One of the best things about the Texas Hill Country is the abundance of natural springs and swimming holes in the area. It’s hotter than heck during a Texas summer so finding the perfect Texas Hill Country Swimming Hole is a bit of a quest for visitors and locals alike!
Why are there so many springs in the Texas Hill Country?
Springs in Texas have always been a part of the landscape and were critical to survival in the area. They provided water to native tribes over the centuries and were important stops on the cattle drives in the 1800’s.
Many of the springs in the Texas Hill Country have their sources in the Edwards and Edwards-Plateau aquifers. An aquifer is an area where water is trapped underground.
A regular aquifer simply holds the water, but an artesian aquifer holds water under pressure. This pressure gets relief through outlets such as the numerous springs in the Texas Hill Country, where the water forces itself out at the surface. The Edwards aquifers in Texas are some of the largest artesian aquifers in the world.
Those who live in or visit the area are incredibly lucky that these clear waters bubble up above the ground in various places!
BEST Swimming Holes in the Texas Hill Country
NOTE: MOST of these springs and swimming holes in the Texas Hill Country require reservations. We have NOT mentioned every time that reservations are required. It is best to assume that they are. There are fees associated with many of these swimming holes.
Many are not all open year round. Most of the ones we mention are natural areas and therefore are subject to the whims of nature. Many are not open with there has been too little or too much rain. The appearance of things may change due to natural phenomenon.
We strongly suggest that you always check before you visit and plan in advance!
Krause Springs in Spicewood Texas
Krause Springs is one of the prettiest swimming holes in the hill country of Texas. It is located just about 30 miles northwest of Austin. Although there are 32 springs on the property the highlight is definitely the natural swimming hole. You will feel that you are in a tropical paradise sitting under the waterfalls that flow over a fern covered hillside into the emerald green water.
A rope swing and large trees for shade add to the perfection. The water here stays about 68 degrees year round so you can imagine how refreshing it is in the summer.
We loved our visit to Krause Springs!
Jacob’s Well in Wimberly
Jacob’s Well is one of the most unique swimming holes in the area. It is located in the town of Wimberley only about a 45 minute drive from Austin and is one of the most significant, natural geologic treasures in the Texas Hill Country.
Jacob’s Well is an artesian spring that surges up thousands of gallons of water which flow to the Blue Hole (which I’ll mention below) and the Blanco River.
The well is also the entrance to an underground cave system but only certain people are allowed to dive the caves.
Jacob’s well is open for swimming only in the summer as they allow the ecology of the waters to rejuvenate themselves in the off season. You must make reservations to swim.
Blue Hole Regional Park in Wimberly
Not too far from Jacob’s Well is the Blue Hole in Wimberley. This is one of our favorites!
The Blue Hole was saved from development In 2005 when the city of Wimberley raised funds to purchase the land for use as a community park.
What a great thing that they accomplished!
There are trails and ball courts, picnic areas and especially the Blue Hole Swimming Area. The city has done a wonderful job of meeting the needs of the community and visitors as well as preserving the historic blue hole and its ecosystems.
Reservations are required to swim.
Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs
Hamilton Pool Preserve is an historic swimming hole located about 40 minutes from Austin in Dripping Springs. It is a gorgeous and very unique swimming hole which was designated a preserve in 1990.
It is actually a partially collapsed grotto which now has a waterfall spilling over a limestone outcropping along with unique rock formations surrounding one side of the pool. Besides swimming there are trails along which you can experience the native plants and birds in the area.
Even though the pools level stays fairly constant swimming is not always allowed depending on rains and the threat of high bacteria.
NOTE: Due to the unprecedented snow and cold in the winter more of the rocks have been falling and people are not currently being allowed under the overhang of the pool. As always: Check before you go!
Barton Springs Pool in Austin
Located in the 358 acre Zilker Park is one of the treasures of Austin…the Barton Springs Pool.
This is basically an urban swimming hole and it is NOT a secret, but despite the crowds this is a place you should experience.
Barton Springs is a crystal clear 3 acre pool that is fed from the Edwards Aquifer. It maintains a temperature of about 68 degrees and therefore is incredibly refreshing during the hot Austin summers. It has a large shallow area, but also ranges to a depth of 18 feet. The pool is surrounded by grassy areas for sunbathing and relaxing.
It really is a must-do if you are in the Austin area during the warmer months!
Devil’s Waterhole at Inks Lake State Park near Burnet
It can only be reached from inside the park by either hiking the clearly marked quarter-mile Devil’s Waterhole Trail or by paddling along Inks Lake.
The Devil’s waterhole is surrounded by high rock formations that have a rusty-pinkish hue. Between the surrounding rocks and the cacti I would definitely wear a good pair of shoes to visit this swimming hole.
The water here is refreshing but since it is coming from the Colorado River so is not as cold as many of the spring fed swimming holes.
You will see many people jumping from the rocks here, but remember, you are swimming at your own risk.
Pedernales Falls State Park
Pedernales Falls State Park is about 30 miles west of Austin. The Pedernales River flows over limestone rocks here and although it can occasionally be rushing and turbulent, it is typically fairly calm.
However, you will want to keep an eye on the weather as flash-flooding can happen in this area.
Swimming is not allowed on the falls but you will absolutely want to hike down to see them. Below the falls there is a swimming area with a sandy beach.
This is a fascinating park but there isn’t a lot of shade so be sure and bring sunscreen and plenty of water.
James Kiehl River Bend Park in Comfort
This is a gem of a small park near the town of Comfort, Texas.
James Kiehl River Bend Park is scenically situated on the Guadalupe River. The banks of the river are lined with towering and shade giving cypress trees, however, you will not find that crowds that are at the other nearby parks.
If you are looking for a bit of quiet and serenity this might be your place. You can swim anywhere along the river in the park. Do note that there is no potable water in the park so you will have to bring your own.
McKinney Falls State Park in Austin
This is another amazing swimming place within the city limits of Austin. McKinney Falls State Park is where you will find Onion Creek splashing over limestone ledges. Of course in addition to swimming there is hiking and biking and geocaching but this post is all about swimming!
You can swim at either the upper or lower falls. The upper falls area tends to be a little bit deeper but both are beautiful. There are separate parking areas for each of the swimming spots so you might want to scope each out before selecting your swimming spot for the day.
Blanco State Park
Blanco State Park was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s, and therefore has the iconic limestone and timber construction. There are also stone dams and a low-water bridge.
The park is located in downtown Blanco, Texas just four blocks south of the town square. It is a small park that hugs only one mile of the Blanco river.
The river itself is spring fed which means that it is clear and cool. There is a shallow wading pool next to Falls Dam which children will enjoy and you can rent tubes at the park store for lounging in the water.
Colorado Bend State Park
One of the first things that you will want to do at Colorado Bend State Park is take the hike to Gorman Falls. This is a stunning 75 foot spring fed waterfall in a state that is not known for its towering waterfalls. It is gorgeous and worth the 2.6 mile round trip hike.
You are not allowed to swim in the waters at Gorman Falls because the environment is too fragile.
However there is plenty of swimming at this park!
It fronts the Colorado River where swimming is allowed, but even better is to head up the Spicewood Springs Trail which will lead you to a series of spring-fed swimming holes and small waterfalls.
It’s fun to find enjoy these smaller swimming holes rather than one larger one.
Garner State Park near Concan in Uvalde County
This is one of the most beautiful locations!
It is Situated along 2.9 miles of the Frio River along with 1,774 acres of scenic Hill Country terrain.
Garner State Park is a perfect place to enjoy hiking, beautiful scenery, swimming, and…dancing. Yes, dancing. Since the 1940s, people have been gathering at the park’s concession building on summer evenings for a jukebox dance. They still do so today. You will want to arrive early as this is a popular activity.
In fact, this is one of the most popular of the Texas State Parks so if you want to enjoy swimming, and tubing in the beautiful Frio River you will want to look into making reservations in advance.
Tubing is very popular on the river and there are outfitters who will drop you off and then pick you up.
Hancock Springs Park in Lampasas
At over 100 years old Hancock Springs Park is one of the oldest spring fed swimming parks in the state of Texas.
Although the pool itself is not natural like many of the others we have mentioned the water is all natural! The pool is not only spring fed, but it is free flowing which means that the water is constantly running into the pool and then out into Sulfur Creek. This keeps the pool constantly cool and fresh.
You will notice a slight sulfur smell due to the naturally occurring sulfur in the water. In fact, there is a high mineral content in the water which has brought people to these waters for centuries for its healing properties.
We loved our trip to the Texas Hill Country. I hope that you do, too! Let us know which is your favorite of the swimming holes in Texas hill country!
If you want some ideas of what to pack for your trip to Texas check out this post! If you are driving around to some of the various springs you will definitely want to check out Buc-ee’s for all your road trip snacks!
Thanks for stopping by!