Texas natives know a thing or two about not just surviving the summer heat, but getting the most out of the hottest (we’re talking triple digits) months of the year. While waterslides and concrete pools are great go-to’s in a pinch, nothing quite beats casting a line or taking a dip in a natural oasis, courtesy of the great Texas landscape. Next time you need to cool down, consider beating the heat with one of our favorite swimming holes or fishing spots!
Within the massive 358 acre expanse of Zilker Park in Austin, TX, 3 acres is dedicated to Barton Springs Pool. Fed naturally from an underground spring, Barton Springs stays at a perfect 68 to 70 degree range for a sunny afternoon dip, and with depths reaching between 0’ to 18’, there’s plenty of room for both the little ones and the more adventurous deep-water explorers! Layout in the sun afterward in the surrounding grassy knolls under the lush trees, or stop by a nearby food truck for an afternoon snack.
Bastrop State Park
Bastrop State Park has been open to visitors for more than 70 years, and with activities for all ages, it’s no wonder they keep coming back! For fishing enthusiasts or first-time kiddo’s casting a line, Bastrop State Park is home to the half-acre Lake Mina, and visitors can borrow fishing equipment from the park as well as fish license-free from the shore. You can also beat the heat from a long day of fishing by jumping in the on-site pool, or even extend the fun by staying overnight at one of the historic cabins.
Located in Dripping Springs, TX, Hamilton Pool is a beautiful swimming hole with a large cavern, bright blue waters, plenty of scenic trails and even a waterfall! The pool was created thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to erosion, and it has created a great gathering spot for friends and family to relax in the shade and float in the water on a classic Texas summer afternoon.
Pedernales Falls State Park
The Pedernales River flows around and over blocks of limestone, creating swift waterfalls amongst calmer pools of water. The park doesn’t allow swimming in the actual falls for safety purposes, but there’s plenty of river for wading and tubing on a hot day! The river can get turbulent after heavy rains, so consider keeping an eye on the weather before you plan your trip. If you’re up for a hike, the six-mile Wolf Mountain Trail is a challenge, but you can stop by Bee Creek or Arrowhead Pool to cool-off along the way as you take in the majesty of the Texas Hill Country.
Jacob’s Well is a natural spring pool featuring a 140-foot deep underwater cave system, with water that is a year-round 68 degrees, making it a perfect stop for a quick cool-down in Wimberley, TX. You do have to make a reservation before your trip as a part of an effort to avoid overcrowding and promote restoration efforts at this gorgeous natural landmark, but it’s well worth the effort to see in person!
Tyler State Park
A “Tranquil Haven in the Pines”, Tyler State Park has wondrous 100-foot tall trees, 64-acres of a spring-fed lake, and plenty of woods to relax in. If you’re looking for the perfect place to catch some fish, the lake has bass, catfish, and perch from their three fishing piers. You don’t need a fishing license to fish from the shore, and they offer fishing rods, reels, and tackle boxes if you don’t have your own. If you want to extend your family fishing trip into a weekend of fun, they have cabins and boats for rent as well!
Balmorhea State Park
If you’re looking for the ultimate in spring-fed swimming, Balmorhea State Park has the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool, perfect for relaxing, wading or scuba diving! The park was built in the 1930s, and almost 90 years later people are still coming from far and wide to experience the crystalline waters. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, over 15 million gallons of water flow through the pool every day, with a pleasant temperature between 72 and 76 degrees year-round.