The Texan heat and swim holes go hand in hand. What better way to cope with soaring temperatures than cooling off in natural pools. As you might expect, there’s plenty to go around too.
From fun-packed family orientated splashvilles to clothing optional shorelines and everything in between, Texas has it. So grab your water shoes, float, and sun cream and get going.
These are the best swimming holes in Texas:
1. Barton Springs Pool, Austin, TX
Barton Springs Pool, located right in Austin, is a local institution.
The 3-acre lake is spring fed, and the water averages 68 degrees Fahrenheit year around.
Its location makes it very popular, and visitor numbers have soared in recent years, but the lake and surrounding grassy banks offer plenty of space.
While it lacks that romantic backcountry scenery, it is clean and very well managed with lifeguards year around from 8 am.
The pool has some history to tell, its biggest claim to fame being the place that Robert Redford learn to swim.
2. Jacobs Well, Wimberley, TX
Jacobs Wells is the entrance to the longest underwater cave system in Texas.
The hole itself is small, just 12 feet across, but has been carefully crafted by nature to create a deep enough (35 feet) splash point for those daring to take a high leap from the rocks above.
The water is clear and perfectly displays your target landing zone.
If you’re more of a spectator of this daredevil behaviour, then the shallows and the shade from the surrounding trees will keep you cool.
The cave does attract divers who like to explore the cave beyond the entrance but only those experienced and with the right gear and training should even consider what lies beyond.
Due to the size and popularity of Jacobs Well, please ensure that you book in advance to make sure you can visit.
3. Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs, TX
Hamilton Pool is incomparable. It’s so stunning you would be forgiven for thinking the pictures aren’t real.
The water would once have been underground, but many eons ago the ceiling collapsed leaving the pool half covered by a dome roof.
Water flows over this 50-foot high partial dome roof, feeding the pool and creating a stunning fall.
It’s an other-worldly experience.
The collapse also handily provided great limestone slabs at the water’s edge which are ideal for basking in the sun.
The natural beauty here cannot be overstated, and it’s very sought after so make a reservation if you intend to visit.
4. Balmorhea State Park, Balmorhea, TX
60 miles west of Fort Stockton, Balmorhea State Park is the home of the largest spring fed pool in the world.
More than 15 million gallons of water from the San Solomon Springs flow through the pool each day maintaining a temperature of 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit.
The well-manicured and perfectly kept cooling off oasis is also home to fish and turtles and attracts scuba divers as well as those wishing to splash and laze.
5. Devil’s Waterhole, West of Burnet, TX
Droughts can severely limit your enjoyment of any natural swim spot, but Devils Waterhole never seems to be affected.
The waterhole itself is part of the lake and waterways in Inks Lake State Park.
The lake itself plays host to paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, scuba divers, water skiers and anglers but has a no wake zone for comfortable swimming too.
Devils Waterhole is located upstream where you will find pools, a fall and plenty of rocks that act as launch pads for the water below.
This favorite spot has much to recommend it for a family holiday with a great range of close by camping options.
6. Garner State Park, Concan, TX
The River Frio winds through Garner State Park offering nearly 3 miles of swimming and splashing opportunities; laze around in an inner tube, captain a paddle boat or simply relax by the water’s edge.
The park offers plenty of hiking too.
This is a very popular spot but the 1,774-acre park copes well.
If you are planning on staying, book early.
The park is also famous for its nightly open air jukebox summer dances which have been running since the 1940s.
Still just as well patronaged by both the young and the young at heart, you should get there early if you want to take a spin around the floor.
7. City Tube Chute, Comal River, New Braunfels, TX
While the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers are great places to cool off in their own right, the City Tube Chute adds an extra dimension to your water based fun.
Hire a tube and float down the river towards the chute which is a slide built into the dam.
Upstream the floating is lazy and languid with lots of opportunities to stop, swim and explore but gets more hectic towards the rapids.
Children and weak swimmers should wear lifejackets as it’s easy to flip over and get caught in the congestion at the end of the chute.
The spot can become a bit of a party at weekends, so stick to early mornings or midweek if you prefer peaceful tubing away from beer-swilling revellers.
8. Blue Hole, Wimberley, TX
The locals favour this hole so much that when developers earmarked the land for residential housing, the community bonded to save it.
The hugely successful fundraising effort meant the land was purchased for use by the community.
This is why it’s still available for your pleasure today.
Fed by the springs of the San Gabriel River and open all year the water is fringed by gnarled Cypress trees which provide both shade and rope swings.
There are shallows safe for smaller children making it perfect for the whole family.
The landscape is rich and the grassy banks and lawn are well cared for providing a great by the water picnic location.
Numbers are controlled so do arrive early.
9. Schumacher Crossing, Hunt, TX
During the 1920s the Schumacher Family dammed the river to provide both protection from floodwaters as well as a crossing point.
Today there is a road bridge to get to the other side, but the dams remain today with the happy side effect being the pool and the cascades they created.
The river is fringed by trees which provide shade in this beautiful riverside spot.
With no major conurbations close by you will find this stretch of the Guadalupe River clean but even with the lack of close by towns it’s very popular and will get crowded particularly at weekends.
Schumacher Crossing is on Highway 39 just east of Hunt.
10. McKinney Falls, Austin, TX
Where Onion Creek and Williamson Creek join, McKinney Falls State Park starts.
The falls are just 10ft high limestone formations over which the water tumbles on its way.
Admittedly the falls lack the wow factor conjured by larger falls, but they do offer a great environment for a family day out by the water.
The lower falls are especially good for younger children.
The area is charming and attracts hikers and campers too.
Just 13 miles outside of Austin, this spot is a great alternative to Boston Springs and as such it gets quite busy here.
11. Blue Hole, Georgetown, TX
There are many swim holes with the same name, so don’t get confused.
This Blue Hole is free to use and a local favourite for cooling off.
The lagoon features limestone rock formations as well as a long but low fall.
The surrounds are green and are a great location for a family day by the water.
This spot lies just five blocks north of downtown making it a great choice if you don’t want to travel far to wallow and splash.
12. Lake Tejas, Colmesneil, TX
Surrounded by pine trees and boasting diving boards, boardwalks and a water chute, this east Texas oasis has been helping Texans cope with soaring temperatures for many a year.
A buoyed swimming area offers protection and 80 yards of sandy beach like shoreline could make you believe you were by the ocean.
Regular and in water volleyball, paddle boats, floats, children’s slides and a dedicated swimming area ensure that whatever your level of comfort in the water, there’s something for you.
Lifeguards are present to ensure your visit is safe and enjoyable.
13. Deep Eddy Pool, Austin, TX
Deep Eddy Pool is more like a outdoor municipal pool than a traditional swim hole, and it’s the oldest public pool in Texas.
The pool is well kept, and the poolside’s give way to grassy banks perfect for basking in the sun.
What makes this pool a little unusual is the varied and sometimes usual (for a pool) calendar of events it plays host to.
If you every fancied watching a movie on an inflatable screen poolside, then this is your spot.
14. Hippie Hollow, Austin, TX
It would be remiss not to mention this park which lies on the shore of Lake Travis.
While this entry will serve as a place to skip for many, for others it will be a place to try.
Why? Because it’s the only place in Texas where you can legally be nude.
The shoreline devoted to the all over tan is quite rocky, but the views over the lake are great.
Do be aware that passing boats are likely to be gawking at the spectacle on the beach.
15. Burgers Lake, Fort Worth, TX
Burgers Lake has an old-school summer camp feeling to it; it’s a family focused one-acre lake packed with fun to tire even the most excitable of your crew.
There are water slides and water chutes, a trapeze from which you can launch yourself into the water, fountains and six diving boards.
Two sandy beaches and large trees offer both sunny and shady spots.
The park has provided 300 picnic tables and charcoal grills for you to cook up a feast to feed your hungry charges.