The Austin Summer Survival Guide, and Not the One You Would Think…

This is not your average summer survival guide. I am not here to talk about Float Fest or Amy’s Ice Cream. While both are great summer staples, the purpose of this survival guide is to provide our community with a list of resources that will make sure everyone gets the best out of their summer vacation.


Remember that you can call 2-1-1 24/7 for community information and resources. Connect with a compassionate call specialist, like Arnoldo who has been on staff for more than six years.


“2-1-1 is the most effective way of getting resources out into the community.” Arnoldo, 2-1-1 Call Specialist said. “It is a gathering of many people, many facets, that create one big jewel.”



From breakfast to lunch to after-school snack, many kids in Austin rely on school meal programs. Often times the meals they are fed at school, are the only thing they will eat all day. According to Feeding America and the Community Advancement Network Dashboard for Travis County, 25 percent of children in Travis County are food insecure. That means more than 63,000 kids in Austin often go hungry when school is out.



Thankfully, through the Summer Food Service Program, Austin ISD will continue to serve FREE breakfast and lunch to local children and teens ages 18 and younger. Your child can get FREE meals even if they don’t attend AISD, regardless of economic status. No registration or identification is required. 


To access FREE summer meals and food assistance programs:



No one can deny that Texas Summers are some of the most brutal in the county. Between dehydration and sun over-exposure, summer heat does not discriminate. Thankfully there is plenty cost-effective and FREE ways to keep you and yours cool during the next blistering three months.


Austin has an extensive list of splash pads throughout the community, and great news, they are all FREE. Visit the Austin Area Splash Pad interactive map to find the closest place to cool down near you. The Austin Parks and Recreation website also has information about all local cooldown sites which includes seven municipal pools, 28 neighborhood pools, three wading pools and Barton Springs Pool.


Lastly, if you need heat relief you can request a fan from Family Eldercare. Request more information or see if you meet the eligibility requirements here. There are several resources for heat relief, if you can’t find what you need call 2-1-1 and select option one to speak with a United Way Call Specialist.

Additional resources:

  • Central Air Conditioning Repair: According to Family Eldercare the Urban League is able to help with central air conditioning repair. You can also call 512-478-7176 ext. 212
  • AC Window Unit Repair: If you are eligible for the Hans on Housing program through the Interfaith Action of Central Texas they will assist you. Click the link or call 512-386-9145.



School may be out, but kids still need safe and stimulating places to play and learn. If you’re struggling to come up with economical ways to entertain your children this summer, look no further. We have resources for you.


2-1-1 has information about a variety of free and low-cost summer camps around the city. While some of the free or low-cost camp registration deadlines have passed, but call anyway. 2-1-1 still has information about camps where financial assistance is available.  


You can visit the Free Fun in Austin website for a list of FREE and local events that are fun for the whole family. Admission is by donation, with a suggestion of just $1, at Thinkery’s Community Nights every Wednesday from 4 – 8 p.m. They even have a bilingual story time at 6 p.m. Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp is another great way to entertain your kid on a budget. With a choose your own ticket price feature you can take your children to the movies for less than $5.


And finally, for those rare days when it’s not hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk, participate in Austin Park and Recreation’s Summer Playground Program. Summer Playgrounds is a free drop-in program for children to participate in fun, supervised, outdoor activities during the summer months. Visit the Summer Playground website for program dates, registration and a list of activities.



You can also sign up form Bright By Text here or text SMARTATX to 274448. Bright by Text is a text messaging service that provides parents and caregivers with information about local events and resources.

We want you and your family to stay fed, cool and active this summer. For questions about additional summer resources please call 2-1-1 and a compassionate call specialist, like Arnoldo, will connect you to the support you need to stay healthy and happy.


Resources: Bilingual Summer Parent Information Card