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Where to Go Swimming Near Austin

Sep 22nd, 2021

It's not too late to take advantage of the cool, crystal-clear water that flows through Texas Hill Country. With swimming spots galore, it can be hard to find the one you want to visit for yourself while still making the day off worthwhile.

So, in true form, we've come to your aid with some of the coolest swimming spots around Austin! Check out our favorites below to find the location, scenery and adventure you’re looking for, and all of them are not too far from our Austin apartments! 

5 swimming spots around Austin

Blue Hole Park

100 Blue Hole Park, Georgetown

Blue Hole Park is a gorgeous place to swim, with natural limestone cliffs, a crystal-clear lagoon, gentle trails and plenty of space for picnics, lawn games and more! 

The lagoon is located along the south fork of the San Gabriel River, just a half-hour drive north of Austin in the city of Georgetown. It’s a local favorite, as it’s easy to get to and requires no entrance fee or reservations. 

With great power, though, comes great responsibility. The water levels are not monitored by city officials, nor are the bacteria levels in the river. That means that you run the risk of swimming in contaminated water, or of being swept away in any of the flash currents that occasionally rip through the San Gabriel.

As with any natural area, the landscape’s survival depends on visitors who keep the place clean and well-maintained. This means no jumping off the cliffs, no diving from the rocks, no pets in the water and no alcohol or glass on the premises. Blue Hole Park is a great spot to swim, so let’s keep it that way!

Barton Springs Pool

2101 Barton Springs Road

This historic pool has been a local favorite since before the city of Austin was even established!

The natural Barton Springs had been an important part of life for the indigenous peoples who lived and travelled through the lands long before settlers ever stepped foot upon the continent; like the nomadic Tonkawa people who used the bubbling pools as sites for purification rituals and religious gatherings.

The 18th century saw Spanish settlers arrive in the region and set up missions alongside the springs. In the early 1900s, millionaire Andrew Zilker bought a large parcel of land that included the springs, eventually selling 300 acres of that land to the City of Austin in 1917. Those 300 acres became modern-day Zilker Park, and after the springs were dammed in 1920, the public was able to enjoy the Barton Springs Pool to its heart's desire!

Barton Creek Greenbelt

If you like the idea of swimming in the gorgeous waters of Barton Creek but find the traffic and hubbub of Barton Springs Pool a little too much for your liking, then don’t worry! There’s plenty more along the Barton Creek Greenbelt to keep you happy and splashing for hours!

Just past the first pool is the start of the trailhead that winds through Zilker Park. Hike along this trail for a mile or so and you will find a much quieter Campbell’s Hole, nestled among the trees and boulders of the creek. 

Gus Fruh is another 1.5 miles down the trail, although there is also a quicker access from the Gus Fruh parking area in the Barton Hills neighborhood. Ancient limestone cliffs —the remnants of Austin’s ancient underwater volcanoes— line this shady swimming spot, and you’re sure to spot a few climbers scaling the rocky bluffs while you paddle in the water. 

Finally, Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls make up some of Austin’s more well-known swimming holes, and for good reason! The limestone shoals, smooth from eons’ worth of erosion, create picturesque swimming spots that attract waders and paddlers from all over the city. These swimming spots are great, of course, but expect higher-than-average traffic at these spots.

Pace Bend Park

2805 Pace Bend Road, North Spicewood

Overlooking Lake Travis and within a few minutes of Austin and the other Texas Highland Lakes, Pace Bend Park is the perfect place for a weekend on the water. 

Campsites on the water’s edge give you instant access to the swimming hole that is Lake Travis, as well as the many boating and floating activities the lake offers. Pace Bend Park itself covers nearly 1,300 acres of the peninsula it occupies, meaning there is ample opportunity for beach lounging and private swimming spots. And, when you’re done splashing for the day, you can make use of the miles of biking, hiking and equestrian trails weaving through the park.

Jacob’s Well Natural Area

Texas 78676

Located about 40 minutes outside Austin proper, Jacob’s Well Natural Area is the place to go for those picturesque swimming spots you’ve been craving. Lined by limestone bluffs and shady foliage, the dark and foreboding well is so much more than just an ominous depression in the riverbed.

Jacob’s Well marks the beginning of Cypress Creek, with thousands of gallons’ worth of fresh water pouring into the riverbed from the subterranean spring each minute! That spring pumps into the creek via a massive underwater cave; the longest in Texas, in fact! The creek eventually joins with the Blanco River a few miles west, where it eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

Swimming over Jacob’s Well is a daunting experience indeed. The crystal-clear water perfectly illuminates the darkness of the seemingly-bottomless cave beneath the surface, so as long as you don’t think about the creatures that live below the surface of the Earth, then you’ll be perfectly fine!

Also, reservations are required to swim in the well during peak months (May-September), so be sure to reserve a spot before heading out there.

Mark your maps, plan your trips, pack your sunscreen and make a point to head out to these swimming holes around Austin for a great day out in the water! 


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Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/Free-Photos

Author of Article

Colleen Ford is a South African who now lives in Spokane, Washington. She loves to travel, camp (in warm weather) and bake.

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