UPDATE 5/20: The pool is currently closed for emergency repairs and is expected to reopen Saturday, May 25. Check tpwd.texas.gov, the Balmorhea State Park Facebook page, or call (432) 375-2370 before planning your visit.

Sometimes the best summer moments are unplanned—a spontaneous road trip, a lazy day at the lake, or an impromptu backyard barbecue. But some of our state’s most memorable summer diversions require advance planning. Balmorhea State Park’s star attraction, the pool, reopened March 1 after being closed nearly 10 months for repairs, and visitors are already returning in droves to cool off in the aquamarine water of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool.

With day-use passes now capped at 900 to protect the natural environment of the West Texas oasis, summer travelers should plan to reserve their spots ahead of time using the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s new online booking system at texasstateparks.reserveamerica.com.

Visit tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/balmorhea for the latest construction updates and park closure information.

While repairs to the park’s Civilian Conservation Corps-built motel, campground, historic pergola, and septic system are ongoing, the 1.3-acre pool will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. all summer long. “It’s really the only place in the desert where you have a place to swim as well as snorkel and dive,” park superintendent Carolyn Rose says.

Along with strongly recommending travelers secure their passes ahead of time, she asks guests to be mindful of its natural inhabitants. Long before the CCC built the park in the 1930s, the springs were home to five endangered aquatic animals that now swim alongside the more than 150,000 people who visit Balmorhea annually. “So many people love this park,” Rose says, “and they can help us protect it if they come with a stewardship mindset.”

To stay up to date on the latest news on Texas destinations, including noteworthy openings, new attractions, and curated travel guides, visit texashighways.com/the-latest. While you’re there, check out our definitive Summer Bucket List with more than 100 ideas to fill the season with unforgettable moments—like a bracing splash into Balmorhea’s famous swimming hole.

From the May 2019 issue

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