Barton Springs Pool / Photo by Will van Overbeek.

Let's Go Swimming

Your guide to Texas’ best spots to cool off, hang out, and take a dip this summer

by Amelia Nonemacher, Ariel Castillo, James Hernandez, and Natalia Gonzalez Blanco Serrano

Balmorhea State Park

Toyahvale

Hours:

Spring-fed pool hours are 8 am- 7:30 pm

Ticket info:

  • $7 per person (13 yrs +)
  • Divers must pay $5 per person as an activity fee

Additional info:

  • There are no lifeguards on site, so be cautious when swimming.
  • Pool floats are allowed but no larger than 8 ft. long and 4 ft. wide.
  • The spring fed pool and day-use area is open, but the rest of the park is temporarily closed for renovations and a date for the reopening has not been set.
  • Reservations are recommended for day passes, as numbers of visitors have been high this summer.

Barton Springs Pool

Austin

Hours:

  • 5 a.m.-8 a.m. swim at your own risk (Monday-Sunday)
  • 8 a.m.-10 p.m. guarded swim (Monday-Sunday)
  • 9 a.m.-7 p.m. closed (Thursday)

Ticket info:

  • Children under 1: free
  • Veterans honorably discharged: free
  • Children (1-11), resident: $2, non-resident: $4
  • Junior (12-17), resident: $3, non-resident: $5
  • Adult (18-62), resident: $5, non-resident: $9
  • Senior (62+), resident: $2, non-resident: $5

Additional info:

  • 68-70 degrees average temperature
  • Three acres in size
  • Pets, coolers, food, sports balls are prohibited. Drinks are permitted, but must be in resealable containers with a twist-off lid.

Blanco State Park

Blanco

Hours:

6 a.m.-10 p.m.

Ticket info:

  • Adult (13+ years): $5
  • Children (12 years and under): free

Additional info:

  • Pets are allowed, only on leash
  • Rent tubes at the park store from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; return tubes by 4 p.m.
  • Bring your canoe, kayak or boat (electric motors only). Or rent a single or double kayak or tube at the park store to use in the park (available seasonally; $20 credit card deposit required). Rental hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; return kayaks by 4 p.m.
  • 68 degrees
  • As of June 20, there is a burn ban in place until further notice.
A large group of people float and swim in rushing water at Blanco State Park
Blanco State Park. Photo by Michael Murphy.
A man swinging from a rope swing near a large tree into blue water
Blue Hole on Cypress Creek, Wimberley. Photo by Will van Overbeek.

Blue Hole Regional Park

Wimberley

Hours:

8 a.m.-sunset. Swimming is temporarily suspended from August 1-15 due to bacteria and poor visibility, and may be extended further.

Ticket info:

  • Adults (14-59): $12
  • Youth (3-13), Senior (60+), Military, Wimberley residents (78676 zip code): $6
  • Children under 3: free

Additional info:

  • Reservations required
  • Wimberley nights (residents only with ID) on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Pets allowed on leash on trails, but not allowed in the swimming area
  • Ice chests with picnic lunches, camp chairs, 12×12′ or smaller pop-up shade tents, floats, and inner tubes are permitted in Blue Hole.
  • Kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, or extra-large inflatables are not allowed

Boykin Springs

Zavalla

Hours:

All day

Ticket info:

  • Day use: free
  • Camping: $10
  • Shelter rental: $25

Additional info:

  • Drinking water is available throughout the campground but there are no sites with water hookups
  • Non-motorized boats are allowed
Large groups of people float, wade, and swing into the Frio river in Garner State Park
The Frio River in Garner State Park. Photo by Will van Overbeek.

Devil’s Waterhole/Inks Lake State Park

Burnet

Hours:

8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

Ticket info:

  • Adults (13+): $7
  • Children (<12): free

Additional info:

  • No lifeguards on duty
  • Rent paddle boats, canoes, one- to two-person kayaks, life vests and paddles at the park store
  • As of May 5, there is a burn ban in place until further notice.

Fort Clark Springs

Brackettville

Hours:

Currently closed due to drought. No estimated date of opening, possibility of opening if it rains.

Ticket info:

  • Free

Additional info:

  • Lake Nueces dam is 3.6 miles south, pay $4 to spend a day in Wes Cooksey Park

Garner State Park

Concan

Hours:

8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

Ticket info:

  • Adults (13+): $8
  • Children (<12): free

Additional info:

  • Equipment rentals available
  • 68 degrees
  • As of June 17, there is a burn ban in place until further notice, as well as a water conservation urge.
One woman swims while another sits on the side of a glittering blue pool
Hancock Springs and Park in Lampasas. Photo by Will van Overbeek

Hamilton Pool Preserve

Travis County

Hours:

Morning (9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and afternoon (2-5:30 p.m.) time slots

Ticket info:

  • Adult (13-61): $8
  • Senior (62+): $3
  • Child (≤12): free
  • $12 per car (max. 8/car)

Additional info:

  • Reservations required
  • Swimming not guaranteed by reservation, depends on bacteria levels
  • No pets, no exceptions
  • Water and concessions not available
  • Cash-only premises
  • No lifeguards
  • The section of trail that goes underneath the overhanging cliff at the pool is closed for safety concerns. Visitors can access the beach, but not walk all the way around to below the waterfall due to falling rocks.

Hancock Springs Free Flow Pool

Lampasas

Hours:

6 a.m.-10 p.m., Thursday-Sunday

Ticket info:

  • Adult: $3.50
  • Senior/Child: $2.50

Additional info:

  • Leash laws enforced
  • No alcoholic beverages without a permit
  • All areas first come first serve
An overhead view through lush green trees of a lone person floating in a spring-fed pool
Krause Springs near Spicewood. Photo by Michael Murphy

Jacob’s Well

Hays County

Hours:

As of June 29, all swimming is suspended until further notice.

Ticket info:

  • Online reservation only
  • Reservation gets you 2 hours of swimming, max 60 people
  • No American Express, no refunds, no rain checks
  • Adults: $9
  • Hays county resident, 5-12yo, 60+ senior, veteran: $5
  • 4 and under: free

Additional info:

Krause Springs

Spicewood

Hours:

9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Ticket info:

  • Adult (12+years): $9
  • Child (4-11): $5
  • Children under 4: free

Additional info:

  • 68 degrees
  • Camping available: reservations for RV hookups only, tents first come first serve
  • No pets allowed

Lake Tejas

Colmesneil

Hours:

  • Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Sunday: 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

Ticket info:

  • Swim pass: $8
  • Group over four people: $7/each

Additional info:

  • Inflatable obstacles available with a life jacket, limited stock of jackets available for rent
  • Bring floats or rent a tube
  • Covered picnic tables available for $8
A group of people float down a small rapid in bright orange tubes in blue green water
Rio Vista Park, San Marcos River. Photo by Will van Overbeek

The Slab

Kingsland

Hours:

Public access

Ticket info:

  • Free

Additional info:

  • Very little shade, no bathrooms
  • Busy on weekends, but plenty of space to spread out

Rio Vista Park

San Marcos

Hours:

6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily

Ticket info:

  • No reservations required
  • Free admission, free parking

Additional info:

  • Visitors may bring their own tubes, kayaks, canoes and paddle boards or rent one from a vendor

Zedler Mill

Luling

Hours:

  • 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday
  • Closed Saturday & Sunday

Ticket info:

  • Free admission and parking

Additional info:

  • Temporary construction at Zedler Mill; all amenities might not be currently available such as canoe/kayak rentals or shuttle services
  • Rentals and shuttles are available

The August 2022 issue of Texas Highways Magazine


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The August 2022 cover of Texas Highways Magazine, the River Issue


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