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 (that was updated in May 2017), 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, free for children 3 and under. You may bring chairs, blankets, toys, floaties, food and drinks. Dogs are not allowed. It is open through Labor Day from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. You can also call 512-660-9111 to confirm that the park is open for swimming, following a big rain. Please take note that the swim area is very popular during the summer season and may be closed when it reaches capacity, so your best bet is to go early. Click here for more info.
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. For more information, please call (512) 930-3595.
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 is no fee required for parking or to visit the nature preserve, but reservations are offered for those wanting to swim. Adults $9; Hays County residents, children ages 5-12, seniors (60+), service members/veterans are $5; and children ages 4 and under FREE (payments made online here in the reservation system). Open from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. through the summer months. 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! *Click here for our detailed review of visiting Bull Creek with the family.
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! *Click here to read our detailed review of visiting McKinney Falls with kids.
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. Take note that Hamilton Pool Preserve does NOT usually allow swimming after heavy rains and the threat of high bacteria, so you should always call their info line at 512-264-2740 to check first. You’re also required to make a reservation to visit Hamilton Pool. You can make your reservations online for a particular date and choose from the following time periods: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., or 2 – 6 p.m. You’ll pay online for your reservation fee ($10), and pay for your entrance fee ($15) with cash or check when you arrive at the preserve. For more info, click here.
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. Open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Adults $8 (12+), children 4-11 years old $5, free for children under 4 (cash only). Additional cost for overnight camping. Click here to read a big list of FAQs before you go.
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. Call the Barton Springs Pool hotline at 512-867-3080 for current information, as the pool frequently closes for an extended period of time following a big rain. Click here for updates. The pool is closed to the public from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. every Thursday to allow for cleaning. Swim at your own risk (no fees charged) from 5-8 a.m. and 9-10 p.m. daily. Fees are required at the gate from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fees for adult residents are $3, 12-17 years old $2, seniors (62 & older) and 1-11 years old $1, under one year & 80+ are FREE. Fees for non-Austin residents are: adults $8, 12-17 years old as well as seniors (62 & older) $4, kids 1-11 years old $3. Parking is $5 on weekends, holidays and special events. 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 Splash Movie Nights where the staff plays family friendly movies on a big screen poolside. Open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. during the week and 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekends for recreational swimming. Fees for adult residents are $3, 12-17 years old $2, seniors (62 & older) and 1-11 years old $1, under one year & 80+ are FREE. Fees for non-Austin residents are: adults $8, 12-17 years old as well as seniors (62 & older) $4, kids 1-11 years old $3. Click here for updates.
Do you have a favorite swimming hole we didn’t mention? Let us know!