It’s safe to say that summers in Austin can get pretty damn hot. With an annual high average of nearly 80 degrees fahrenheit, August is when the city hits its highest temps -- a near 100 degrees. With all that sun, there’s nothing like the sweet relief of plunging into a pool of chilled, fresh waters, so we’ve compiled a list of the top 6 most incredible swimming holes around Austin.
Hamilton Pool is located forty minutes west of Austin, and is home to a 45-foot waterfall and resulting swimming pool. Visitors are welcome to picnic, snap photos in front or behind the waterfall, sunbathe and swim, assuming the water quality meets the standards. If swimming isn’t your thing or you just want to work up to the reward, you can also hike along the Pedernales River to see wildlife and the surrounding natural beauty. Note that you must make a reservation online to enter the area, and reserved spots last from either 9 am – 1 pm or 2 pm – 6 pm. One vehicle can enter for $26 total.
Also 40 minutes west of Austin lies an artesian spring known as Jacob’s Well, which offers a pristine place for visitors to hike, picnic and swim. Known for its deep waters, brave individuals often dive into the well from a rock bed above, while others choose to watch while wading in the edging waters. With only 300 swimmers allowed admittance per day, visitors must make a reservation prior to arriving, and costs range from $5- $9.
Barton Springs Pool
Located less than 5 minutes south of downtown Austin is the haven that is Barton Springs Pool. Unlike most community pools, this one is filled with water from underground springs, and maintains an approximate temperature of 70 degrees year round. The pool provides space for lounging in grass, hanging in shallow areas, swimming laps or diving in deeper areas. Be on the look-out for the endangered salamander that can only be found in Barton Springs. Fees range from free to $8.
San Marcos River
For those interested in cooling off with minimal energy exerted (perfect for those hot, lazy days), travel 40 minutes south of Austin to San Marcos and tube the river. The San Marcos River remains 72 degrees year-round and is clear enough that you can view the bottom as you float along. Bring your own tube and make the ten-minute walk back from the end to float again or rent tubes for $10 from The Lions Club and hop on their bus to head back to the start. The float is one-mile long and varies in time depending on how quickly the river is moving.
Barton Creek Greenbelt
If you travel ten minutes south of downtown, you’ll find the Barton Creek Greenbelt. After parking alongside the highway, a short hike down the path leads you to the cool waters of the creek where you can relax and unwind. On any given day, locals and tourists are seen swimming, sunbathing, enjoying picnics or playing with their dogs, but for those looking for a little more adventure, you can hike 7.9 miles at the greenbelt. Along the way you’ll pass waterfalls, climbing walls and peaceful areas to sit and take in the views. Entry is free.
Take a trip to Europe without leaving Austin at all by visiting Hippie Hollow. The park is located 26 minutes northwest of Austin and is clothing optional, so you can experiment with showing a little skin. Whether you’re a seasoned nudist or experiencing it for the first time, Hippie Hollow welcomes all and judges none (just make sure you’re careful when taking pictures). Visitors can sunbathe and swim for $15 per car.
Dive into California's Burney Falls: