropping.

A little more than an hour's drive from South Austin, "The Slab" is a great place for children, well-behaved pets, and adults nursing a cold beverage. Over the centuries, the river has cut channels that have become a combination of tube chutes and sandy beaches on tiny islands in the wide riverbed.

It's not uncommon for locals to put up shade canopies right in the stream with a grill smoking on the riverbank. After all that lolly­gagging around with your feet in the water, you're bound to work up an appetite.

Marble Falls is something of a cuisine mecca on the Highland Lakes. They have their own brewpub in Double Horn Brewing Company, the excellent legacy diners of the Blue Bonnet Cafe and Russo's Italian Restaurant, and the turkey sausage is really good at Inman Ranch House Bar B Que. Survivors of Hurricane Katrina offer true Cajun food at the Real New Orleans Style Restaurant. Why bother lugging a grill down to the river?

The Llano River Slab, also called "The Flats," is a couple of miles west of Kingsland; turn west on FM 3404 off of FM 1431. No admission charge, except picking up your own garbage.

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Llano River Slab, Kingsland, Texas, Marble Falls

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