Zilker Park Boat Rentals
Take a lazy paddle and observe the courtship rituals of birds - and joggers
Word to the wise: Zilker Rentals' location right next to Barton Springs makes it a convenient shoving-off point for exploration of the lake after a refreshing swim.
They don't waste time with safety demonstrations here, and you really don't need any skill to operate their canoes and kayaks - just hand the attendant a photo ID, sign a waiver, grab a life jacket and paddles, and scoot on into the water.
You'll be starting out on spring-fed Barton Creek and heading toward the warmer waters of Lady Bird Lake. As you approach the point where the creek meets the lake, look down into the crystal-clear water, which is typically around four feet deep at this point. There is often a foot-long alligator snapping turtle patrolling the bottom. The slow-moving, prehistoric-looking beast is generally harmless to humans, but keep your feet in the boat, just in case.
After you emerge from the inlet onto the lake, you can take a right and head toward a nice view of the downtown skyline or turn left if you're more interested in watching birds and turtles.