Texas’ Top Swimming Holes
Central Texas’ landscape is rich in beauty. From the trees, limestone cliffs and hills, to the many oases of refreshing springs and rivers. These bodies of water are what make this area of Texas so magical. Here are a few of Central Texas’ top swimming holes (within driving distance) to take a dip in and cool off with this summer.
Photography Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (unless noted)
One of Texas’ best kept secrets is Krause Springs. Privately owned by the Krause family, the springs are located in a 115-acre property in Spicewood, about 30 miles outside of Austin. There are 32 springs located on the property, with several of those springs feeding into both a man-made and natural pool that flows into Lake Travis. The swimming will always be great because of the high water levels and reasonable water temperature year-round. Guests can also enjoy the butterfly gardens while listening to the wind chimes and the fountains during their visit.
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Just west of Austin, Hamilton Pool Preserve is a picturesque setting. A beautiful waterfall and limestone surrounding, this is an easy day trip for a swim with a view. The pool formed when the dome of an underground river buckled due to erosion over time. The deepest part measures 25 feet, but there are more shallow spots as well as a sandy beach area. Reservations must be made in advance.
Rio Vista Park
You have options of what to fill your day with while visiting Rio Vista Park. Whether you’re looking to tube, white water raft, kayak or to just enjoy a swim upstream, this swimming hole is worth the short trip from Austin. The park also provides other amenities such as restrooms, hike and bike trails, ball courts and picnic areas.
Blanco State Park
With its lushness and scenic river, Blanco State Park is the perfect summer weekend getaway. Since the water comes from the Blanco River, you can almost always bank on the water being around 70 degrees. Although it’s great for just a swim, tubes and canoes are available to rent for visitors looking for a little more adventure.
The Blue Hole is very well-loved and cared for by its community — so much so that when developers earmarked the land for residential housing, the community banded together to save it. Their efforts earned enough fundraising money to purchase the land for community use. Open year-round, it’s now well-loved by more than just the community. The Blue Hole is a popular destination for water-lovers and is fed by the springs of the San Gabriel River. The Cypress trees provide a beautiful landscape and plenty of shade. They also have rope swings attached to them for extra water fun.
Photo by: Travis Perkins
Located in Wimberley, just south of Austin, Jacob’s Well is as much of a natural landmark as it is a swimming hole. The well is the end of an underground, natural spring, making the water crisp and clear all year-round. Be sure to plan ahead for this swim though — reservations for two hours of swimming must be made in advance. Also, climbing and jumping is done at your own risk.
Part of the lake and waterways in Inks Lake State Park, the Devil’s Waterhole is one of Texas’ best spots for all water activities. The lake itself hosts paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, scuba divers, water skiers and anglers, as well as a no-wake zone for swimmers. There are also plenty of pools, a fall, rocks that act as launch pads for the water below and campsites nearby for a perfect weekend getaway.
Barton Springs Pool
Arguably one of Texas’ most famous swimming holes, Barton Springs makes this list for a reason. There is just something special about Barton Springs that causes visitors and locals to flock to the natural spring-fed lake. It stretches a total of three acres, and the water temperature stays 68 degrees year-round. It is also open year-round. It’s local and convenient and a great spot for large groups to hang on a warm summer afternoon.
Photo by: Lars Plougmann
Garner State Park
Just about an hour and a half from San Antonio, Garner State Park is one of Texas’ most popular state parks, with the Frio River running right through it. This spot is not only great for tubing and swimming, it also is great for camping. There is also a pavilion with a jukebox that gets visitors two-stepping and line dancing. Just as the name implies, the Frio River is typically chilly — though the cold is quite refreshing in the middle of the summer.
Pedernales Falls State Park
Just a short hour drive from Austin, you can enjoy a quiet afternoon in Johnson City along the Pedernales River. Although you can’t swim or wade in the actual falls area, there is swimming along the rest of the river. This spot is great for those seeking more of a quiet afternoon spent in the water rather than a social one.