Hints of Spring are showing up, and the inevitable Texas Summer is just around the bend. Once it gets warm enough, all you’ll want to do is swim! So bookmark this page and keep it as reference. Your family will love checking out the Best Swimming Holes in Austin.
Blue Hole in Wimberley
This perfect, natural spot is just 40 minutes south of Austin (map). The Blue Hole is on a 126-acre preservation of natural forests, grass fields, old cypress trees and wildflower grasses. Admission is $5 for ages 4 – 12 and Seniors, and $9 for ages 13 and up. You may bring chairs, blankets, toys, floaties, food and drinks. Dogs are not allowed. This gorgeous swimming hole will not open until May, for dates and hours, click here. If you would like to check out the spot before the season starts, make plans to attend the Concert Outdoor Series happening every Friday in April.
Blue Hole in Georgetown
Just a quick, 20-minute drive north of Austin will get you to the beautiful Blue Hole in Georgetown. This FREE swimming hole is probably one of our favorites. It’s easy to get to, it’s free and it’s usually not too crowded. It’s mostly pretty deep so you will want to bring some floats for the kids. People are not allowed to jump the cliffs surrounding the main part of the swimming hole, but it hasn’t stopped anyone from doing so anytime we went. The entrance to Blue Hole Park is at W. 2nd St. and Rock St. (map), from there you walk the trail (which is really a giant sidewalk) to Blue Hole. There are picnic tables, restrooms and shaded areas.
Jacob’s Well in Wimberley
Jacob’s Well is about a 45-minute drive from Austin (map) and is one of the most significant, natural geologic treasures in the Texas Hill Country. It is one of the longest underwater caves in Texas and is also an artesian spring. The well surges up thousands of gallons of water and acts as headwaters to Cypress Creek, which flows to the Blue Hole and the Blanco River. This is not a place to bring food and floaties to, as it is a protected and preserved wonder. But, you can swim in it! There are free, public tours every Saturday at 10 am in which you can learn more about the aquatic species in the area, hear stories about famous floods and scuba divers and experience the beauty. More info here.
Bull Creek District Park in Austin
Bull Creek District Park covers 48 acres in northwest Austin (map). The main entrance is off FM 2222 at the end of Lakewood Dr. you will see a parking lot. From there, it’s a short walk to the creek. A hike and bike trail runs alongside the creek and the whole thing is sort of an oasis among industrialization. You will literally be walking underneath a highway and be among some very gorgeous scenery. This park is a great one to take kids to and let them explore. There are lots of shallow places and lots of rocks to skip and throw. There are lagoon-like sections where kids can even slide down rocks that make a natural slide. We recommend hiking along until you and your family find their own perfect spot. The park is free and you can pack snacks and drinks – but don’t leave your trash!
McKinney Falls State Park in Austin
McKinney Falls State Park is IN Austin, located at 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, just 13 miles southeast of the State Capitol (map). There is lots to do at the park, from swimming, to camping, to hiking, to mountain biking, to fishing and more. The park is open every day and is $6 per day per adult, children 12 and under are free. You are welcome to camp as well, more info on that can be found here. There are lots of trails, lots of wide open spaces, and water that you can wade or jump in. It’s great for families!
Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs
The historic swimming pool, located just 40 minutes outside of downtown Austin in Dripping Springs (map), is actually a collapsed grotto which now sports a 50-foot waterfall and unique rock formations that encircle the pool. Visitors can choose to swim, shade themselves in the rock shelf located behind the waterfall, or explore the numerous hiking trails located in the park. Boasting numerous bird species including the Golden Cheek Warbler and cliff swallows as well as plenty of rare plant species, Hamilton Pool is the ideal place to take the kids on an exploratory hike and finish with a refreshing dip in the pool. Be sure to call before you visit (512-264-2740), sometimes they shut down swimming due to a high bacteria count, flooding or hazardous trail conditions. (Per new changes, reservations will be required to enter Hamilton Pool Preserve starting May 15, 2016 through September 30, 2016. Click here for details about making reservations.)
Krause Springs in Spicewood
Listed in the Natural Registration of Historical Places, Krause Springs is surely one of the most magical places to swim. Located 30 miles outside of Austin (map), Krause hosts over 34 small springs, a waterfall, a man-made wallowing pool, and a natural swimming pool so there are plenty of places for the little ones to get their toes wet. A rope swing and several small cliffs add to the excitement. If you are planning to stay the weekend there are plenty of camping areas and Opie’s BBQ is just around the corner. Admission for the day is $7 for ages 12 and up, $5 for ages 4 – 11, free for children under 4. Camping costs $14 for ages 12 and up, $6 for ages 4 – 11 and $14 per RV camp site.
Barton Springs in Austin
Located in Zilker Park, the 3-acre crystal clear natural spring stays a cool 68 degrees year round, making it ideal for the really hot days that we have come to dread so much. Barton Springs Pool (map) comes equipped with diving boards, a large shallow area, public restrooms, and several lifeguards daily. Admission is $1 for children ages 1 – 11 and seniors 62 and older, $2 for ages 12 – 17 and $3 for ages 18 – 61. There are also free hours every morning 5 – 8 am, and every night in the summer from 9 – 10 pm. Click here for updated open hours and admission prices. We highly recommend going at night to howl at the moon! Kids can even go hunting for the elusive Barton Springs Salamanders, an endangered species located only in Austin, or just take in the many species of natural wildlife found in the area including ducks and crawfish.
Deep Eddy Pool in Austin
Austin is also home to plenty of man made pools which allow public access including Deep Eddy Pool, located in Central Austin (map). The pool, which is fed from a natural spring, caters to kids with swimming lessons available as well as Splish Splash Movie Night where the staff plays family friendly movies on a big screen poolside. Admission is $1 for children ages 1 – 11 and seniors 62 and older, $2 for ages 12 – 17 and $3 for ages 18 – 61. Click here for updated open hours and admission prices.
Do you have a favorite swimming hole we didn’t mention? Let us know!