The Best of the Best!
Austin & Wimberley are both perfect water spots! Ask us about all of the activities on area lakes and rivers.
Below is a picture we took of Lady Bird Lake along with a list of our favorite swimming holes.
Hamilton Pool Park is as close to the perfect natural swimming hole you are likely to find in Central Texas. The large pool and the waterfall at this ideal location make this a top swimming hole that has been enjoyed by generations of Texans looking for a way to beat the heat. This is a good place to bring a floatation device so you can paddle out to the waterfall or paddle from the beach portion of the pool over to the back side under the huge limestone overhang. Be sure to take a look at the large fish that hang out in the pool, but please don’t be a dufus and try to disturb them. Some folks like to hang out under the waterfall or over by the adjacent rocks, but be careful because those areas can be slippery. Back in the old days when the land was privately owned you could jump or dive into the pool from the area next to the top of the waterfall, but those days are long gone. Once you get to the bottom of the hill after entering the trail head from the parking lot if you turn right you will walk about a quarter of a mile to the pool. Taking a left will take you over a pretty long trail that goes to the Pedernales River if you want to go exploring. Be sure to call before heading out because admission is limited and some times the park is closed after it rains for safety concerns. One last thing, they have less than 100 parking places and once they are full nobody gets in until somebody else leaves.
Krause Springs is a smaller version of Hamilton Pool, but it is an equally beautiful natural swimming hole. This is the water feature that everybody wishes they had on their property. You easily could spend hours on the sloping rock leading to the pool just looking at the waterfall and its associated vegetation because it is just stinking gorgeous. The pool and surrounding area is fairly small, so you will definitely want to come out early to get a choice location. A lot of folks like to swim or float over to the waterfall and afterwards go spend some time in the small cutout in the grotto — just sayin. If you enter the pool by walking down the rock incline watch out for the algae just below the waterline or you could bust your butowski like countless others have done before you.
Blue Hole is the place you have pictured in your mind when you are imagining that perfect spring-fed creek tucked away some place out in the hills. This is a very nice county park just outside of Wimberley and it is an absolutely great place to go sit under the shade trees and to take a dip in the refreshing blue water. Blue Hole is located along a portion of Cypress Creek, which is fed by spring water from Jacob’s Well. The water at Blue Hole is fabulous and they should have a couple of rope swings for you to enjoy. Thank your lucky stars that the good folks of Wimberley and Hays County were able to buy the property and save it from being developed not all that long ago. Now we all can enjoy this location til the end of time.
Inks Lake has some pretty good places to go swimming, and the best of all is Devil’s Waterhole. It is a favorite of the locals up in this northern portion of the Hill Country. There is a relatively small area available for lounging by the water fall so if you are wanting to hang out there you will be much better off by coming out here early in the day. There are some nice places to hang out on the rocks and to go wading or just splash around in the water over by the falls. Further away from the falls is a fairly large pool where you could swim or float. Lots of folks like jumping off the nearby cliffs and ledges into the water, but if you engage in that activity be sure the coast is clear and there are no rocks below.
Sulphur Springs Camp has around 3 miles of river frontage making it pretty likely you will be able to find a good place to play in the water on the Colorado River during your visit here. This is a good spot on the river for swimming or floating or just wading around. There is a very nice bluff on the far side of the river along a pretty good stretch of the watercourse and the view from above it is not bad at all. As an added bonus, they have cabins and tent camping at this privately owned property in case you want to stay the weekend.
Barton Springs Pool is hands down one of the most beautiful man-made spring-fed pools you will ever visit. The pool is clear and very, very chilly. In fact, your first plunge into the pool most assuredly will take your breath away. Some folks like to float here, others like to swim, and still others will come out to snorkel and look for salamanders. If you happen to see a salamander don’t jack with it or you could end up in federal prison — they are endangered. The grounds are gorgeous and the snack bar will remind you of when you were a kid. The pool is in Austin so try not to let your jaw hit the ground if you happen to notice that some of the young ladies are topless. No matter what your reason for coming to Barton’s we assure you that you will not regret the decision. It is so close to being perfect it is hard to believe this place really exists.
Rio Vista Park is one of the jewels of the San Marcos park system found running along the spring-fed San Marcos River. This is the area where the City recently made upgrades to the dam and created a very nice play area for paddlers. The dam forms a great swimming hole and it doubles as a place where you can hang out on your favorite floatation device. This is also the take out point for all the tubers putting in upstream at City Park. The entire stretch of city owned park land extending upstream from Rio Vista to the headwaters of the San Marcos is a very scenic area. This is an excellent portion of the river and a lot of folks come here just to hang out on the shores in their street clothes. They, however, are really missing out by not jumping into the soothing San Marcos waters. Because this is such a beautiful area and there is no admission fee, it gets very crowded on the weekends and many other days during the summer so getting here early is an absolute necessity.
Five Mile Dam creates a fairly large impoundment on the Blanco River that is very good for swimming and floating. You could even bring the kayak or paddle board out if you wanted to get in a little exercise on the water. Lots of folks also like to hang out on the dam or just below it in the play area where you can lay on the rocks and let the water flow over you. Some times it gets fairly crowded just below the dam so you could try exploring the area further downstream and you might be able to find a nice somewhat secluded place to hang out.
Landa Park is another one of those parks on a captivating spring-fed river — the beautiful Comal River. This L-shaped pool rivals Barton Springs in Austin as the most gorgeous man-made pool in the Hill Country. The kids really like the super long slide that empties them into the water. This is an absolutely great place to spend the afternoon when you want to cool down from the heat. Everything about this pool is beautiful and the chilly water feels divine.
Cypress Bend Park is a nice little park on the shores of the Guadalupe River in a quiet part of town not used by many tourists. The park is in an out-of-the-way area so there is a pretty good chance you will have plenty of room to play in this refreshing stream. This portion of the river is pretty much for locals only so try to be cool, man.
Camp Huaco Springs is a great place to hang out in the water and to watch people tumble off of their tubes at the Huaco Rapids on the Guadalupe River. Folks have been coming here to watch tubers crash for years. Another place where folks have some difficulty staying on their tubes is at Slumber Falls, which is at the far downstream portion of Camp Huaco Springs. When your side starts hurting from laughing at all the people falling off their tubes there is a great deal of river frontage at this campground so you should be able to find a place to go hang out and relax. That will be the case as long as you get here early in the day because this is a very popular site.
Blanco State Park is a small, but excellent state park right on the lovely Blanco River. This is a terrific place to go swim or float because the dam here creates a fairly large impoundment. There also is a nice play area just downstream of the dam if you want to go wading or just splash around in the water. The locals love this place so be sure to come out early if you want to snag a good spot.
The Ingram Dam has been a favorite swimming hole for many, many years up near the Kerrville area. The dam forms a nice pool for your swimming and floating pleasure. There is a long tradition of participating in what is called “dam sliding” here. The idea is to keep your balance while you slide down the algae coated dam standing on your feet in a crouched position. Just keep your eyes open and the local teenagers will show you how it is done. For the brave, feel free to try some dam sliding on your own if you think you can do so without breaking your arm or cracking open your noggin.
If you are out near the Kerrville area you should consider going to Brink’s Crossing. This is a nice little spot on the Guadalupe River to seek shelter from the harsh Texas heat during the hot months. If you are lucky, this natural swimming hole won’t be as crowded as some of the others over near Hunt. There also is a fair amount of shade at this swimming hole as well, which is always an added benefit. If it does get too crowded here, you could go to the nearby Lion’s Park in Center Point, but you should know that there is not much shade at that park.
Guadalupe River State Park is another great state park for swimming. There is lots of river frontage here, but a fair amount of people gravitate towards the big boulder in the middle of the river for some reason. You can do some swimming here or, like most folks, wade out about chest deep into the stream and just enjoy the river flowing by you. The water feels great here because the vast majority of it comes from spring flow up river. This park is very popular for accessing the water so make sure you get here early. Because it tends to get pretty crowded in the main part of the park near the water, consider walking upstream or downstream from that area. Consult the map available at the office because there is a fair amount of park land outside of the main parking area by the river for you to explore so you should be able to find some secluded areas to play in the water.
Garner State Park is the most popular state park in Texas and once you come out for a visit you will know why that is the case. There is a small dam on the Frio River that creates a large pond for swimming or floating. Some folks like to hang out in the river just below the dam, but the best part of the river is further downstream. There you will find a fairly large pool for floating and of course there is a rope swing. If you decide to walk on the dam be very careful because it is prettly slick on top. They didn’t pick the name Frio for nothing. The water here is cool, clear and very invigorating because it comes from upstream springs.
Mager’s has access to the spring-fed Frio River and it has a variety of places for you to go hang out in the water. Mager’s is a campground that is located on a very pretty stretch of the river and it is favored by many who live in the western part of the Hill Country. An added bonus is the fabulous view it has of Old Baldy located on the other side of the stream at Garner State Park.
The swimming hole over at Neal’s is pretty famous around the Concan area. It is a very scenic site and a really good swimming hole when the flows are up. This place can get real crowded so your best bet is to come out early in the morning on the weekend or, better yet, during the week.
Wes Cooksey Park is a fine swimming hole on the western edge of the Hill Country that is fed by the Nueces River, which is fed by a number of springs. There is a dam across the river, which forms a great place to swim or float. You are going to like this place because it is somewhat secluded and not nearly as crowded as some of the state parks. Naturally, the locals adore this pool and folks are sure to show up in the afternoon so you might want to come out early to claim a space.
Schumacher’s Crossing is one of the quintessential natural swimming holes in the central portion of the Hill Country on the Guadalupe River. The locals have been coming here for years and once you visit you will see why. Of course there is a rope swing, but don’t be surprised if there are several people in front of you. The water feels great here and so long as it doesn’t get too crowded, it is an ideal swimming hole. If it is too crowded here just head upstream or downstream on 39 until you find another crossing that suits you.
The Castell Crossings are located at some pretty wide spots on the Llano River so there should be plenty of places to swim, go wading or otherwise play in the water. There also are boulders on the shore for you to sit on and sun yourself like a lizard if that sounds interesting to you. We like going to the Slab but we did not include it on our favorite list of swimming holes because you hardly ever can swim there. It is a better place for wading or laying down on the slab and letting the water run over you. No such limitations here because at the Castell Crossings you can swim or otherwise float around in the pools if you like. There is not a lot of parking so it is best to come out here early.
The Bandera City Park is a great place to hang out by the water if you want to go swimming or floating on the Medina River. This is a smaller version of the Blanco State Park and the two locations are very similar because both feature impoundments created by a dam. There also is a nice play area just down from the dam, and there are quite a few shade trees to help you escape the heat. Get here early or all the locals will beat you to the best spots.