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Three Central Texas Resorts That Still Feel Like Summer

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It may be fall, but you can slip back into summer at these Central Texas resorts all season long.

By Mauri Elbel, Photos courtesy of respective resorts 

With fall’s jampacked days and the stressful holiday season lurking just around the corner, this time of year often leaves us pining for those sun-filled, carefree days of summer. Luckily, Austinites don’t have to venture too far to recapture those much-missed, sun-kissed summertime vibes. Here, we feature three nearby resorts where you can soak in some sun and fun throughout the fall months while relaxing at the spa, lounging at the pool, indulging in culinary delights and entertaining the whole family. The best part: Even when your schedule is swamped, these resorts are close enough to squeeze in a quick getaway or stop in to play for the day.

LAKEWAY RESORT AND SPA

Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean you can’t be steeped shoulder-deep in summertime. From the sparkling infinity pool at Lakeway Resort and Spa, sip a grapefruity Lakeway Paloma and gaze out on a smooth and shimmering Lake Travis. Nearby, there’s the sound of laughter from kids zooming down the waterslide on repeat and splashing in the sunny pool as you bask in a blissful state of post-spa relaxation.

A little more than half an hour from downtown Austin, this lakeside, family-friendly resort, tucked away from the city’s buzz and perched above tranquil Lake Travis, offers a relaxing respite from the busy pace of life, beckoning guests to slip back into summertime throughout the fall and winter months.

Book a rejuvenating treatment like the seasonal Sea Salt Honey Probiotic Wrap, featuring a full-body dry brushing and an exfoliating nutmeg-clove honey salt scrub followed by a probiotic milk mask wrap and hydrating agave-nectar body oil, at the full-service spa, which boasts seven treatment rooms and relaxation lounges wrapped by floor-to-ceiling windows that give way to panoramic lake views.

Enjoy some fun under the sun at the resort’s palatial pool complex, heated on weekends and holidays through February, while sipping a cocktail from the swim-up bar or lounging inside a posh cabana. Dip into the lake life by kayaking, paddleboarding or sailing across 65 miles of scenic lakeshore, or play a round of golf on the surrounding championship-level courses. Little ones will love the complimentary on-site Kids Zone, brimming with bounce houses, air hockey, pingpong, basketball, seasonal craft activities, a 30-foot movie screen and a miniature indoor golf course. Kids 5 and older can be dropped off so Mom and Dad can book a couple’s massage or savor some alone time at the adults-only pool.

For dinner, traipse over to TR Restaurant Bar and Lounge for diverse dishes spanning Cajun-crusted ahi tuna salad with watermelon, avocado and microgreens to mesquite-smoked prime rib with potatoes au gratin and broccoli-bourbon rosemary au jus before delighting the kids with complimentary fireside s’mores for dessert.

If you can’t get away for an overnight stay, consider purchasing a day pass for some pampering and pool time at this peaceful paradise. Take advantage of the spa’s $99 Black Friday special with any 50-minute treatment.

JW MARRIOTT SAN ANTONIO HILL COUNTRY RESORT AND SPA 

Summer may be long gone, but that’s rarely the case at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. For families seeking sunshine and fun times throughout the fall, this sprawling resort just 70 miles from Austin is the answer. Hop in the car Friday after school and be swimming, splashing and taking leisurely loops with your family around the 1,100-foot lazy river that circles the resort’s 9-acre River Bluff water park by midafternoon. In late November, you may even catch a glimpse of Santa and Mrs. Claus while basking in the resort’s pools, which are heated to 86 degrees for year-round enjoyment.

At this Hill Country oasis, guests can pick from seven distinctive dining options, from the casual Cibolo Moon, where you can fill up on Texas-style cuisine and let the little ones run off their meal on the green lawn outside, to 18 Oaks, known for its farm-to-table dishes featuring ingredients from the resort’s organic garden. Don’t forget to grab your two welcome drinks at the Crooked Branch bar upon check-in and let the kids bite into the gooey goodness of the complimentary s’mores offered on weekend evenings.

While adults melt cares away at the 26,000-square-foot spa, featuring 30 treatment rooms, or tee off on one of two PGA-certified golf courses, children will find plenty of fun at their fingertips. Bigger kids can brave the jaw-dropping 47-foot-high body slides and rushing rapid-river rides as little ones splash in kiddie pools and build sandcastles at the sandy beach pool. Out of the water, kids can enjoy everything from an arcade room to an ever- changing menu of activities spanning make-your-own-ice-cream workshops to the Slime Factory.

Parents wanting some alone time can take advantage of Kids’ Night Out, which includes dinner, activities and movies for children ages 4 to 12.

If you’re too booked to spend the night, non-resort guests can experience the River Bluff water park and the Lantana Spa for the day with the newly launched day-pass program.

HYATT REGENCY LOST PINES RESORT AND SPA

If you’re longing for those lazy days of summer, recapture them at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa. Just about a half hour from downtown Austin, this luxurious wilderness retreat hugs the banks of the lower Colorado River. Guests splash and swim in the year-round Crooked River Water Park, which boasts a lazy river, two-story waterslide, splash pad, sandy beach, whirlpools and poolside food and drinks.

On dry land, choose from a lengthy recreation roster including everything from bike riding, tennis, rock climbing and zip lining to archery, fishing and hiking through the adjoining 1,100-acre McKinney Roughs Nature Park. At night, cozy up beneath the stars for movie nights or satisfy your sweet tooth with nightly s’mores roasts.

After spending some time at the full-service Spa Django, on the Wolfdancer Golf Club’s 18-hole course or at the Renegade Trailhead equestrian facility, refuel at a handful of on-site restaurants serving everything from family-friendly buffets to fine dining. Kids can report to Camp Hyatt if Mom and Dad want a solo date.

Bask in the sun and fun while celebrating the holidays here with a Thanksgiving feast, Breakfast with Santa and a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza, complete with a full-scale carnival and fireworks show.

Those wanting to take a “daycation” can purchase a ResortPass.

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