The Texan heat and swimming holes go together. What better way to deal with high temperatures than cool off in natural pools? There’s also plenty to go around, as you might expect.
Texas has everything from family-friendly splash parks to pristine, sandy beaches and everything in between. These man-made and natural wonders are enjoyable for the entire family to discover. They’re the best way to beat the summer heat; all you need is a swimsuit and a towel.
These are Texas’ best swimming holes.
Barton Springs Pool
This 1,000 ft long swimming hole is located in Zilker Park in Austin. The water is spring-fed, and the temperature stays at 68 degrees all year. It’s popular during the summer, and its size is ideal for swimming laps.
Its popularity stems from its location, and visitor numbers have increased over the years, but the lake and surrounding grassy banks provide plenty of space. While it lacks the romantic backcountry landscape, it is clean and well-managed, with lifeguards on duty year-round, beginning at 8 a.m. The pool has a colorful history, with its most notable claim to fame being the location where Robert Redford learned to swim.
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Hamilton Pool is unrivaled. It’s so beautiful that you’d be forgiven for thinking the photos weren’t real. The water was once underground, but the ceiling collapsed many eons ago, leaving the pool half-covered by a dome roof.
Water cascades over this 50-foot-high partial dome roof, supplying the pool and producing a spectacular fall. It’s an out-of-this-world experience. This swimming hole is located just outside Austin in Travis County, beneath a 50-foot waterfall.
The collapse also provided large limestone slabs at the water’s edge, which are ideal for sunbathing. You can’t overstate the natural beauty here, which is in high demand, so reservations are required from March to October and on Saturdays, Sundays, and official Travis County holidays (from November to February). Hiking is also possible in the area, and guided tours are available on Saturdays.
This swimming hole and its 32 natural springs are located around 30 miles outside Austin in a campground. A crashing waterfall surrounds the swimming hole, and some springs flow into an on-site artificial pool.
Hike the modest canyon or dip in Inks Lake State Park’s pool. You can try exploring scenic waterfalls upstream of the lake when Valley Spring Creek is flowing. The park is open all year and offers a variety of cabins and campsites for overnight stays.
This artesian spring serves as an underwater cave system entrance, but even so, only researchers are permitted to cave dive here. The swimming hole, on its own, is still a natural wonder, surrounded by limestone cliffs and vegetation. It is located in Wimberley and is open for swimming from May to September.
The hole is small, only 12 feet across, but nature has carefully crafted it to generate a deep (35-foot) splash point for those brave enough to jump from the above rocks. The water is crystal clear and perfectly reflects your intended landing zone.
If you prefer to observe this daredevil behavior, the shallows and shade provided by the nearby trees will cool you down. The cave attracts divers who want to explore the cave further than the entrance, but only those who are experienced and have the proper equipment and training should consider what lies beyond.
Because of the popularity and size of Jacobs Well, please make a reservation in advance to ensure your visit.
Blanco State Park
The main swimming area runs alongside a dam, creating a large lagoon and waterfall ideal for relaxing and swimming. You can float down the river or relax in the more tranquil man-made pool.
Swimming Hole at Neal’s Lodge
This section of the Frio River, located about 75 miles from San Antonio in the town of Concan, is popular for relaxing and floating in spring-fed water. You can spend the night at Neal’s Lodge in cabins or on a campsite. And don’t forget to ride the massive river slide before you leave!
Balmorhea State Park
Balmorhea State Park, located about 60 miles west of Fort Stockton, is home to the world’s largest spring-fed pool and among the best beaches close to Austin. Every day, over 15 million gallons of fresh water from the San Solomon Springs stream through the pool, keeping the temperature between 72 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit. The well-kept and well-manicured cooling-off oasis is also a sanctuary to fish and turtles and draws scuba divers and those who want to splash and relax.
The surprise of cold water feels better in the middle of Big Bend’s warm, sunny climate. At Balmorhea State Park, take a refreshing dip in the world’s biggest spring-fed swimming pool, or use scuba gear to discover the pool’s depths.
Campbell’s Hole is an immaculate oasis perfect for beating the heat on a summer day. It is much less congested than the more mainstream swimming holes on Barton Creek. Because admission is free, you can return throughout the season to soak up some rays while admiring the beautiful Hill Country surroundings. Campbell’s Hole is kid- and pet-friendly, with towering cliffs and lush greenery on either side.
The water is cool, crisp, and oh-so-refreshing, and it’s so clear that you can see to the bottom. The natural pool has a sandbar for sunbathing and picnicking, and families frequently enjoy a packed lunch between swims.
Because there is so much shade, it isn’t as hot as other swimming holes in the area that are more susceptible to the elements. Like the rest of Barton Creek, Campbell’s Hole is filled with rocks that produce tiny waterfalls as the stream flows through and around them.
Some people enjoy cliff jumping here, but we recommend against it given the abundance of rocks, most of which are underwater and unnoticeable from above. There’s also a rope swing upstream from the primary swimming area and plenty of rugged hiking opportunities.
Campbell’s Hole is a must-see summer destination both in the water and on land. You’ll also come across several interesting rock formations that are a lot of fun to explore. Even the tiniest adventurers may be able to fit inside for a fantastic game of hide-and-seek!