There’s no better option to escape the blaring heat of Texas than to find a water hole where you can find refuge. Ranging between natural wonders and man-made creations, there are a lot of Texas water holes to be discovered.
Whether you prefer hiking on challenging trails, paddling, swimming, or just having a picnic with your loved ones, you’ll probably find a Texas water hole that fits your needs.
Just beware of every place’s rules, limitations, and reservations beforehand so as not to ruin your weekend getaway!
We’ve compiled a list of the best water holes in texas for a nice short vacation in summer. These water holes incorporate a variety of recreational activities, camping sites, and beautiful scenery.
Arguably the most famous water hole in Texas, Jacobs Well is the entrance to the longest and second-largest cavern system in Texas. Although it’s considered dangerous -swimming in the cave isn’t particularly safe- people still find Jacob’s Well alluring.
This beautiful water hole is a dream destination for adventure lovers who’d indulge in a safe cliff jump in the 35-feet deep turquoise water. Even the faint-hearted can enjoy a hike under the shade of trees as a refuge from the sweltering weather of Wimberley, Texas.
The place is small with a high demand from tourists, so you’ll need to book a spot beforehand.
- Jacobs Well is considered to be one of the most dangerous diving spots in the world.
- The spot is open for swimming from May to September only.
- You need a reservation for water access. No reservation is needed for hiking.
The beauty of the scenery in the Hamilton Pool Preserve can’t be overstated. The Hamilton water hole is situated below a 50-foot cascade that feeds it, surrounded by jade-colored vegetation.
The water’s descent over rocks has helped form a U-shaped frame of limestone slabs surrounding the pool. Lucky for you, these are the perfect spots for a nice sun bath.
The only downside to this place is that camping isn’t allowed. It’s more of a one-day stay.
- Sometimes swimming is banned because of falling rocks or water bacteria levels.
- Perfect for hikes and picnics. Guided tours are available, too.
- Pets aren’t allowed.
Owned by the Krause family, Krause Springs is a campground about 30 miles from Austin. The park spans 115 acres of mesmerizing water and lush vegetation with 32 springs feeding a natural swimming hole and a waterfall.
You can swim in the springs or the man-made pool fed by them. The springs guarantee that the temperature stays at a constant 68 °F with no risk of drought.
If you prefer camping, you can stay at one of the 24 RV sites there, with water and electricity available. Primitive camping is allowed, too.
- Listed in the National Registry of Historical Sites.
- Almost accessible all year round for swimming.
- Rocks are a bit slippery, so pack your water shoes.
Located in Zilker Park, Barton Springs is the Austinites’ favorite swimming spot and it’s not hard to see why. The spring-fed pool extends over 100 feet and maintains a cool temperature of 68 to 70°F during the hot summer of Texas.
The water is clean and lifeguards are available starting at 8:00 am, making it the perfect spot for a quick family retreat in summer.
Fun fact: it’s believed that legendary movie star Robert Redford learned to swim in Barton Springs when he was five!
- The water is relatively cold.
- Shuttles to Zilker Park are available on weekends
- You can visit their educational exhibit (Splash!) for a brief history lesson about the place.
Mixing swimming and hiking activities, Pedernales Falls State Park is another scenic spot in Texas, 30 miles west of Austin. You can swim in the emerald water of Pedernales River or embark on a hike on Juniper Ridge Trail to explore the area. This one is for the adventurous folks out there.
Swimming at Pedernales Falls requires a 1.5-mile hike featuring some steep slopes that aren’t the easiest to navigate. Horseback riding is another popular activity there throughout this rugged trail. You should be experienced, though.
- The river is prone to flash flooding. If you notice the water getting muddy, get out.
- Ideal spot for birdwatching.
Situated at the conjunction of Williamson Creek and Onion trees, McKinney Falls is another popular spot for a family trip, 15 minutes away from downtown Austin.
We wouldn’t call water flowing over 10-foot limestone rock formings “falls” per se, but still, they provide a nice refuge from Austin’s heat with a nice backdrop of cypress trees. The park is open daily from 8 am to 10 pm for swimming, but you need to reserve ahead of time.
- Onion creek might flood after rainfall so it’s better to contact them before you go.
- In the upper and lower falls areas, food, alcohol, and coolers aren’t allowed.
- You need a permit for camping.
The name of this water hole kind of gives it away; it’s a swimming area half an hour away from downtown Austin, where swimming suits are optional. Only adults are allowed. This is the place for you if you’d like to chill, do some naked sunbathing, or try skinny dipping.
Hippie Hollow park is located on the shore of Lake Travis. Because it’s a legally nude beach, this is not a suitable destination for families. Apart from some occasional gawking from passing boats, you should be okay.
- Bring water shoes because it’s mostly jagged rocks there.
- Rocks are slippery so be careful when getting out of the water.
- Pets aren’t allowed.
Can you believe that the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool resides in Texas?
Balmorhea State Park extends over 46 acres with a central pool that’s 1.75 acres long and 25 feet deep. It’s estimated that 15 million gallons of water flow from the springs to this pool per day.
The pool is mostly famous for scuba diving and snorkeling. However, you have to bring your own equipment. Also, there are no lifeguards available.
- The oasis is rich in fish and turtles.
- The water is free of harsh chemicals and chlorine.
- You can go rock hunting for Balmorhea Blue Agate.
Another perfect Texas spot for a weekend getaway with family, Inks Lake State Park extends over a vast 803 acres with a sparkling lake and a beautiful 9-mile walking trail.
Most people go there for hiking, where there’s a handful of trails that go through shady forests. Trails range between 0.2 miles, like Devil’s Waterhole Nature Trail, and 1.5 hours, like Pecan Flats and Woodland Trails.
- There’s a no-wake zone for paddling.
- Over 200 campsites are available for accommodation.
- If you have time, check out Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge for an exciting journey exploring wildlife.
After being on the verge of demolition because of residential development, the city of Wimberly saved Blue Hole and developed a 126-park for recreational activities to become a true gem of Wimberly later on.
Blue Hole park is open every day from 8 am to sunset for free. You can hike in the 4.5 miles of trails, bike paths, and community pavilion all year through, but swimming is limited to specific timings.
- Reservation is required.
- Beware of slippery roads.
- Alcohol and smoking are prohibited in the park.
Despite the spooky name, kids love to take a dip at the Devil’s Waterhole in the Inks Lake State Park, where they use the craggy rocks as launch pads to the water beneath.
You can hike through the canyon or swim your way to the waterhole, which is open for canoeing, paddle boating, kayaking, skiing, and diving. Anglers can enjoy fishing for crappie, bass, and catfish there.
- There are around 200 campsites around the lake (primitive and cabins)
- Kayaks and canoes are available for rent.
- No lifeguards are available in the area. Swim and Dive at your own risk!
There’s a lot to do in the 2-mile Frio River in Hill County. You can rent a kayak, operate a paddle boat, laze in a canoe, fish, or geocache. If you’re more of an on-land person, you’ll enjoy hiking through this scenic terrain.
A park built in the 30s must have some traditions; since the 40s, people made it a tradition to gather at the park’s concession building for a jukebox dance on hot summer nights. This tradition is kept to this day.
You should get there as early as you can, though. These events are as busy as a grand central station!
- Burgers of the Garner Grill are a must-try.
- There are shelters, campsites, and cabins for overnight visitors.
- Visit Briscoe-Garner Museum to learn about famous texas politicians.
- Jacobs Well: hayscountytx.com
- Birds in Pedernales Falls: ebird.org
- Garner State Park Campsites: tpwd.texas.gov
- Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge: fws.gov
Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.