One of the most unusual places to soak in some sun in Austin is officially open for its third season.
Unique brews, fresh farm-to-market food, and a chance to ride the waves are all reasons to visit Austin’s NLand Surf Park. Located in southeast Austin, just miles from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the park is the world’s only inland surf destination and brewery.
The largest surf park in North America, business owners chose to build in Austin because of demographics; they say people in Austin typically like to get outside and do outdoorsy things. “Surfing is a sport,” said Bob Logan, Vice President of Operations for AC Development. “It’s an Olympic sport, starting in Tokyo in 2020. Our whole mission here is to not only promote the sport, but to create and promote a healthy lifestyle.”
If you are not a surfer, NLand is a great place to learn and practice. Staffers are on-hand to give tips on how to ride the waves. In fact, they recommend trying out surfing at NLand before hitting the ocean because the waves are more predictable. Spoiler: One thing beginner surfers learn at NLand is that much of surfing success is about lining your board up with the waves.
Surfing is something I had never tried before my visit to NLand, so the experience was completely new for me. I knew nothing about surfing, and found the staff at NLand very helpful. We had a brief tutorial before heading out into the water and once in the water another staff member surfed with us, offering suggestions along the way. Another helpful tip is to just try to ride the board on your knees at first, while you learn to gain more balance. Even though I ultimately was not very good at surfing, it was still a fun, one-of-a-kind experience.
“If you’re not a surfer, NLand is a great place to learn and practice.”
Riding the waves (or in my case wiping out on the waves) can help you work up an appetite, which is great, because NLand has some of the freshest food available at its Blue Prairie Restaurant. Overlooking the lagoon, you can sit on a patio and enjoy everything from Hawaiian-style Poke to hearty pulled pork sliders and Carnitas tacos filled with fresh vegetables.
All beers are brewed on-site by NLand Brewing Company. “My overall goal as a brewer is to have something for everyone. We have everything from 5% peach wheat—yes, it contains fresh peaches—to 7.2% ABV American Red Ale,” said Todd Henry, Head Brewer at NLand. Espresso Porter is probably NLand’s most unique brew. Henry describes it as a cold brew coffee, turned beer. NLand’s new “Surfeza” Mexican-style lager was released at their Cinco de Mayo party. A fresh juice bar packed with fresh lemonade and nutritious smoothies is available if you are not into beer, or if you are bringing the kids.
The surf park opened in October 2016. Since then, it has continued to grow in popularity with weekly events offered, including a Saturday bargain: a yoga session, where you can surf afterward for only $30. Surf sessions (with surfboard included), surf lessons, kids’ camps, group events and live music are also offered at NLand. Trivia is also hosted by Geeks Who Drink every Wednesday night at 8 p.m.
110 people can surf at NLand at a time. Buy tickets at the NLand ticket office or book online ahead of time. Prices typically range from $60 – $90 per session, unless you sign up for a special event.