Summer is around the corner, and there’s no better way to spend it than by heading to one of the state’s many swimming holes. From remote spots that house endangered species to bustling tubing areas, each offers a unique experience. Be sure to consult the websites of each spot before you go—each has its own rules and regulations, and some spots close during certain times of the week or year to let the land rejuvenate. From Hill Country to west Texas, these are seven of the most unique swimming spots in the state.
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Hamilton Pool Preserve – Dripping Springs
This may be the most beloved swimming hole in Texas. Just mention it in conversation and those who’ve been there will talk about it like a favorite child—and with good reason. Located 30 miles from Austin, the combination of a gorgeous 50-foot waterfall, shimmering jade green water, ancient limestone rock formations, and lush surrounding vegetation make for a relaxing day communing with nature. It gets crowded and wait times can be an hour or more—but it’s worth it.
Krause Springs – Spicewood
Thirty miles west of Austin is Krause Springs. Boasting a whopping 32 springs on the property, this privately-owned oasis is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are actually two separate swimming holes—one man-made and one natural. Each is stunning. And there’s plenty else to do here: stroll through the butterfly gardens, listen to a symphony of wind chimes, or bring a tent and camp for the night.
Balmorhea State Park – Toyahvale
A quintessential oasis, this remote swimming spot is the largest spring-fed pool in the world. It’s a collaboration between man and Mother Nature: while the pool does have concrete borders, the bottom is au naturel, housing species like the endangered Comanche Springs pubfish and the Pecos gambrusia. Because of its remote location in west Texas, it’s not as crowded as some of the swimming spots in the Hill Country. Water temperatures range from 72–76 degrees and the depth can reach up to 30 feet in some spots, making it a popular spot for scuba divers as well as those just looking for some fun in the sun.
City Tube Chute – New Braunfels
This is a lively swimming hole, but the main attraction is the fast-moving water chute that diverts visitors around the dam and into the crystal-clear waters of the Comal River. Then, it’s all about the tubing, which is a two to three hour, relaxing float. The bottom is shallow in places, so wear river shoes and protect your bottom! Bring some friends and a cooler—this is a fun, social spot where you’re sure to make a few new friends.
Blue Hole Regional Park – Wimberley
When this Texas treasure was threatened by development, citizens took action to save it. Raising more than three million dollars in two years, Friends of the Blue Hole was set up as a nonprofit organization to protect the land for generations to come. Kids love the ladders and rope swings hung from ancient trees, and the true swimming hole feel—complete with soft, mossy banks—will transport you back to childhood. A fire pit, bathhouse, picnic areas, community pavilion, playscape, basketball court, sand volleyball court, an amphitheater, and 3.5 miles of wooded trails, complete the park experience. Plan to bring a picnic and stay all day.
Jacob’s Well – Wimberley
About an hour southwest of Austin is Jacob’s Well, a popular spot for adrenaline junkies. An artesian spring, it is fed by the Trinity Aquifer and forms the headwaters of Cypress Creek. It’s only about 13 feet wide at the top, but depths can reach more than 100 feet and there are narrow underground caves beneath the surface, making it a popular spot for scuba divers as well.
Barton Springs Pool – Austin
Open for year-round enjoyment, Barton Springs is a popular gathering spot for Austin residents due to its large size (three acres). Nevertheless, it still gets crowded during the height of summer. The Springs’ claim to fame is that Robert Redford learned to swim here when he was five years old visiting family in Austin. The grassy shores are perfect for sunbathing, and mature trees provide a shady respite or picnic spot. As with several other Texas swimming holes, man and beast must coexist in these waters: this is home to the endangered Barton Springs Salamander, which only lives in these springs and a few surrounding areas.