Thursday, May 2, 2019

12 Best Swimming Holes in Texas Hill Country

Come June, the summer temperatures become almost unbearable unless you have lined up fun activities to beat the heat. One such activity is a dip in the local swimming holes. Here are the 12 best swimming holes for you to explore in the Texas Hill Country:

swimmers floating in front of the waterfall

1. Hamilton Pool – Austin

Located about 23 miles west of Austin, off Highway 71, the Hamilton Pool is the ideal summer swimming spot both for Austin residents and visitors. Adding to the esteemed view is a jade green pool with a 50-foot waterfall.

The pool was formed thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion. So besides an ideal swimming experience, you can be sure of some pretty breathtaking views.

crowds of people in the water and along the riverbank

2. Barton Springs – Zilker Park, Austin

The actual pool measures about 3.5 miles and gets its waters from underground springs. With water temperatures averaging 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit, Barton Springs is a great spot for swimming all year round.

With a record-setting up to 800,000 visitors a year, it is not much of a surprise that it has been called the crown jewel of Austin. Admission to the pool is free from November through mid-March. However, Austin residents may be required to pay a small fee of $1-$8, from March to October for entry after 8:00 a.m.

kayakers floating in the calm water

3. Guadalupe State Park – Bulverde 

Guadalupe State Park offers plenty of recreational activities, especially around the water. In addition to fishing, tubing, and canoeing, a dip into the swimming hole is what makes the experience complete.

The river is lined up with cliffs towering over 40 feet if you want to try diving. Bring your loved ones along and make some memories together.

colorful foliage mirrored in the water

4. Garner State Park – Garner

Besides the beautiful scenery at Garner State Park, it's also fun activities like swimming, dancing, and hiking that bring people back to the park. 2.9 miles of the Frio River wind through the 1,774 acres of Hill Country terrain, providing tons of things to see and do.

To take a break from the rigorous activities, rely on the Frio waters to keep you cool.

glass-like water surrounded by a rocky shore

5. Devils Waterhole – Burnet

This is a small extension of Inks Lake, which although it's surrounded by rock, provides a serene environment to make a dip – especially in the summer. The main attraction here is cliff diving. It's common to see daredevils taking the plunge into the cool waters.

6. Landa Park at Comal Springs - New Braunfels

Comal Springs in New Braunfels feels like the largest group of aquifer-fed springs in the state. Being a kid-friendly place, it is common sighting kids zooming across the zip line and dropping into the pool.

So bring the kids along for lazy tubing, climbing, and sliding experiences in the massive lagoon!

7. Colorado Bend State Park – Bend

After a day of hiking the Gorman Falls at the Colorado Bend State Park, take the Spicewood Springs trail leading to the multiple pools along the Colorado River and immerse yourself into the cool waters.

The most notable thing is that instead of one massive lagoon, there are small pools every 30 to 40 feet making congestion less of an issue.

8. Hancock Springs – Lampasas

Since this is a free-flowing pool, Hancock Springs' waters come straight from the cold artesian spring, fills the pool, and keeps flowing out the other side – right into Sulfur Creek. This keeps the waters in the pool chilly and ideal for a hot summers day.

The cool waters combined with the slight smell (usually as a result of the naturally occurring sulfur in the water) feels amazing. It is no surprise that for centuries, the pool has been believed to possess natural healing properties which are attributed to the high mineral content waters.

After a swim, you can take a walk along the grassy riverbanks to dry off.

9. Schumacher Crossing – Hunt

Located about half an hour drive from San Antonio, Schumacher Crossing is among the most popular spots in the area mainly because of its swimming hole. On weekends, it might be a bit crowded with people trying to enjoy the popular swimming spot.

The most notable thing is how this portion of the Guadalupe River remains typically clean because there are no large cities or urban areas upstream. The availability of excellent parking space explains why Schumacher Crossing has been ranked among the top ten swimming spots in the Texas Hill Country.

10. McKinney Falls – Austin

Located at the confluence of Onion Creek and Williamson, McKinney Falls offers several fun activities including hiking and swimming. Its rushing waters pour over a limestone ridge and form a lively waterfall – a spectacular view, so don't miss it.

11. Jacob’s Well – Wimberley

Northwest of Wimberley, Jacob’s Well is known to satisfy its visitors with captivating discoveries and relaxing moments. Its most notable feature is the aquifer which is actually located 140 feet below the water’s surface. Below the well is the Hill Country’s biggest underwater cave system.

12. Hippie Hollow – Austin

The fact that it is the only clothing-optional public park in Texas explains the high number of visitors throughout the year. It goes without saying that entry to the park is restricted only to those aged 18 and above. The rocky shoreline provides a spectacular view of Lake Travis.