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The Best Swimming Holes in Austin: Where To Take the Plunge

Austin is incredibly gorgeous and offers an almost endless amount of outdoor activities, but it can also be sweltering hot. For those days where the temperature gauge spikes, finding a place to cool off is often at the top of the to-do list. Fortunately, there are dozens of natural pools, rivers, and springs in the Austin area where you can head to cool off. Here are some of the best swimming holes in Austin where you can take the plunge and snap some Instagrammable shots.

Dive Into The Best Swimming Holes in Austin

Pedernales Falls near Austin Texas

Austin is hot much of the year. In fact, springtime often feels like it lasts only a few days, and winter is marked more by one or two cold days rather than several cold weeks or months. That means locals and visitors alike are often looking for places to swim and relax. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best swimming holes in Austin. Many of these pools are spring-fed so you can take a break from the heat in cool waters — even in the peak summer heat. Skip the industrial swimming pools and head to one of these natural swimming holes for a refreshing dip. 

1. Barton Springs Pool

Entry Fee: $5 for residents | $9 for non-residents | season passes available
Reservations: None needed

Located in the heart of Zilker Park, is one of Austin’s biggest attractions: Barton Springs Pool. The park consists of 358 acres of lush surroundings where biking, hiking, and getting on the water reign king. The spring-fed pool is the crown jewel of the park, featuring water temps that are consistently between 68-70 degrees all year long. The water level ranges from 0 feet to 18 feet, making it ideal for beginner bathers as well as more advanced swimmers. There is an entrance fee to get in — but residents enjoy a discounted entry fee and there are also season passes available for purchase.

2. Wimberley Blue Hole

Entry Fee: $12 for 13 years and older | $6 for 4-12 years old 
Reservations: https://bluehole.checkfront.com/reserve/ 

Located in Blue Hole Regional Park, Wimberley Blue Hole is in the heart of Texas Hill Country. The natural, spring-fed swimming hole features crystal clear waters and is surrounded by towering Cypress trees. Here, kids and adults can enjoy rope swings, grassy picnic areas, and playscapes. Here, you’ll also find sand volleyball courts, an amphitheater, picnic areas, and restrooms. Swimming is only allowed on weekends in May and September and then every day from Memorial Day through Labor Day. There is an entry fee required, but there are season passes as well as discounts for Wimberley residents and seniors.

3. Hamilton Pool Preserve

Entry Fee: $12 per vehicle (paid online) | $8 per person 13 years and older (paid on arrival in cash)
Reservations: https://secure.emybill.com/parks/reservation/base/TravisHamilton/publicSite/main.faces 

Located in Dripping Springs, Hamilton Pool features an awe-inspiring 50-foot waterfall cascading into the jade-green waters below. It’s a fantastic swimming spot for a hot summer day or a chilly dip in wintertime. The water temperature can drop below 50 in the winter months. The access point is via a quarter-mile, steep hiking trail. To swim, you must make reservations. Note that swimming is dependent on bacteria levels and water levels as well as rockfall danger. There is a per vehicle entry fee that can be paid online and then a per person entry fee (payable only by cash at the preserve) to access the pool.

best swimming holes in austin: Jacob's Well

4. Jacob’s Well

Entry Fee: $9 adults 13 and older | $5 kids 5-12 years old
Reservations: https://jwna.checkfront.com/reserve/

Jacob’s Well is an artesian spring located in Hays County. Public swimming is allowed in the watering hole from May through September by reservation only. Reservations are for a two-hour time block for swimming due to the large number of visitors the well receives.

5. Krause Springs

Entry Fee: $8 for 12 years and older | $5 for 4-11 years | free for children under 4
Reservations: None needed

Drive 30 miles north of Austin and you’ll end up in Spicewood, where you’ll find a great spot to cool off: Krause Springs. It’s a well-known camping area featuring 32 different natural springs, many of which feed the manmade and natural pools on-site. Don’t miss the famous rope swing and be sure to pack a towel and picnic if you plan on spending the day here.

6. Deep Eddy Pool

Entry Fee: $3 for residents | $8 for non-residents
Reservations: None needed

Deep Eddy Pool is the oldest swimming pool in Texas and is a man-made swimming hole. The pool gets its water from the Colorado River and you can feel free to bring a floatie to lounge on. The pool is surrounded by grassy areas and trees where you can lay out in the sun or shade. There is no food or pets allowed here so make sure to dine before you come and leave your furry friend at home. 

People walking the Barton Creek Greenbelt

7. Twin Falls in Barton Creek Greenbelt

Entry Fee: Free
Reservations: None needed

Twin Falls is located In the Barton Creek Greenbelt and can be accessed from several points. The best access point is from the Loop 360 entrance. In the greenbelt, you’ll also find Sculpture Falls, Campbell’s Hole, and Gus Fruh, three more swimming holes to cool off in. During certain times of the year and dependent on rainfall, the greenbelt may have little flowing water and the waterfalls may be dry.

8. McKinney Falls State Park

Entry Fee: $6 for adults, children under 13 are free
Reservations: https://texasstateparks.reserveamerica.com/ 

McKinney Falls State Park is just 13 miles from downtown Austin. At this state park, you’ll find dozens of outdoor activities from biking and geocaching to hiking and swimming. Here, you can swim in the mellow waters of Upper Falls or the faster flows at Lower Falls. There are several places where swimmers can cliff jump — just be sure to ask for the best locations and scout for rocks below the water’s surface before making the plunge.

best swimming holes in austin: aerial view of Lake Travis

9. Pace Bend Park on Lake Travis

Entry Fee: $5 per person | free for children 12 and under
Reservations: Not required, but recommend for improved camping sites

It’s not exactly a swimming hole — rather it’s a large lake — but Lake Travis is still one of the best spots in Austin to go for a dip. Pace Bend Park features incredible camping sites on slightly elevated cliffs that look out over Lake Travis. There is both primitive and improved camping and several areas to access the lakefront for swimming and water activities. 

10. Georgetown’s Blue Hole

Entry Fee: None
Reservations: None needed

Georgetown’s Blue Hole is one of the few dog-friendly swimming holes on this list. This scenic swimming hole is on the San Gabriel River and features two distinct swimming areas partitioned by a small fall. Jumping from the limestone bluffs is not allowed and neither is alcohol. It’s a good, family-friendly spot to take the kids for a dip and weekdays offer a calmer, quieter experience than weekends.

11. Hippie Hollow

Entry Fee: $8 per person (MUST be 18 or older) | $3 seniors 62 and older
Reservations:

Hippie Hollow is the only public park in Texas that is clothing optional. This natural area features a rocky shoreline and 109 acres along Lake Travis. It’s a great spot to tan and enjoy warm days. Bring a paddleboard or kayak to get out on the lake or pack a towel to lounge on the shore. Entry is restricted to people 18 and older and pets are not allowed.

12. Blanco River in Blanco State Park

Entry Fee: $5 per person 13 and older
Reservations: Not required, but recommended for weekends and holidays

The Blanco River offers several opportunities for Austinites and visitors to enjoy wading and swimming. It’s a popular spot for families and it’s a good idea to bring water shoes to explore different parts of the river. There is a shallow wading pool by the dam that’s perfect for younger children and you can swim anywhere in the park. Fishing, boating, and camping are also available. 

Get Outside and Enjoy Nature in Austin

person swimming in Barton Springs

There are dozens of popular swimming parts in Central Texas. Whether you live in Austin or just visiting, these are some of the best swimming holes in Austin. From natural springs right in the heart of the city to rivers and watering holes in state parks just outside the city limits, there’s something for everyone.

Looking for other ways to enjoy the great outdoors in the Austin area? Continue browsing ATX Guides. Here, you’ll find guides and tips on everything from the best hiking trails and biking opportunities to the best views in Austin.

Author
Erika Marty

Erika is an avid traveler who has been to more than 60 countries where she finds food, activities, and hidden locales for touring like a local. When she’s not writing, she enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and planning her next adventure.

Learn more about Erika