The Best Texas Natural Swimming Holes You Can Camp Near

Texas is known for many things—especially its hot temperatures. Thank goodness the land is teeming with swimming holes.

There’s plenty of room for debate when considering what a swimming hole is, though we tend to take a broader explanation—an area where people can gather to swim in clear, calm, and beautiful waters. And there’s nothing better than spending a few hours or a full day swimming in the cool, spring-fed swimming holes of Texas. 

Check out our favorite natural swimming holes in the Lone Star State and add them to your camping trip itinerary. 

P.S. If you’re looking for other great swim spots like Barton Springs or Krause Springs, read through our guide of the best Texas springs.

Beautiful natural swimming holes near Austin

Jacob’s Well. Photo by Outdoor Craziness, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jacob’s Well Natural Area, Wimberley

How to access: Prepare for a 15-minute hike from the parking lot. Online reservations are required and there’s a $9 swimming fee.

What to know: In Wimberly, Texas, just a short drive from Austin, is a wonderous swimming hole that draws people for its natural beauty. Called Jacob’s Well, it has a temperature of 68 degrees, and offers a cool, but not too cold, respite from the Texas heat. 

Over the years, Jacob’s Well has become increasingly popular, requiring some regulations to protect the natural ecosystem. For instance, the swimming hole isn’t open to the public for swimming from October 1 to April 30. Even when it is open, you’ll have to make a reservation to visit and pay a fee.

Where to camp nearby:

Blue Hole Regional Park, Wimberley

How to access: Reservations are required from May 1 through Labor Day and weekends in September. It’s $12 for adults and $6 for children to enter. Parking is a short stroll from the swimming hole. 

What to know: Not too far from Jacob’s Well is the Blue Hole Regional Park, which houses the stunning Blue Hole. The water’s blue hue is a result of the swimming area being fed by the clear water of Cypress Creek. Shaded by cypress trees on all sides, the Blue Hole is one of the most stunning swimming holes in the state and has a temperature of 75 degrees year-round. 

Where to camp nearby:

  • Our Heritage and Legacy on 3 Acres: Campers with RVs or tents can enjoy 3 acres and access to a private swimming hole on the Blanco River. 
  • Dot’s Spots: Choose between two tent sites, a RV site, or rent a geodesic dome for a unique experience. 
  • Twisted Oaks: Beautiful tree-filled property to pitch a tent or hook up an RV, or skip the hassle and stay in the on-site vintage airstream.
Hamilton Pool Preserve. Photo by Jaco Batha

Hamilton Pool Preserve, Travis County

How to access: You have to make a reservation to visit this Texas swimming hole and can only visit in your allotted time slot. It’s better to pay the $12 per car fee online beforehand (otherwise you can attempt to buy a day pass on-site, but make sure you have $8 cash on hand). Once you park, you’ll have a quarter mile hike on a steep, narrow, and rugged path that has uneven steps. It’s about 30 minutes to hike to the pool and back to the parking lot. 

What to know: It’s hard to determine which swimming hole in Texas is the most beautiful, and yet, we know that Hamilton Pool, located not far from Austin, is high up on most people’s list. This clear blue swimming hole sits in a collapsed grotto and canyon and even has a waterfall—all of which results in a magical scene. The water temperature does change depending on the weather and can drop well below 50 degrees in the winter and spring. Take note that Hamilton Pool is occasionally shut down due to bacteria and rainfall levels.

Where to camp nearby:

Photo by Hipcamper Jeremy Pawlowski at Inks Lake State Park

Devil’s Water Hole, Inks Lake State Park

How to access: Adults pay $12 to enter Inks Lake State Park. Children under 12 can access the park for free. Park just a short hike from the Devil’s Water Hole (sometimes spelled as Devil’s Waterhole) or paddle across any access point on the lake. 

What to know: Despite its name, Devil’s Water Hole is a lovely Hill Country swimming hole in Inks Lake State Park. This swimming hole is actually part of Inks Lake, but slightly cordoned off by natural rock formations. In fact, the large rocks are really the calling card of this swimming hole, drawing people to climb or bask in the sun. Some even jump off a granite overhang for some thrills. With a location in Burnet, Texas, it’s only an hour and a half drive from downtown Austin.

Where to camp nearby:

  • G-Unickes: Peaceful spot for RVs and tents next to a river where you can paddle board or kayak. 
  • Tiny Casita by the Lake: Up to four folks can enjoy this charming casita next to Lake Buchanan.
  • Valentine Lakeside RV Camp: A vintage RV camp with on-site kayak, canoe, and swim mat rentals to enjoy on Lake LBJ.

Beautiful swimming holes near Waco

Photo by Hipcamper Stephanie Hanson

Tonkawa Falls City Park, Crawford

How to access: It’s a $10 fee (cash only) per car to park and access Tonkawa Falls. The parking area is near the football stadium, about a 5-minute walk away. 

What to know: Unlike others on this list, Tonkawa Falls isn’t in Texas Hill Country. Just outside of Waco in Crawford, Texas, Tonkawa Falls can be found in a 35-acre park, the highlight of which is a clear swimming hole with natural limestone cliffs and a 15-foot waterfall. While many people jump from the cliffs or the waterfalls, there’s no lifeguard so be careful. Don’t forget to look for the petroglyphs left behind by the Tonkawa nation of which the park is named after.

Where to camp nearby:

Hidden natural swimming holes near San Antonio

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Brian Kinney at Utopia Oaks RV Park & Camping

The Quince at Camp Wood

How to access: The Quince isn’t so easy to find, though according to online reviews, it’s near River Road off Texas State Highway 55. 

What to know: Camp Wood, Texas, has a free swimming hole with clear turquoise waters called The Quince. The name comes from the average water depth of the swimming hole—15 feet or quince in Spanish. Look for a deep plunge area below some short bluffs. 

If you want to explore a nearby swimming hole after your visit to The Quince, drive 3.6 miles south and jump into the waters behind the Lake Nueces Dam. It costs a small fee to visit this swimming area, but the large boulders that jut from the turquoise waters create a pretty sight.

Where to camp nearby:

Utopia Park, Utopia

How to access: You’ll have to pay $10 per person to access this park. 

What to know: Jump from a rope swing into the calm and cooling waters of a low-key swimming hole at Utopia Park. Located about an hour and a half west of San Antonio, this swimming hole usually draws locals or those camping at the nearby campground. The cypress trees lining the crystal clear waters creates a beautiful scene. If the rope swing isn’t of interest, check out the small waterfall dam where you can jump into the water.

Where to camp nearby:

Concan Swimming Hole

How to access: Concan Swimming Hole is first-come first-serve. The fee is $50 per car with a four person minimum. It costs $10 per person or $5 per child for each subsequent person. Children under four enter for free. 

How to access: We’re suckers for underrated swimming holes, like the Concan Swimming Hole. This swimming hole opens Memorial Day weekend and closes Labor Day, but in between, you’ll find tons of people swimming in this spot on the Frio River. It’s a picturesque spot with large boulders and rocks that visitors like to jump off. This area fills up quickly so arrive early. 

The Frio River, which the Concan Swimming Hole is located, has lots of other swimming spots—many of which cost a fee for parking or access. They’re good alternatives in case the Concan Swimming Hole fills up and you’re looking for another cool swimming hole to spend the day.  

Where to camp nearby:

Photo by Hipcamper Stephanie Hanson

How to leave it better at Texas swimming holes

Overcrowding is a real concern at Texas swimming holes—let’s keep these places beautiful and better than we found them. 

When visiting a Texas swimming hole, respect the space of other visitors, especially in cue for jumping off rocks or splashing in the water. Leave your speakers at home and pick up after yourself. Always remember to follow the seven Leave No Trace principles.

Cool off this summer

Alex Temblador is an award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in the likes of National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Outside Magazine, Texas Highways, among many others. She is also an award-winning author of three books: Half Outlaw, Secrets of the Casa Rosada, and Writing an Identity Not Your Own.

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