This time last year was the beginning of a record-busting heat wave that gripped the state, with several cities experiencing fifty-plus days of consecutive 100-plus temperatures and an average summer temperature of 86.7 degrees in 2011. Spring rains cooled things off, but the first day of summer is still approaching and with it expect above-average temperatures, according to John Nielsen-Gammon, the state’s climatologist. While some people flee the oppressive heat and vacation in cooler climates in the North, there are ways to stay in state and keep cool.
Lake Austin Spa Resort (1705 South Quinlan Park Road, Austin, 512/372-7300, lakeaustin.com, three nights from $1,720/person), located 25 miles from the city’s downtown, faces a tree-covered cliff, nature’s version of vertical landscaping, which plunges into Lake Austin. It’s a convenient playground for cool water activities such as paddle-boarding, kayaking, or, if you’re less aerobically inclined, simply go swimming. Eat light meals prepared by chef Stéphane Beaucamp, who is currently using home grown summer vegetables such as squash, banana peppers, basil and heirloom tomatoes in refreshing dishes like salmon nicoise salad and grilled zucchini caprese sandwiches. Granite gravel pathways lined with rosemary, lavender and Mountain Laurel lead to the spa, where guests can receive treatments such as the skin quencher aloe body wrap, which hydrates and soothes sunburns.
Even the most finicky, temperamental teenager will be satisfied by one of the many activities at La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa (600 La Torretta Boulevard,