If you happen to be driving 60 miles west of Fort Stockton and find yourself desiring a nice way to cool down, you’ll be in luck. You’d be around the corner from Balmorhea State Park; the world’s largest spring fed pool. Not only is it huge, it’s in the middle of the desert. Along with providing humans 72 degree water, year-round, it’s home to fish, turtles, and various other creatures.
There are even retro motor-court style cabins for folks who’d like to spend a few days at the park. Admission is $7, which considering you’re in the desert, is a small price to pay to escape the west Texas heat.
2. Jacob’s Well – Wimberley, TX
This spring-fed swimming hole in northwest Wimberley, Texas still flies under the radar after all these years. On any given summer day, you won’t find more than 20-30 people down here, which is a great thing. Nestled in a thick area of trees and shrubs, there’s plenty of shade from the hot Texas sun if you just want to watch folks who decide to take a big jump in to the well.
The opening of the well is about 12 feet wide, and it descends 35 feet, before descending another 120 feet at an angle in to caves. Diving in to the underwater caves isn’t recommended though, even for experience SCUBA folks, so if you do go, stick to swimming and enjoying the pool this spring has created.
3. Hamilton Pool – Dripping Springs, TX
At first glance, Hamilton Pool looks like it belongs on another planet. We’re always saying Texas is like nowhere else, and this is exactly why. Hamilton Creek spills over the top creating a 50-foot waterfall in to the shaded pool below. Bring a towel to grab some sun on the shore, or some goggles to swim. Either way, don’t leave your sun-block at home. Sunburns are no fun.
On occasion, the pool is closed due to weather or trail conditions, so it’s always smart to call ahead at (512) 264-2740 to verify that they’ll be open that day.
4. Krause Springs – Spicewood, TX
The previous three swimming holes have been on public land, but Krause Springs is owned by the Krause family, and has been for about 50 years. It’s open year round and is fed by, you guessed it, springs. There is a lot to do aside from just swim such as butterfly gardens and plenty of beautiful Texas landscape to explore.
As far as amenities go, there is both primitive camping and RV hookups. There is a cheap per person charge to enter the park, as well as to camp.
5. Barton Springs – Austin, TX
You can’t do a Texas swimming holes list without Barton Springs. The “frigid” spring-fed waters of Barton Springs are said to be healing waters. The biggest ailment I know it cures is heat exhaustion, but boredom is another disease this pool takes care of quickly.
It’s $3 to enter for the day. Parking can be an issue if you’re trying to park on the North side of the pool, so if you’re driving down, try parking on the south side for the best luck on that end. Bring your blanket or towel so you can post up on the hill, but leave your food, frisbees, footballs, and alcohol at home.
6. Devil’s Waterhole – West of Burnet, TX
Nowadays, droughts are a big factor in whether or not you’ll enjoy watering holes in a particular area. Devil’s Waterhole in Inks Lake State Park thankfully isn’t affected by drought conditions. The cliffs are fun to jump off of for those of yall who aren’t afraid of heights.
Aside from the swimming hole, there’s plenty to do in the park for all yall that like fishing, hiking, and camping.
7. Blanco State Park – Blanco, TX
One thing is for sure; in Texas we love damming up rivers or springs to make giant pools out of them. Blanco State Park has one of the prettiest such pools. Located in Blanco, TX it’s a short drive from Austin as well as not too far out of the way if you find yourself out in Fredericksburg.
As with most of the swimming holes, this park has plenty of fishing, hiking, and picnic area for all ages to enjoy.
8. Las Moras Pool, Fort Clark Springs – Brackettville, TX
If the crowds at Barton Springs get ya down, you can drive to the southwest Texas city of Brackettville and stay at Fort Clark Springs. Boasting the 3rd largest spring fed pool in Texas, this private resort is worth the stay. The Las Moras pool is huge and sits in the middle of what used to be a functioning military base.
Despite having been a military base, there is plenty to do in terms of tourism and activities. The usual camping, swimming, and RV’ing is available for any takers. Don’t cruise down there expecting to jump right in the pool though. It’s only available to folks staying at the resort, but it’s definitely worth the stay.
9. Garner State Park – Concan, TX
I would literally be thrown out of Texas if I didn’t mention Garner State Park. The miles and miles of Frio river have been a Texas destination for years. Not to mention, Garner is where many of us learned to Two-Step during the summer dances.
Concan is a popular destination during the summer, so expect big crowds in Garner. Don’t worry though, there’s plenty of Texas for everyone to enjoy. Just don’t be surprised if most of the cabins are booked if you wait too long to grab one.
10. City Tube Chute – New Braunfels, TX
Many a cooler of beer has been lost to the City Tube Chute in New Braunfels. Made out of concrete and stone, this dam/chute has also been the location of years and years of cool enjoyment. Whether you’re just floatin’ through on your way down the Comal or you’re sticking around all day to watch all the drunks float by, it’s one of the top spots to cool down in Texas.
Due to the fact that some folks have been messin’ with Texas, there are some new rules in place for what you can and can’t take on the Comal river. Be sure to check out the updated rules before you head on down.