6 of the Best Swimming Holes in the Austin Area
Beat the heat with a refreshing afternoon relaxing at a nearby swimming hole
By David Clough
When summer sets in, Austinites turn to the rivers and lakes for relief from the sweltering heat. Ask any local and they’ll tell you about popular swimming destinations like Barton Springs Pool and Deep Eddy Pool, but the city has many more wonderful places to help you cool off. Here are six of our favorite swimming holes located around Austin:
2642 Barton Hills Drive, Austin
Beloved for its hiking trails and limestone rock climbing bluffs, the Barton Creek Greenbelt also boasts a number of spectacular swimming holes. One of the best spots to take a dip can be reached from the Gus Fruh access point on Barton Hills Drive. It’s located in a residential neighborhood, so street parking is necessary. Be aware that after heavy rainfall, the swimming hole can get quite deep.
7301 Spicewood Springs Road, Austin
This 80-acre park offers scenic views and multiple trails with many small waterfalls and ponds. A leisurely hike from the small parking lot on Spicewood Springs Road leads you to a picturesque swimming hole with rope swing. You can wade into the water if you prefer—but the swing is perfect for jumping off on a hot summer’s day.
7000 Comanche Trail, Austin, TX 78732
Nestled along the rocky shore of Lake Travis, Hippie Hollow is a “clothing optional” park that’s popular for sunbathing and swimming. Open every day of the year, entry to the park is restricted to those people 18 years and older. It’s about a 30-minute drive from downtown Austin. There is an entrance fee, however. Check the website for rates.
100 Blue Hole Lane, Wimberley
Cypress trees surround the crystal-clear water of this family-friendly swimming hole. It’s nestled inside Blue Hole Park, which offers plenty of hiking trails, picnic areas, community areas, a basketball court, volleyball court and an amphitheater. The swimming hole is sought after for its shaded waters, which make for a refreshing reprieve from the Texas sun. Blue Hole Park is about an hour from Austin, located in the town of Wimberley. Reservations are required for swimming. Check the website for fees.
1710 Camp Craft Road, Austin
Hidden in the Barton Creek Greenbelt, there’s a stunning swimming hole with small waterfalls and smoothed rocks—ideal for sunbathing or taking a leap into the cool water. Getting to this secret oasis requires a bit of a hike. Start by parking your car on Scottish Woods Trail. Take the Barton Creek Greenbelt access point down, and walk down the steep, craggy steps of The Hill of Life Trail. Keep in mind you’ll also have to walk back up at the end of the day. The route to Sculpture Falls is a little under 1.5 miles—not for the faint of heart or out-of-shape. But if you make it down to the water you’ll be rewarded with a little slice of paradise.
UPDATE: Jacob’s Well is currently closed due to low water levels
1699 Mt Sharp Road, Wimberley
Located in the town of Wimberley, Jacob’s Well is an artesian spring that releases thousands of gallons of water each day. The crisp, clear water gushes from the Trinity Aquifer, which flows from an extensive underground cave system. Jacob’s Well is considered one of the largest fully submerged caves in Texas. It’s a popular spot to visit, both for its geological significance and the swimming water, which maintains a constant temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. This high-demand swimming hole is less than an hour’s drive from downtown Austin. Reservations and a fee are required to take a dip. If you’re not planning on swimming, there’s no fee to enter the park or visit the area.