Texas isn’t just a big hot summer wasteland. Our state is home to some great places to escape the heat. In fact they’re all over our state, even in some places you might not expect. Here are 10 of my favorites.
Balmorhea State Park – Balmorhea, TX
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.