Best Swimming Holes in Austin

Sep 3, 2012 by     3 Comments    Posted under: Skip Town

If you’re looking for a great swimming hole this Labor Day, these are the ones most likely to be crowded…and with good reason.

1. The Blue Hole (Wimberley)

Though this is a bit of a trip since it’s about 45 minutes southwest of Austin, it has some really wonderful features. It’s easy to walk into (seriously, no hiking necessary), it tends not to be very crowded before 10 a.m., the water is actually clear, there are two rope-like metal swings, and there’s even a convenient collection of picnic tables next to the water for those who pack a lunch.

Suggested Arrival Time: before 10 a.m.
Cost: $8 per adult, $4 for seniors and children
What to Bring: cash or credit card, sunscreen, towel, goggles, floats, water, packed lunch
Water: The water is actually clear! You can wear goggles and see fish and everything!
Bottom: There’s no gross algae or kelp-ish stuff to walk on—it’s all rocks.
Restrictions: No alcohol or pets allowed.

2. Hamilton Pool (Dripping Springs)

This pool is most famous for its grotto, which was formed when the dome of an underground river collapsed because of erosion thousands of years ago. There are also many interesting rock formations and waterfalls! It is somewhat of a challenging hike to get to the pool though.

Suggested Arrival Time: before 9 a.m.
Cost: $10 per car
Water: The water is not clear but instead a murky green color, which can be somewhat disconcerting when foot-long catfish decide to cuddle with you.
Bottom: There’s no gross algae or kelp-ish stuff to walk on—it’s all rocks.
What to bring: cash, sunscreen, towel, floats, water, packed lunch
Restrictions: Don’t cliff dive off the 50-foot drop into the pool—we’ve seen someone arrested for that! No alcohol or pets allowed.

3. Barton Springs

The springs are popular for a reason! Aside from the fact that it can handle a higher volume of people than the other swimming holes on this list, it also has large grassy areas where Austinites can lounge in the shade, so you can take a break from the chilly water with guitars and tarot cards.

Suggested Arrival Time: Whenever, just call the Barton Springs hotline (512-867-3080) to make sure it isn’t closed due to algae conditions.
Cost: $3 per adult, $1–2 for seniors and children
Water: The water is usually clear and goggles are encouraged, though some sections of the pool are covered in kelp-like matter that can bother some to view while swimming above.
Bottom: The bottom is kelp-ish with algae in some areas and mossy rocks in others.
What to bring: cash, sunscreen, water, goggles, a large towel or blanket to spread on grass and possibly a yoga mat to make sitting on the ground more comfortable.
Restrictions: No alcohol, food or pets.

4. Krause Springs (Spicewood)

This place exactly embodies a good old-fashioned swimming hole: there’s a rope swing, a natural waterfall and some boulders to climb on. However, it does require a slight hike down, and it is very challenging to get in and out of the water due to slippery rocks.

Suggested Arrival Time: before 10 a.m.
Cost: $6 per adult, $4 per child
Water: The water is murky.
Bottom: The bottom is a mix of large boulders and algae.
What to bring: cash, sunscreen, towel, water, water shoes (a must here if algae freaks you out!), alcohol, packed lunch and floats (also good for avoiding algae if you find water shoes too dorky).
Restrictions: No pets or glass containers.

5. Deep Eddy

This popular swimming hole turned popular spring-fed pool circa 1915. It’s a historical landmark and a big deal. There’s even a song about it (“Deep Eddy Blues” by Jimmie Dale Gilmore.) There are also movies played here in the summer, most recently the last Harry Potter installment.

Suggested Arrival Time: Whenever, but always be prepared for a crowd!
Cost: $3 per adult, seniors and children $1–2
Water: The water is clear, and goggles are encouraged.
Bottom: The bottom is concrete.
What to bring: cash, sunscreen, water, goggles and a towel
Restrictions: No alcohol.

What about you, Austin? What’s your favorite swimming holes?

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3 Comments + Add Comment

  • I think The Blue Hole is my favorite! As a super pale person, I love all the shade those trees provide.

  • Thanks for the great tips! Barton Springs will always have a special place in my heart but I will have to try some of those others, if I can just get up early enough on the weekend.

  • The Blue Hole is absolutely my favorite! There are so many things about it that just puts it above the rest, like actually clear water, a rock bottom and yes! I forgot about the shade! I’ve actually been there twice this summer and even took my parents when they visited. I also love Hamilton Pool. It’s certainly the prettiest swimming hole I’ve ever been to.

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