Can you feel the heat? Summer is certainly here in the Texas Hill Country. That means it’s time to cool off with friends and family at one of the dozens of natural swimming holes and lakes in the region. If you grew up in the area, it’s probably something you’ve been doing every summer since you were old enough to put on a set of water wings. If you are new to the Texas Hill Country, it’s time to discover one of the many benefits of living in our area.
Just where is the Texas Hill Country? It’s west of Austin and north of San Antonio. One of the great things about Santa Rita Ranch is that we’re close enough to downtown Austin that you can just jaunt down there, but we’re also located in the Hill Country with plenty of access to nature and some of the best swimming holes in Texas.
In fact, there are so many great places to cool off and take a dip that it can be hard to know them all. That’s why we’ve chosen a few of our favorites from a long list of the best swimming holes and best swimming lakes in Texas, ranked by their proximity to Santa Rita Ranch. This way, you can choose one that’s close by for a quick dip, or pack a picnic lunch and make it a day trip with the family. Either way, these are some of the best swimming holes in Texas, and none of them are very far from us here on the Ranch, so get ready to make a splash!
Best Swimming Holes in Texas
This scenic lagoon is just 12 miles from Santa Rita Ranch and only a few blocks from historic downtown Georgetown. It’s a favorite swimming spot that’s also bordered by plenty of restaurants and shops, making it a perfect day trip destination. Besides the swimming hole, the park boasts picnic and wading areas, public restrooms, and beautiful limestone bluffs. Best of all, there’s no entry fee, so you can come and go as you please!
Located 22 miles from the Ranch, this shady park north of Austin is known for its hiking trails, but it also features an absolutely unbeatable swimming hole on a wide part of Bull Creek, complete with rope swing and natural waterfall!
Not all the best swimming holes in Texas are natural. Located 32 miles from Santa Rita Ranch in Austin, TX, the Deep Eddy is the oldest constructed pool in Texas! Originally built in 1915 around a natural swimming hole, the Deep Eddy pool is ideal for those who want to get some laps in while the kids go wading. One warning: The spring-fed water is chilly, which is great on a hot day, but it takes a little getting used to.
Right next to Deep Eddy Pool—and just 33 miles from Santa Rita Ranch—is Barton Springs, located just outside of downtown Austin in Zilker Park. This massive and popular swimming hole measures a full three acres of open water, fed by underground springs that keep the pool at a temperature of around 68 to 70 degrees year-round, making Barton Springs a perfect place to cool off in the summer or take a swim even when temperatures begin to drop.
It’s a bit of a hike, even after driving the 36 miles from Santa Rita Ranch, but this secluded swimming hole is more than worth the effort. One of the most scenic places to swim in all of Texas, Sculpture Falls earns its name with beautiful cliffs, plenty of local wildlife, and a rope swing to splash down into the crystal-clear water, which is usually around 70 degrees in the summer heat, making this isolated oasis a perfect place for a summer swim!
The health benefits of the salty, sulfuric waters of Hancock Springs have been praised for more than a century, and today the springs exist as a spring-fed, free-flow swimming pool just 38 miles from Santa Rita Ranch in Lampasas, Texas. Besides the pool itself, there’s a playground, picnic area, volleyball courts, and more, making this an ideal day trip destination.
42 miles from Santa Rita Ranch, on the outskirts of Austin, you’ll find McKinney Falls State Park, which is named for this picture-perfect swimming hole. The waters of the Onion and Williamson Creeks pour over a picturesque limestone ridge to form a lovely waterfall and a lively swimming spot that’s popular with families from all over the area.
This one is definitely into day trip territory. This 1,300 acre park is located between Marble Falls and Austin, about 46 miles from Santa Rita Ranch. It features nine miles of shoreline and three swimming areas along Lake Travis and the wide Colorado River, as well as trails, RV and tent camping on limestone cliffs, boat ramps, and more.
Just 30 miles west of Austin—and 52 miles from Santa Rita Ranch—you’ll find this unbelievable collection of 32 natural springs that drain into Little Cypress Creek. A couple of the springs are large enough to provide some of the best swimming holes in Texas, including an impressive waterfall and some natural, relaxing spots for cooling off when the weather is hot.
For a real day trip, try Jacob’s Well, located in Wimberly, Texas, about 65 miles from Santa Rita Ranch. Fed by the Trinity Aquifer, this artesian spring forms the headwaters of Little Cypress Creek and also connects directly to one of the largest fully submerged caves in the state. You may want to make a reservation before you go, though. The lot near Jacob’s Well can fill up, especially on weekends, which requires visitors without reservations to be turned away until space opens up.
Whether you’re visiting a lake, a river, or a spring-fed pool, it’s always a real pleasure to take a cool dip in the water on a hot summer day. What are your favorite swimming holes or lakes in all of Texas? Let us know on our Facebook or Instagram page, and stay cool this summer!
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