The 6 Best Springs in Texas with Nearby Camping

While many seek out cool rivers and lakes to escape the Texas heat, there’s something to be said about soaking in more temperature-comfortable water—like natural springs, heated by geothermal heat.

Some hot springs are too dangerous to enter, but the hot springs of Texas offer the opportunity to comfortably swim and soak year-round. We’ve gathered some of the most wonderous hot springs across the Lone Star State. Some may be hotter than others, but they all offer a memorable experience on a Texas camping adventure.

Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash

Barton Springs Pool

Austinites have been enjoying the rest and respite that Barton Springs Pool has to offer for decades, and yet, it’s attracted humans for over a thousand years. Today, the springs have been contained into a 3-acre pool that sits within 358 acres of Zilker Park. While it’s not the warmest with an average temperature of 68 to 70 degrees, it’s not uncommon to see folks swimming in the springs year-round.

Perhaps the biggest drawback is that there is a fee associated with visiting Barton Springs Pool. Granted, the fee goes toward lifeguards and maintaining the area for all to enjoy and is only applied from spring break through October 31. As any Texan will tell you, some winters are fairly mild which makes a swim in Barton Springs in December very possible.

How to get there

Barton Springs Pool is in Zilker Park which is less than a 10-minute drive from downtown Austin. Parking costs a fee on the weekend, holidays, and from March 1 through Labor Day. The South entrance parking lot at 1000 Azie Morton Road is the only lot available until 2025 when the North Parking Lot reopens. If you don’t have a car, you can take the 30 bus line and get off at the Barton Springs/Zilker stop.

Camping nearby

CampEZ in SxSAustinTX offers a 2-acre woodsy tent campground set along a creek 5 miles south of downtown.

NPS Photo

Langford Hot Springs

Big Bend National Park is home to one of the most popular hot springs in the nation—Langford Hot Springs. There are a number of natural thermal springs along the Rio Grande River called the Boquillas Hot Springs. Langford Hot Springs (which are sometimes called the Big Bend Hot Springs) is the most famous of these springs because it’s contained in an old stone foundation which was created when the site was home to a spa resort called Hot Springs. Today, visitors can enjoy the 105 degree springs and views of Mexico, a short distance away. Be mindful—locals have been known to go skinny dipping in Langford Hot Springs, day or night.

How to get there

After entering Big Bend National Park, find Hot Springs Road and drive down the 2-mile gravel road until you see the trailhead. From there, it’s a 0.5 mile hike to the springs.

Camping nearby

Big Bend National Park has backcountry campsites and four campgrounds, of which RV camping is available. Otherwise, you can find plenty of Hipcamps in the nearby town of Terlingua or within the lands that surround the park, like Heath Canyon Ranch

Larry D. Moore, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Krause Springs

Texas Hill Country is full of swimming destinations and Krause Springs is a favorite among travelers. Krause Springs is located on a 115-acre property and features 32 springs that feed into a natural and manmade pool resulting in clean and clear water that’s 68 degrees year-round. Unlike some swimming spots in Texas, Krause Springs isn’t affected or closed due to drought, though the property is closed from November 1 to February 15.

How to get there

If you’re driving from Austin, take Texas Highway 71 west until you cross the Pedernales River. After 7 more miles, turn right on Spur 191, right again at County Road 404, and you’ll see the gates for Krause Springs on the left.

Camping nearby

Krause Springs offers 24 RV sites and primitive camping which is first-come, first-served. Since Krause Springs offers day passes, you could stay nearby in one of the eco-cabins at this Magical Lakefront Retreat Property or set up your tent or RV at Double Rockin’ M Ranch.

Photo by Hipcamp Photographer Virginia Pitts at Old Herrera Ranch near Camp Hot Wells

Camp Hot Wells

Over 130 years ago, geothermically heated sulfuric water was discovered at a psychiatric facility in San Antonio. Noting the healing properties of such waters, the water was leased out so the first Hot Wells Hotel could be built, inviting folks for a soak and a stay. The likes of Charlie Chaplin, Porfirio Diaz, and Teddy Roosevelt visited the spa hotel well before it burned down. 

Back in 2019, the Hot Wells of Bexar County Historical Park opened Camp Hot Wells on the same site to revive the hot waters. The spring temperatures may vary throughout the day, but they remain warm and soothing throughout.

Anyone can schedule to book 1-hour soaks in one of the two private baths. Otherwise, you can stop by for a visit and do a free hot foot soak while enjoying a drink or a snack. The property will soon offer campsites and RV hookups.

How to get there

Camp Hot Wells sits 14 minutes south of downtown San Antonio, along the San Antonio River. It would be easy enough to drive and park on-site or order a rideshare to the springs since it’s within city limits. The San Antonio River Walk trail also goes alongside it, meaning you can walk, run, or bike there too.

Camping nearby

Yanawa Camp is a 2.4-acre RV Park that’s less than 15 minutes south of Camp Hot Wells, though if you want something slightly outside of the city, consider Old Herrera Ranch as it sits on the Medina River and has RV and tent sites. It’s also just a 15 to 20-minute drive to Camp Hot Wells.

Photo by Hipcamp Host America Bonnet at Red Feather near Balmorhea State Park

Balmorhea State Park

Humans and animals have been gathering at the San Solomon Springs for at least 11,000 years. Between 1935 and 1940, Texas State Parks built Balmorhea State Park around the springs. Today, the 72 to 76 degree springs gather into the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool.

The pool itself is 1.3 acres and up to 25 feet deep. More than 15 million gallons of water flow into the pool each day making it a destination for many who want to swim, or even scuba dive, in these West Texas springs.

How to get there

The springs are housed inside Balmorhea State Park, which is located 4 miles southwest of Balmorhea on State Highway 17. Parking is available right next to the spring-fed pool.

Camping nearby

Balmorhea State Park has 34 campsites with electricity and water, though they’re currently closed for renovations. Go 40 minutes south and you’ll find some great campgrounds in Fort Davis like Mountain View Lodge, Roy L.’s Land, and Red Feather.

Todd Dwyer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chinati Hot Springs

In Ruidoso, Texas, in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert are the Chinati Hot Springs. These hot springs were long known as having healing powers, especially to the indigenous people of the region, but unfortunately, the land was privatized and became private property. 

Now the only way to experience these hot springs is by booking a stay in one of the casitas at Chinati Hot Springs. The hot springs have been gathered into a pool which ranges from 85 to 95 degrees and a hot spring tub which has a temperature between 90 to 102 degrees.

How to get there

According to the Chinati Hot Springs website, if you use GPS on your phone, you’ll get lost. So whether you fly into Midland-Odessa or El Paso or drive from elsewhere, you’ll need to follow the property’s instructions which are provided on their website

Essentially, once you reach Ruidosa, you’ll have to drive another half hour on Hot Springs Road,  which is a gravel road that ends at Chinati Hot Springs.

Camping nearby

You must stay at Chinati Hot Springs if you want to experience the hot springs. No day passes are available. If you’re looking for a campsite the day after or before your visit to Chinati Hot Springs, you’ll find plenty of beautiful spots along the border such as Rancho Del Mapache.

How to leave it better at Texas hot springs

Hot springs are natural and beautiful treasures that we should take care of so that they can be enjoyed by others for years to come. We encourage you to always pick up your trash and follow the seven Leave No Trace Principles. This includes staying on paths that are marked to and from the hot spring and the designated parking lot.

Don’t forget to be respectful and mindful of other people visiting the hot springs by not playing loud music or splashing others, and always waiting your turn to (safely) jump off rocks into the water.

Check out these other water sites

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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