How to Beat the Austin Heat - 5 tips to Survive a Texas Summer

Carrie Benuska Leinen August 16, 2023

As someone who made the move from California to Texas, I am regularly asked by my West Coast friends and family how I am doing with the hot Austin TX weather. Our blazing temperatures have been making national headlines, and days over 100 degrees have been the norm, so I understand the focus. Ironically, I made a commitment to myself when I moved here NOT to focus on the Austin heat. I'm an optimist, after all. I wanted to count my blessings rather than concentrate on my own personal discomfort. You might ask how that's going for me. The answer is: Not so well. I'm 🔥 HOT, and much of my thinking goes into how to beat the heat.
There is no doubt that my body is a bit confused. I lived for the past several years in the San Francisco Bay Area. My system was accustomed to summer heat that rarely broke into the 90's. Summer nights regularly cooled down to the place where I might want a sweater when eating outside. With weather like that, It's no wonder that the Bay Area is so expensive!
As we move into August of my first summer in Texas, here are my tips for how to beat the Austin heat.


Exercise is an important part of my daily routine, but I have learned that any outdoor activities must be done either early in the day (before 10:00 am) or later in the evening (after 8:00 pm). At this time, temperatures are usually in the high 80's or early 90s, which is the best it's going to get. Even though it would be tempting to only exercise in a gym or pool, I have been advised that exercising outside will help my body ultimately acclimate to the Texas climate, so I'm walking and playing Pickleball. I will admit that outdoor exercise, even in the early or late parts of the day, tires me out, but I'm making it a priority.


Many Texans joke about the Austin heat, saying it is always 72 degrees. Most of us stay inside our homes, offices, or cars during the middle of the day, and these spaces are regularly cooled to 72 degrees. Luckily, energy costs in Texas are far more affordable than they are in California because my home air conditioning runs constantly. Coming back into the house after a short walk to the mailbox is a bit jarring - like entering a meat locker. My home is my sanctuary, and air conditioning and fans are my best friends.


Austin TX is located around a connected system of lakes. Thank the Lord! Whenever I get a chance, I get into some sort of body of water. One of my favorite activities is paddle boarding in Austin. As a Bee Cave resident, my body of water of choice is Lake Travis, but Lake Austin and Ladybird Lake are other beautiful options. We have yet to buy our own paddle boards, so we rent from an adorable small business - Austin Pedal Kayaks. Even though the Lake Travis water level is incredibly low, there is still plenty of water to explore.
Austin swimming holes are also a very popular destination. The most famous of these Austin swimming holes is Barton Springs Pool, located in the iconic Zilker Park. According to the Barton Springs Pool website, "The pool itself measures three acres in size, and is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68-70 degrees, ideal for year-round swimming." Residents can swim at Barton Springs Pool for an admission charge of $5 daily, and there are season passes also available for purchase.
After buying a home in Bee Cave, TX, we decided to join The Hills Country Club. What a great decision! Several times per week, we head over to the pool for a float. These outings are the highlight of my week! We have also been enjoying the paddle board fitness classes they run at The Hills. These classes are great for working on balance, strength, and flexibility, and in between exercises, a dunk in the water is incredibly refreshing!


Staying hydrated has never been a strength of mine. I have gone on kicks where I carry around a large water bottle and set a daily water goal, but I easily get out of the habit. I have learned the hard way that staying well-hydrated in Texas is a requirement. Since I love my morning tea and my afternoon diet Coke, I have to be especially diligent about my water intake. I have had a few days, where I was out during the heat of the day and got dehydrated. I did not feel well at all! These experiences are a reminder I need to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!


In my California days, my attire of choice almost always included jeans. Living through a Texas summer, I have had to amend my clothing choices rather dramatically. I have turned in my jeans for shorts or a sundress. Other than when I am exercising, I only wear sandals. Light cotton or linen are ideal choices, and loose-fitting silhouettes are far preferable to something tight and restrictive. Ironically, if I am going to be spending time in an office or restaurant, I might bring a light sweater. The air conditioning in Texas can be rather jarring in the opposite direction.
Even with the Austin heat, moving from California to Texas was a great decision. I love the friendly people, more affordable housing costs, and the active outdoor lifestyle. If you would like to explore this move or if you are looking to buy or sell West Austin Real Estate, I am here to help. Contact Carrie Benuska Leinen at (512) 599-2388 or email at [email protected].

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