If you have been looking for free places to swim in Austin or googling ‘swimming holes near me’, you are in the right place!
Texas is known for a lot of things and one of them is relentlessly hot summers. The temperatures are rising in Austin and across the state. Luckily, there are also many beautiful, refreshing, clear rivers, lakes, and even spring-fed pools that will offer a relaxing reprieve from the heat. Sometimes nothing will do, other than a dip into some crisp, cool water.
Whether you prefer waterfalls, lakes, or pools, here are some of the best swimming holes in Texas.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in HoustonOnTheCheap.com. Content has been modified for Austinot readers.
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Texas Swimming Holes near Austin – Under an hour from Austin!
The City Tube Chute is an experience that is definitely worth checking out. Visitors can hire a tube and float along the Comal River. While the waves are lazy and calm upstream, as you float down towards the chute, things will get wilder. The chute is a built-in slide that’s part of the dam. As you might expect, the City Tube Chute is a prime party spot on the weekends. If you’re looking for a lazy, calm experience you might want to visit in the morning or earlier in the week to avoid congestion. The park is currently open from 9 am to 8 pm daily with limited capacity.
Where: 250 Meusebach St, New Braunfels, TX 78130
Distance from Austin: ~ 47 mins.
Krause Springs is so much more than just a swimming hole. Located about 30 miles outside of Austin, in a campground, Krause Springs is a swimming hole surrounded by more than 30 natural springs. Above the swimming hole there is a strong waterfall. Part of the springs feed into a man-made pool. Families can also visit the Butterfly Garden or check out the tree swing to launch into the end of the natural swimming hole. Krause Springs is an excellent spot for a family day trip.
They have instituted some new rules and guidelines for visitors to follow, such as staying 6 feet apart, hand sanitizer stations throughout the facilities, and more.
Where: 424 County Road 404, Spicewood, TX 78669
Distance from Austin: ~ 45 mins.
Most families in Texas know of or have been to Jacob’s Well. This beloved swimming hole is practically a Texas institution as it has been used since before the days of early settlers. Jacob’s Well is four meters wide and pumps thousands of gallons of water into the Cypress Creek, which flows throughout Wimberley. Complete with a cavern for expert divers, Jacob’s Well is considered a unique feature of the state, as caverns aren’t common in the area.
Note: Hamilton Pool is temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
It’s hard to do justice to Hamilton Pool in just words. At one point, the body of water that is Hamilton Pool was located underground. However, after eons of time, the ceiling collapsed, and it left the pool partly covered by a dome-style roof. Water flows over the roof, creating an amazing waterfall that feeds the pool below. There are plenty of spots to relax in the sun, too. You’ll want to make a reservation if you plan to experience the wonder of Hamilton Pool.
Where: 24300 Hamilton Road, Dripping Springs, TX 78620
Distance from Austin: ~ 43 mins.
Texas Swimming Holes near Austin – Under 3 hours from Austin!
Tonkawa Falls offers a magnificent 15-foot waterfall that rushes into a natural swimming hole. You’ll enjoy overhanging bluffs, the spray of the waterfall, and the natural beauty of this serene spot. The Falls are located in a city-owned park. There is a picnic area available, with grassy spots and rock tables for when you’re not in the water. The park also allows for swimming during the rainy season.
Where: 524-550 E 4th St, Crawford, TX 76638
Distance from Austin: ~ 1 hr. & 57 mins.
Blue Lagoon is often compared to the Caribbean, thanks to the bright blue waters. This swimming hole can be found at the end of a ranch road, so it also serves as a hidden secret for everyone that’s not from the area. The limestone quarry features scuba training. This is one of the closest swimming holes to Houston, which will be a benefit if you want a fast day trip. Blue Lagoon is open year-round. Reservations are required for scuba clients. This swimming hole is for swimming only, so no boats, fishing, or dogs are allowed.
Where: 649 Pinedale Road, Huntsville TX 77340
Distance from Austin: ~ 2 hrs. & 54 mins.
Texas Swimming Holes near Austin – Over 3 hours from Austin!
Lake Houston Wilderness Park (LHWP) is a beautiful, lushly forested expanse of nearly 5,000 acres, located three miles east of New Caney (approximately 30 miles north of Houston) off Hwy-59. Lake Houston Wilderness Park is the only park in the department that allows overnight stays in cabins and campsites.
Most of the park is heavily forested with over 20 miles of trails which provide a quiet escape from the bustling city. The park offers a variety of outdoor experiences for people of all ages including camping, hiking, trail running, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, birding, fishing and horseback riding trails (visitors must bring own bikes, fishing equipment, watercraft, and horses).
Where: 25840 FM 1485, New Caney, TX 77357
Distance from Austin: ~ 3 hrs. & 14 mins.
Texas Swimming Holes near Austin – Over 3 hours from Austin!
Lake Longhorn serves the Houston area and the entire Texas Gulf Coast. If you enjoy scuba diving, triathlon training, open water swimming, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, or anything else needing a large body of water then Lake Longhorn is the multisport lake for you. Lake Longhorn is a 49-acre freshwater lake and has 20 acres of green space dedicated to serving the lake in League City, Texas for your enjoyment. We offer recreational scuba diving, scuba diving training, triathlon swimming, triathlon swim training, (SUP) Stand up paddle boarding and kayaking in the Houston and Texas Bay Area. Lake Longhorn is striving to become the best scuba diving training lake in Houston dive site and open water training lake in the Houston area and Texas Gulf Coast.
Where: 2391 Gun Range Road, League City, TX 77573
Distance from Austin: ~ 3 hrs. & 16 mins.
Burger’s Lake will take you back to the days of summer camp. The outdoor feel is phenomenal and there are plenty of available activities for the entire family. This one-acre lake features water slides, water chutes, fountains, diving boards, and a trapeze to launch yourself into the cool water. Multiple beach areas are available, and the large trees provide some shade, when needed. Picnic tables and grills are on-site, though as you might imagine, they fill up fast. Admission is $15 per person (all ages)
Where: 1200 Meandering Rd, Fort Worth, TX 76114
Distance from Austin: ~ 3 hrs. & 38 mins.
The Balmorhea State Park might be surrounded by miles of West Texas desert, but that makes the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool seem that much more inviting! The water is always a comfortable 72-76 degrees year-round. 15 million gallons of water flow through the pool every day, so the water is fresh. It’s also so clear that you can spend the day scuba diving or snorkeling. If you want to make a weekend of it, there are more than 30 campsites in the area, as well as an on-site lodge.
Where: 9207 TX-17, Toyahvale, TX 79786
Distance from Austin: ~ 6 hrs. & 2 mins.
What’s your favorite way to cool off? Let us know your favorite Texas swimming holes in the comments!
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