A quick primer for those of you new to Splash and/or Austin’s queer scene. First, there are TWO Splash weekends in Austin: First Splash during Memorial Day Weekend and Last Splash during Labor Day Weekend. First Splash is when Austin gays kick off summer, while Last Splash is the unofficial close of summer.
First and Last Splash are technically just the party out on the lake at the gay section of Hippie Hollow on the Sunday of the holiday weekend. The gay section is located at the very end of the park. Just keep on the paved walkway until it runs out … and you’re at the gay section. Each year, for both Sundays on Splash weekends, several of the bars come together and load up a couple of barges with booze, bartenders and deejays and head out to the cove. If you want to grab drinks from the party barge, you’ll need to grab a wristband from one of the sponsor bars (see below for further details) and be sure to bring your photo ID.
No Refusal All Summer
The Austin Police Department‘s ‘No Refusal’ DWI initiative is in place every Friday through Sunday from 9 PM and 5 AM through September. If you are pulled over and suspected of driving while impaired, officers will be able to apply for a search warrant to obtain blood from operators who refuse to provide a breath or blood sample.
There are several events that pop-up around the lake event. While these Splash-adjacent events tend to focus on a specific portion of the community, the actual Splash party at the lake is open to everyone … 18 and up, just because that’s the rule at Hippie Hollow.
FRIDAY // MAY 26, 2017
No events currently scheduled.
SATURDAY // MAY 27, 2017
BIG GAY BRUNCH FIRST SPLASH
Bobby and Topher host their annual Big Gay Brunch to kick off Splash Weekend and lake season down West 6th Street at The Rattle Inn. They’re serving up a special brunch buffet catered by Trudy’s along with the infamous carafes of mimosas while you enjoy the beats by DJ Tony Castro. This year’s event benefits the Austin LGBTQ Center. The Rattle Inn, 610 Nueces St, Austin TX 78701. Saturday, May 27, 2017, 11 AM – 4 PM. 21+. $5 cover, or free with purchase of buffet.Add to calendar RSVP on Facebook Visit website
SUNDAY // MAY 28, 2017
FIRST SPLASH AT HIPPIE HOLLOW
This is the main event. This is what Splash is all about. Now, you have to use some imagination to visualize what it’s like when we have a full lake and there isn’t a rocky beach to camp out on. Back in the day we used to find a perch on the rocks or, if you got there late, back up in the trees.
If you haven’t heard, Hippie Hollow is a clothing optional park … actually the only clothing optional park in the state. It’s optional, so you don’t have to take your clothes off … in fact most don’t although, after a few drinks and baking under the sun, there are more nude people out later in the day. Remember, nudity is okay, lewd behavior isn’t and will get you ticketed or arrested.
There is no cost to go the Splash party at the lake, BUT there is a fee to get in to the park. It’s $15 per vehicle if you drive in or $8 per person if you walk or bike in. Cash or check only, no credit/debit cards. There is no fee if you come in off the lake on a boat. Please note that Hippie Hollow Park generally reaches capacity on holiday weekends. When capacity is reached the park is closed for the remainder of the day to all incoming traffic, including pedestrians. So don’t be surprised if you’re turned away at the gate when you show up late in the afternoon.
If you intend to get free drinks from the party barges, you will need to get a wristband. Wristbands are available from one of the sponsor bars/businesses on Saturday night. You will need to bring your ID and it will be put on you at the bar. No, you can’t grab a couple for your friends. Your wristband only gets you free drinks from the sponsored party barge. You do not need a wristband to go to the Splash party at the lake. Your wristbands do not get you in to the park for free. You still need to play the park entry fee if you drive or walk in.
Also, it’s a long hike from the parking lot to the gay section at Hippie Hollow … take this in mind if you plan to haul in a ton of crap. If you haul it in, you haul it out. Dispose of all trash properly in the appropriate containers. If you bring your own beverages, remember, NO GLASS containers. Tobacco is prohibited in all Travis County parks. Pets are not allowed at Hippie Hollow.
After Splash is really up to you … most will go home and (hopefully) shower and freshen up or nap before heading back out for a Sunday Funday on 4th Street. Locals should note that many bars will be treating Sunday night like a second Saturday so most will not have their regularly scheduled Sunday night shows.
MONDAY // MAY 29, 2017
No events currently scheduled.
How much does it cost to attend?
There is no cost to go the Splash party at the lake, BUT there is a fee to get in to the park. It’s $15 per vehicle if you drive in or $8 per person if you walk or bike in. Cash or check only, no credit/debit cards. There is no fee if you come in off the lake on a boat.
Where/when do I get my wristband?
Wristbands are available from one of the sponsor bars/businesses on the Saturday night before Splash Sunday, typically starting at 10 PM. You will need to bring your ID and it will be put on you at the bar. No, you can’t grab a couple for your friends. Your wristbands to not get you in to the park for free. You still need to play the fee if you drive or walk in. You do not need a wristband to go to the Splash party at the lake. Your wristband only gets you free drinks from the sponsored party barge.
Can I get extra wristbands for my friends?
No. Wristbands are put on at the bar once your age has been verified. Your friends must be present to receive their wristbands.
What does my wristband get me?
Your wristband only gets you free drinks from the sponsored party barge. You do not need a wristband to go to the Splash party at the lake. Your wristbands do not get you in to the park for free. You still need to play the park entry fee if you drive or walk in.
How long are the sponsored party barges at Hippie Hollow?
The barges are typically at Hippie Hollow from 11 AM to 4 PM. Times can vary each year, depending on lake levels.
Can I bring my dog?
No. Pets are not allowed in Hippie Hollow Park.
Where can I smoke in the park?
Nowhere. Tobacco products are prohibited in all Travis County properties, including parks.
Where is Hippie Hollow?
Hippie Hollow Park is located on the shores of Lake Travis in western Travis County, approximately 20 miles from downtown Austin. It is usually a 30-minute drive, depending on traffic. If you’re driving, use the address 7000 Comanche Trail, Austin, TX 78732 on your navigation app.
The parking lot fills up quickly, especially on holiday weekends. When capacity is reached the park is closed for the remainder of the day to all incoming traffic, including pedestrians. So don’t be surprised if you’re turned away at the gate when you show up late in the afternoon.
Is there a shuttle or bus to get out to Hippie Hollow?
There is no shuttle to the Splash party and Capital Metro, Austin’s public transportation provider, does not have service that reaches Hippie Hollow Park.
What are my other options? Rideshare? Taxi?
Uber and Lyft currently* do not offer service in Austin. Alternative rideshare options include Fasten, RideAustin and Fare … as well as taxis. We offer up this comparison on rideshare companies. While we do not make it a common practice to show a preference for one vendor over another, it should be noted that this writer has had his share of issues with shitty drivers from Fasten. While they are the cheapest of the rideshare options, this writer warns rider beware.
Estimated fare comparison based on ride from Oilcan Harry’s (211 W 4th St.) to Hippie Hollow. To be used for comparison purposes only. Your fare may vary depending on pick-up location, high-demand pricing and other factors. / Comparison details provided by RideGuru.com
* – Uber and Lyft have announced that they will start providing serving again in Austin, starting Monday, May 29, 2017.