Krause Springs: A Superb Spot for Late-Summer Swims, Picnics and Camping
Alex Reichek visits a historical property that’s filled with natural wonders to explore
Story and photographs by Alex Reichek
Alex Reichek’s blog, Chekmark Eats, is filled with recommendations on where to dine, drink and experience the best of Austin, where she lives now, and New York City where she lived for eight years after attending UT, as well as discoveries made on her travels around the world. This year, with COVID-19 changing up everyone’s plans, Reichek is exploring the Texas Hill Country and sharing her day-trip escapes with Tribeza readers. Be sure to visit Chekmark Eats and follow her on Instagram.
There’s a chill in the air and the 100-degree temperatures are (probably) behind us for the year. But any Central Texan who’s sweat it out at past ACL Festivals in mid-October (we miss you, ACL Fest!) knows there is still time in 2020 to visit the popular swimming holes and campgrounds at Krause Springs, located just 45 minutes from Austin in Spicewood.
Owned by the Krause Family for over 50 years, the 115-acre property is listed on the National Registry of Historical Sites. It’s available for camping, RVs and swimming with a fee of $8 cash per person (kids under 4 are free, up to 11 is $5; camping and RV fees are $15 and less for kids), paid as visitors drive through the large gate and then down a dirt road that lets you know you are in for a great adventure.
Try to arrive before 10 a.m. so you don’t have to wait in line to find a parking spot. Post-Labor Day, it should be less crowded, but when my friend, New Waterloo Pastry Chef Amanda Rockman, and I left at 1 p.m. earlier this summer, it looked hard to get in. Plus, entry is limited – it’s one in, one out in their only open lot – to make it easy to stay safe and maintain social distancing.
The first thing you’ll see when you walk down past the Butterfly Gardens and check-in area is the man-made, rectangular swimming pool filled with natural spring water. This is where the kiddos hang out. There are also tons of grills and picnic tables to spread out and roast some burgers or whatever else you want for a late-summer cookout.
Heading down the steps, you’ll see the enchanted and brilliant green springs area. There’s an array of options here whether it’s joining the wild people jumping off the high rocks, the gang on the rope swing or the folks leisurely hanging out around the water.
Beware, the water is cold (which I love!). Make sure to bring water shoes. The grounds are a bit rough, so it’s nice to be able to have some support on your feet. Also, don’t be alarmed when you get out of the water and see your skin brought some of the dirt along. Luckily, there are showers upstairs in the bathrooms to rinse off before you head back to town. FYI: Pets and glass are not allowed – and they do check.
Bonus! After swimming and walking around the Krause Spring grounds, Amanda and I were craving something sweet. To continue the adventure, we took a little detour on our way back and stopped at the cutest and most creative cake place in Buda (just 20 minutes from Austin) called Sweet Cakes 4 U (302 S. Main St., Suite 101, in Buda). They make the best slices of cake with unbelievable flavor combinations. This might be the best cake I’ve had near Austin! The four daily specials usually sell out on the early side before the six flavors from the everyday selection. You can check their Instagram for the menu each day. My favorite was the Chocolate Caramel Slice and the Lemon Cream Cheese. Other flavors have included Pumpkin Cream, Wedding Cake, Banana Nutella and Italian Cream Cake. The icing is decadent – just sweet enough – and the cakes are all super moist! Skip the cookie and load up on a few slices.
Krause Springs, located at 424 County Road 404 in Spicewood, Texas, is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.