8 of Austin's Best Natural Springs and Swimming Holes
In and around town, keep cool all summer long
By Eilish O'Sullivan,
4:15PM, Fri. May 17, 2019
Did you somehow forget just how hot it gets during the summer here in Austin? Well, Mother Nature is about to remind you. Be prepared by getting reacquainted with these springs and natural pools. Ignore them at your own risk.
Did you know you can swim for free from 5-8am and 8-10pm year-round at Barton Springs Pool, Austin’s underground springs-fed pool that’s always chilling at around 68 degrees? During regular operating hours, 8am-8pm, the pool costs range from free to $9 depending on your age and Austin address. You can also enjoy the free side, which some may say is the “fun side” because there are usually puppies. And, what’s better than people watching? Puppy watching, that’s what.
If you're into aquatic workouts, or just like watching other people work out, then Deep Eddy is right in your lane – or should I say multiple lanes? The entrance fee for this pool – the oldest in the state, built in 1915 – ranges from $2 to $9.
With 81 campsites, six cabins, and a youth camping area, McKinney Falls State Park makes for the perfect primitive staycation. You can also hike or take a bike ride through the park’s nearly nine miles of trails. If you’re not completely exhausted after that, you can take a dip in one of the park’s multiple swimming holes. The fee to get into the park is $6 daily for adults and free for children under 12.
If you want to enjoy a more low-key summer activity, then you should visit this "secret beach." The way you get to the beach is to arrive at Roy G. Guerrero’s Colorado River Park, park in the Montopolis Youth Sports Complex lot, keep right on the walking trail and head down the steep hill. It’s illegal to swim or float, but that doesn’t stop people from wading in the water or playing in the sand.
If clothes aren’t your cup of tea, then Hippie Hollow is the perfect place for you. This park is clothing optional, but you have to be over 18 to get in. $15 gets a carload of free-spirited folks into the park.
Don’t let the fact that this mysterious black hole in Wimberley has drawn multiple divers to their deaths deter you – Jacob’s Well can be fun! The second-largest fully submerged cave in Texas, Jacob’s Well is open daily, 8am-6pm, with entrance fees ranging from $5 to $9 – reservations recommended.
With scenic waterfalls that make for the perfect Instagram selfies, it’s pretty hard to snag a reservation at Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs. Reservations can be made online by paying $11, and then you will pay $15 per vehicle in cash upon arrival.
With 32 springs on the property, Krause Springs in Spicewood makes for the perfect place to float, rope swing, and jump off cliffs. Above the main swimming hole sits a man-made pool, but you can still be one with nature because it’s spring-fed. And if you thought this sweet summer spot couldn’t get any better, you’d be wrong, because it also has a hidden waterfall and a campsite to appease your appetite for a pleasant primitive experience. Admission is $8 for anyone 12 years and older, $5 for children, and free for children under 4 years old.