August 15, 2022

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7 top-rated Austin swimming holes

5 min read
The best respite for those sizzling summer days and early spring heat waves is one...

The best respite for those sizzling summer days and early spring heat waves is one of the many spring-fed Texas swimming holes. The Lone Star State has more spring-fed swimming spots than any other state in the country, and several of these are located within a 40-mile radius of Austin. With average year-round water temperatures ranging from 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, these freshwater oases make the perfect place for a refreshing dip.

From remote Hill Country nature preserves to downtown pools, keep reading for all the details on seven of the best Austin swimming holes. 

Barton Springs Pool


Distance from downtown Austin: 2.5 miles

One of the premier Austin swimming holes is this three-acre, spring-fed pool in Zilker Park. This natural wonder is fed by four underground springs from the Edwards Aquifer and averages between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. The pool is flanked by grassy tree-lined areas making it a popular warm-weather hangout spot for all ages. Along with being one of the city’s premier attractions, it’s also a federally protected habitat and home to the endangered Barton Springs Salamander. Fun fact: Robert Redford learned to swim here as a child when he was in town visiting family.

One of the best parts of Barton Springs is its expanded operating hours — it’s often open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., making it easy to avoid the crowds. (Lifeguards are on duty from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.). Season swim passes that include parking are also available with rates for residents and nonresidents. In addition, there’s an annual Polar Bear Splash every New Year’s Day and a monthly full moon swim.

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Find it: 2131 William Barton Drive, Austin, TX 78746

Deep Eddy Pool

Distance from downtown Austin: 2 miles

This spring-fed pool is the oldest swimming pool in the Lone Star State. Built in 1915, the non-chlorinated, man-made pool is named after an eddy formed by a boulder in the nearby Colorado River. It was a popular resort in the 1920s before being purchased by the City of Austin, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The facilities include a separate lap pool with designated lanes and an open swim area. During the summer months, movies are projected onto an inflatable screen. The pool is adjacent to Eilers Park, which connects to Lady Bird Lake with a hike and bike trail. For a post-swim bite to eat, stop by the nearby tiki-themed Pool Burger.

Find it: 401 Deep Eddy Ave., Austin, TX. 78705

Barton Creek Greenbelt

Distance from downtown Austin: 5 miles

This 7.5-mile hiking trail is the go-to spot for nature lovers. It’s perfect for hiking, biking, rock-climbing, bouldering and most importantly, swimming. With multiple access points and parking areas, it is easy to explore different sections of the trail. Water levels along the trail also vary based on rainfall.

Twin Falls swimming spopt at Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin, Texas.

Twin Falls swimming spopt at Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin, Texas.

Shannon R. via Yelp

The best swimming spots with the most consistent water levels are Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, which are closest to the 3918 South MoPac Expressway access point. Campbell’s Hole is another shallow swimming area, and Gus Fruh is one of the deepest swimming areas when there is water. Insider tip: go early on warm days or weekends to avoid the crowds.

Find it: Twin Falls, 3900 Mopac Frontage Road, Austin, TX 78746

Krause Springs

Distance from downtown Austin: 36 miles

The highlight of Krause Springs, a Hill Country camping and swimming spot, are 32 springs that feed the man-made and natural pools that flow into Lake Travis. After checking in at the office, follow the path past the man-made pool and descend the stairs to the main attraction — the natural tree-lined pool with a rope swing and a small trickling waterfall.

Swimmers enjoy Krause Springs on a hot day.

Swimmers enjoy Krause Springs on a hot day.

Gabby V. via Yelp

The 115-acre property has been privately owned by the Krause family for over half a century and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Campers can choose from primitive tent sites and 24 RV sites with water and electricity. Unlike many Austin swimming holes, the water levels at Krause Springs are not affected by rainfall. The water is a refreshing 68 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, but the springs are usually closed from November through mid-February.

Find it: 424 County Road 404, Spicewood, TX 78669

Blue Hole Regional Park

Distance from downtown Austin: 40 miles

Giant cypress trees line the sides of the Blue Hole, a natural, spring-fed swimming hole located in the Hill Country town of Wimberly. Jump off one of the rope swings or sunbathe on the expansive grassy lawn adjacent to the water. While the park is open year-round, swimming is only permitted daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day and on weekends in May and September.

Blue Hole Regional Park boasts a fantastic natural, spring-fed swimming hole.

Blue Hole Regional Park boasts a fantastic natural, spring-fed swimming hole.

Stephanie N. via Yelp

Advanced reservations are required for the swimming area for the busy summer months, and season passes are also available with discounted rates for Wimberley residents. The other areas of the park — hiking trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, basketball and sand volleyball courts — are always free.

Find it: 100 Blue Hole Lane, Wimberley, TX 78676

Jacob’s Well Natural Area

Distance from downtown Austin: 36 miles

Spanning 81 acres, Jacob’s Well Natural Area is home to the second-largest fully submerged cave in Texas. The underground cave system is home to the source of the spring-fed waters — the Trinity Aquifer. The view of the cave itself from the surrounded walkways is photo-worthy — a dark circular hole plunging into the abyss. The 68-degree waters are the headwaters of Cypress Creek that flows to the nearby Blue Hole Regional Park and into the Blanco River.

In order to preserve the natural habitat, swimming is only allowed from May 1 to September 30 through an online reservation system. Reservations are for two-hour blocks that are strictly enforced. For those visiting outside the swim season, take advantage of one of the free guided tours offered every Saturday at 9 a.m. from October to April. Aside from swimming, there are no fees to enter the natural area or for parking.

Find it: 1699 Mt. Sharp Road, Wimberley, TX, 78676

Editor’s note: As of June 28, Jacob’s Well is currently closed due to high bacteria. Officials with Hays County are monitoring conditions and will provide updated information on their website and social media pages.

Hamilton Pool Preserve

Distance from downtown Austin: 30 miles

One of the most picturesque landscapes in Central Texas is the collapsed circular grotto, canyon and 50-foot waterfall of Hamilton Pool. The nature preserve is one of the most popular and difficult spots to swim. While the waterfall never fully dries up, swimming safety is determined by bacteria and rainfall levels. Rock falls can also close the swimming area along with the trail under the overhanging cliff. Even if swimming isn’t allowed, the pool is still worth a visit for the scenery alone. Due to popularity, reservations are required daily year-round.

While the trail to the pool is only a quarter of a mile, it can take 30 minutes to walk the steep, narrow and rugged path. Drinking water is not available on-site, so be sure to bring your own. Check the website before visiting for swimming conditions.

Find it: 24300 Hamilton Road, Dripping Springs, TX 78620

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