Texas is known for its scorching summers; a three to four-month span of the year where seat belts double as branding irons and ice creams can’t be consumed fast enough. Thankfully, though, as hot as Texas is at times, this sizzling state has more than its fair share of natural watering holes to cool off in.
So, should you find yourself in the Lone Star state when the mercury starts rising, think about finding respite at one (or more) of our favorite natural swimming holes in Texas.
Let’s start off with, perhaps, the Big Daddy of them: Hamilton Pool. It’s been in movies, it’s a frequent backdrop on postcards, it’s a staple stop for any Austenite—and all for good reason. Hamilton Creek washes over the crest of the 50-foot limestone sinkhole, creating a like-tall waterfall and frigid, shaded pool below. Bring the GoPro for those in-pool, under-waterfall shots…and don’t forget a towel and sunscreen, too.
As of recent, you can only access the pool via a reservation, made at least a day in advance; prices to enter the park will vary. Also, try carpooling to not only reduce your carbon footprint but to avoid paying multiple parking fees.
Book Camp near Hamilton Pool to sleep under a Southwest starry night…and only be a stone’s throw away from aforementionedoned watering hole.
While this 358-acre natural swimming hole is technically a “spring,” it’s by no means a hot one. The pool, which is located just three-ish miles from famous 6th street, keeps a fridge 68 degrees year round. Early mornings at Barton Springs are populated by swimmers doing to-and-fro laps, so, if you’re looking to solely float and chill, opt to go sometime after 10am. Yes, you’re more than welcome to do a cannonball off the diving board.
And relevant side note: Deep Eddy’s pool is yet another spring-fed pool, offering summertime respite just a hop-skip-and-jump from its big sister, Barton Springs Pool.
Depending on the season, you may need to pay up to $5 (per person) to get in; Deep Eddy Pool usually boasts the same rates at Barton Springs Pool, just as a reminder.
Book CampEZ in SxSAustin to find yourself within walking distance of both Downtown and Barton Springs Pool.
Nestled a small mile-long stretch of the Blanco River, the Banks of Blanco offers the picturesque place to wade and relax. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the shallow, low-key wading pool next to Falls Dam. However, if you’re feeling more adventures that day, tube, canoe, and SUP rentals are available at the nearly Blanco State Park store; make give them back by 4pm.
$5 gets you in the park. But, due to the always changing water levels of the Blanco River, it’s wise to call before making the trek out.
Book Buck Moon Tiny House for easy access to Blanco State Park and all it’s water wonders.
A year-round 72-degree, spring-fed pool…in the middle of the desert? We’re already packing our bags, and heading 60 miles west of Fort Stockton to Balmorhea State Park. Not only is this oasis huge—the largest spring-fed pool in the world, in fact—but it’s also home to a litany of critters, including one of the rarest freshwater fish around.
Admission is $7, which, when facing 100-plus degree west Texas weather, is worth every penny.
Book Balmorhea Campground to make trekking toward the nearby pool a short affair.
Northwest Wimberley, this cavernous, deep-blue natural pool still remains somewhat of an uncrowded jewel…despite it’s Instagram fame. You’d be hard pressed to find more than, say, twenty or so people hugging the banks on even triple-digit August days. There’ plenty of shade underneath the tall oaks to lay out a blanket and catch up on your reading list, with or without a packed picnic.
A word to the wise: Don’t be tempted to free drive, stick to swimming. (Even talented scuba divers—who have years, in some cases decades of experience—don’t take ascents down the 120-foot underwater drop lightly.
Expect to drop around $9 to get into the park, and don’t forget to wear some good, comfy shoes. Jacob’s Well is a mile-ish trek from the entrance.
Book Little Haven for an unforgettable outdoor adventure…that just so happens to be near Jacob’s Well.
Devil’s Waterhole in Inks Lake State Park is anything but hellacious; it’s, to the contrary, a heaven-sent gift. Drought conditions don’t’ affect this angelic retreat, and the shouldering cliffs are just high enough to give you a shot of adrenaline before plunging into the cool water below.
Aside from the swimming hole, there’s plenty to do in the park before or after you cool off. And, for $6, it’s money well spent.
Book Aat the Ranch for jaw-dropping views of the rocky, desert landscape that exists in-and-around the waterhole.
While you’re making your way through some of the states best watering holes, don’t forget to check out some of our favorite Hipcamps in Texas.
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