Barton Springs Pool | Austin
The 3-acre pool is fed by underground springs from the Edwards Aquifer and maintains a temperature of about 70 degrees year-round. The pool has provided visitors from Austin and surrounding areas with a respite from the Central Texas sun since it was built in the 1930s. Actor and director Robert Redford learned to swim at Barton Springs during a trip to visit family in Austin when he was a child.
Nearby attractions: Zilker Park, Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que, Umlauf Sculpture Garden
Contact info: 2201 Barton Springs Road, Austin
Hours: 5–8 a.m., swim at own risk; 8 a.m.–8 p.m., lifeguards on duty; 8–10 p.m., swim at own risk. Closed Thursdays from 9 a.m.–7 p.m. for cleaning
Cost: Infants: free; children (1–11) & seniors (62+): $1 (resident), $2 (nonresident); junior (12–17): $2 (resident), $3 (nonresident); adult (18–61): $3 (resident), $4 (nonresident)
Blue Hole | Wimberley
People have been swimming at Blue Hole for at least a century, Park Manager Lauren Shrum said. The temperature at the swimming hole stays in the low 70s year-round. Generations of swimmers have been able to rely on the presence of temperate water and rope swings at this scenic swimming spot. Blue Hole is open on weekends in May and September and daily between May 27 and Sept. 2.
Nearby attractions: The Leaning Pear, Downtown Wimberley, Duchman Family Winery
Contact info: 100 Blue Hole Lane, Wimberley
Hours: Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–6 p.m.,
July 4 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Cost: Ages 0–3: Free, ages 4–12: $5, ages 13–59: $9, age 60 and older: $5
Camping: Ten spots are available for organized groups only.
Hamilton Pool | Dripping Springs
A collapsed grotto and canyon are the distinctive natural features of Hamilton Pool, designated a preserve in 1990. A 50-foot waterfall cascades down limestone formations and into the pool, which has steady water levels even in a drought. Hamilton Pool is also popular among bird enthusiasts, who can catch a glimpse of the Golden-cheeked Warbler. The grounds also feature picnic tables and walking trails.
Nearby attractions: Twisted X Brewing Co., The Salt Lick,
West Cave Outdoor Discovery Center
Contact info: 24300 Hamilton Pool Road, Dripping Springs
Hours: 9 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, weather permitting. No swimming or entry after 5:30 p.m.
Jacob’s Well | Wimberley
Jacob’s Well is a popular wading and swimming destination that also includes a series of walking trails. Park Manager Brooke Leftwich said the an improvement project will be unveiled at a ceremony May 10. The celebration will include guided tours, birding opportunities and geocaching. Access to the well will be limited to 40 people at a time in 2014 in order to protect the sensitive nature of the area, she said.
Nearby attractions: Driftwood Estates Winery, The Salt Lick, Wimberley Glassworks
Contact info: 109 Woodacre Drive, Wimberley
Hours: 9 a.m.–9 p.m. daily
Krause Springs | Spicewood
Krause Springs is a sprawling 115-acre property that is included in the National Register of Historic Places. The 32 springs on the property have formed a natural pool that is constantly filled with 68-degree water. The property, which is open year-round, also features a manmade pool and butterfly garden, There are no lifeguards on duty, and pets are not allowed.
Nearby attractions: Opie’s BBQ, Spicewood Vineyards, Blanco
Contact info: 424 Krause Spring Road, Spicewood
Summer office hours: 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Swimming 9 a.m.–sundown
Cost: Children younger than 4: free; children (ages 4–11): $5; adults (12 and older): $7. Credit cards are not accepted.
Camping: Campsites and RV pads available with water and electricity connections.
Alcohol: Yes, but no glass containers
Rio Vista | San Marcos
In 2005, a canoer in the San Marcos River–fed swimming hole at Rio Vista Park noticed a major crack in the dam built just after the turn of the 20th century. In response, the city spent $2 million to salvage the beloved swimming hole. On Memorial Day 2006, the park reopened with three new drop structures, and it remains a hotspot for kayakers and tubers. The water, with a temperature that is consistently in the upper 60s, makes it ideal for year-round watersports.
Nearby attractions: Middleton Brewery, Hays County BBQ, San Marcos Premium Outlets
Contact info: 555 Cheatham St., San Marcos
Hours: 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily
Alcohol: Only at the park pavilion, with reservation