The Swimming Holes of Texas by Julie WernersbachNothing beats a natural swimming hole for cooling off on a scorching summer day in Texas. Cold, clear spring water, big old shade trees, and a quiet stretch of beach or lawn offer the perfect excuse to pack a cooler and head out with family and friends to the nearest natural oasis. Whether youre looking for a quick getaway or an unforgettable summer vacation, let The Swimming Holes of Texas be your guide.
Julie Wernersbach and Carolyn Tracy highlight one hundred natural swimming spots across the entire state. The book is organized by geographic regions, so you can quickly find local places to swim--or plan a trip to a more distant spot youd like to explore. Each swimming hole is illustrated with an inviting color photo and a description of what its like to swim there, as well as the sites history, ecology, and conservation. The authors include all the pertinent info about admission fees and hours, parking, and on-site amenities such as showers and restrooms. They also offer tips for planning your trips and lists of the swimming holes that are most welcoming to families and pets.
So when the temperature tops 100 and theres nothing but traffic in sight, take a detour down the backroads and swim, sunbathe, revel, and relax in the swimming holes of Texas.
15 Best Swimming Holes in Texas
In unbearably hot Central Texas, a unique underground ecosystem creates ice-cold springs that seem sent from the gods—including one otherworldly oasis protected by active security on a remote private ranch. I just had to get in. On the northern edge of Barton Springs, the water runs out of the sealed-off public pool and flushes into a finger that flows into Lady Bird Lake. While humans pay three dollars to daintily drop into the cold water and dry off afterwards, the outside of the northern edge has become a free escape for dogs who raucously pounce into the overflow from the pool, biting at the small rapids, dousing their owners in the seventy-degree water as they chase each other on an endless loop. One of the most vexing human traits is our ease to disregard the most vital things and people on the assumption they will always be there — dogs do better at savoring the moment.
1. Barton Springs Pool, Austin, TX
Everyone knows this, but often forgets. Until June, when the Texas heat starts its simmer, we begin the ritual of searching out cool water spots.
By Danno Wise. Although Texas is home to many water parks, locals and tourists still enjoy seeking out natural swimming holes to help beat the summer heat. If you prefer lakes, waterfalls, and hidden grottos over concrete pools and water slides, Texas has plenty of options for you, from a three-acre spring in the heart of Austin to a scuba-diving lake south of Dallas. Whether it's swimming, fishing, paddling, or tubing, most visitors to Garner find a way to get on or in the water. There are also 11 miles of scenic hiking trails for those who prefer to work up a sweat before diving in. The massive three-acre swimming hole—one of the state's most popular—is set in the heart of Austin's sprawling Zilker Park and is open year-round thanks to its mild degree water temperature. Krause Springs encompasses two large swimming holes with picturesque waterfalls and rope swings for the kids.
Once upon a time the pool was a simple, underground river, but at some point in the distant past, a dome above the river collapsed. The result? One hell of a swimming hole. The pool itself is fed by Hamilton Creek, which cascades over the limestone outcropping and into the pool some 50 feet below. Though the creek flow can be severely hampered by summer droughts, the waterfall never truly stops.
Don't have an account yet? Get the most out of your experience with a personalized all-access pass to everything local on events, music, restaurants, news and more. This summer we're taking a look at interesting, odd, historic and just plain worth it road trips in and around the Lone Star State. It's blistering hot outside and we're looking for any way to cool off. From lakes, rivers and spring-fed pools to the Gulf of Mexico — we've got the list for best water holes in Texas.