The Texas Hill Country is home to some of Texas’ most legendary swimming holes. Most are in or within a short driving distance from Austin. Once sleepy private utopias frequented by knowledgeable locals, many of these watering holes now have big crowds. Here are our Best Austin Swimming Holes……
One of Austin’s Crown Jewels, Barton Springs Pool lies within the 358 acres of Zilker Park. The 3 acre pool is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68-70 degrees. Barton Springs attracts a diverse crowd of people and has seen record setting numbers of visitors nearing 800,000 in recent years. Depths of the pool range from 0’ to 18’ with surrounding grassy areas for patrons to lounge upon. Adjacent to the pool bathhouse is Splash!, an educational exhibit were patrons can learn about the history and biology of Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer which feeds it.
Deep Eddy is the oldest swimming pool in Texas and features a bathhouse built during the Depression era by the Works Progress Administration. The pool began as a swimming hole in the Colorado River, became a resort in the 1920s, and is today a popular swimming pool operated by the City of Austin. Cold springs rose from the river banks and people swam in the river where a large boulder formed an eddy. Deep Eddy Pool is popular with adult recreational swimmers for its lap swimming pool and with children for its large wading pool. The pool is fed with clear, cold water from a hand-dug 35-foot (11 m) well, and is not chlorinated. Water temperature varies between 66 and 75 °F (20 and 25 °C).
Rio Vista Park is a long-time San Marcos hot-spot to beat the heat. Less than a mile off I-35 it’s a great place to put your kayak in and paddle upstream or just swim in the deep watering hole. The Park’s jewel is Rio Vista Dam Falls, a play area for tubers, kayakers, SUP boarders and everyone else. It’s not uncommon to see folks surfing the rapids and sunbathers along the river banks. Bring your own tube or rent one from Lions Club up stream at City Park.
The Lion’s Club rents tubes up river (at City Park) and your float ends here, but you can shoot the dam rapids all day, before taking their shuttle back to your car. Canoe, kayak and SUP (stand up paddleboard) rentals are also available.
One of Austin’s most famous and scenic watering holes, Hamilton Pool is just a short 45 minute drive from Austin (Dripping Springs). This long-time locals secret (now not so secret) is a collapsed grotto with amazing Caribbean blue-green water. Hamilton Creek spills out over limestone outcroppings to create the 50 foot waterfall. The pool’s water level stays pretty constant, even during periods of drought. Hamilton Pool Preserve also has numerous hiking trails Reservations are required to enter Hamilton Pool Preserve during peak summer months, May-September.
Krause Springs is an iconic camping & swimming site. The 115 acre property has been privately owned by the Krause Family for over 50 years. There are 32 springs on the property, and several feed the man-made pool and the natural pool which flows into Lake Travis. It’s a refreshing treat to swim in the Springs during the hot summers of Texas! If camping is in your plans, there is primitive tent camping as well as 24 RV sites with water and electricity available. Guests are also welcome to relax and to stroll through the Butterfly Gardens; take time to listen to the music of the wind chimes and the fountains during your visit!
The artesian spring, known as Jacob’s Well, is the head waters to Cypress Creek. It’s one of the most beautiful Central Texas swimming holes. The “Well” is a giant deep aquamarine pool which is the opening of the spring. Year round the water temperature is a constant 68 degrees. The cave system below the well hole is 140 feet deep at its lowest point and almost a mile in length! Restoration efforts are constantly under way to improve and enhance the delicate ecosystem here. Swimming is seasonally permitted; May 1st through October 1st.
Blue Hole is one of the best loved natural swimming holes in Texas. Located in Wimberley, it is surrounded by 126 acres of natural forests and native grass fields. Legendary rope swings, beautiful aquamarine clear water, soft green picnicking grass. A unique spot almost hidden in the center of Wimberley, the Blue Hole is lined by old growth cypress trees that have survived floods, milling, and settlers’ needs for building materials. Reservation are strongly suggested in the spring and summer months.