Austin summers are no joke, so thank goodness there are some great local swimming holes where you can beat the heat.
In the summertime, temperatures in Austin are known to stay in the 90s or higher so it’s in your best interest to know the coolest places to cool down.
While there are certainly some gorgeous swimming spots just outside the city limits you can drive to, there are more than enough places worth visiting within Austin proper. Less time on the road and more time in the water sounds like a win to us.
From pools to lakes to creeks, these are Austin’s top swimming holes to add to your summer bucket list.
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1. Barton Springs Pool
Of all the swimming holes in Austin, Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park is probably the most treasured. Every year, thousands of visitors come out to swim in this three-acre pool filled by underground springs. Some say, that it’s even the best swimming hole in Texas!
The depth of the pool varies depending on the area, but its deepest point is about 18 feet. Since the water stays around 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can enjoy Barton Springs Pool year-round.
To plan your visit, check whether or not you need to make a reservation online for the date and time you want to come by. Remember that the swimming hole closes for cleaning every Thursday from 9 am to 7 pm. If you’re an early bird, you’ll appreciate that they open at 5 am.
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2. Deep Eddy Pool
At first glance, Deep Eddy may look like your average public pool, but it has some unique things going for it. For starters, it’s the state’s oldest swimming pool and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also fed by a spring, meaning the water is non-chlorinated and stays around 65 to 75 degrees throughout the year.
In the morning, Deep Eddy is open for lap swimming only, but recreational swimming is possible in the afternoon and evening. In the summertime, Deep Eddy hosts Splash Party Movie Nights where they bring out a screen so you can catch a flick while floating around. Another note about coming during the summer: it doesn’t take long for the parking lot to fill up so plan to go early or take a different transportation method to the pool.
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3. Hippie Hollow Park
Hippie Hollow Park isn’t like other swimming holes—it’s clothing-optional! That’s right, this park nestled on the shores of Lake Travis is actually the only clothing-optional public park recognized by Texas. As such, you can expect a few specific rules when you visit: You have to be 18 years or older, and you have to ask permission before taking pictures. But clothing optional also means it’s an excellent place for sunbathing.
Hippie Hollow is open every day of the year, rain or shine, but it’s known to reach capacity on holiday weekends so plan accordingly. There’s a day-use fee to access the park, and you’ll need to pay in cash at the entrance booth.
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4. McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls State Park is a great spot within Austin’s city limits to hike, bike—and, of course, swim. If you want to take a dip here, make your way to either the Upper Falls or the Lower Falls sections of Onion Creek. The Upper Falls is the one with deeper water. It’s wise to check with the park staff regarding the current creek conditions beforehand. You also might want to wear some water shoes since you’ll be navigating around rocks.
There’s a $6 entrance fee for day access to the park. In an effort to keep the creek clean, there’s no food, alcohol, glass, or coolers allowed. If you want to stay longer, you can reserve one of their campsites or cabins.
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5. Twin Falls
Ask a local Austinite about their favorite green spaces in the city, and chances are they’ll mention the Barton Creek Greenbelt. This long stretch of park running through the southern part of the city is beloved for many reasons, including that it offers some great swimming spots (when there has been enough rain) like Twin Falls.
Surrounded by the lush Hill Country landscape, Twin Falls is a beautiful spot to lounge whether you’re wading in the water or chilling on the rock formations. To get here, start at the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trailhead right off MoPac Expressway, south of Highway 360. There’s parking along the highway. From there, just follow the trail downhill.
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6. Sculpture Falls
About a 30-minute walk further along the Greenbelt from Twin Falls is another popular spot to swim at: Sculpture Falls. You can also reach this swimming hole from the other direction by starting at the Scottish Woods Trailhead and hiking for about a mile and a half.
Here, water cascades down the big limestone rocks, where you can post up for some sunbathing. You may also find yourself swimming with some pups as it’s common for people to bring their dogs here (and Austinites sure do love their furry companions). As with Twin Falls, it’s best to visit Sculpture Falls a couple of days after there has been rainfall since the creek can dry up.
7. Gus Fruh
We’re not done with the Greenbelt just yet! On the other side of the highway from Sculpture Falls and Twin Falls is the Gus Fruh swimming hole. It’s just a short walk here from the Gus Fruh access point of the Greenbelt at 2642 Barton Hills Drive.
Gus Fruh is known for its deeper waters, especially if there’s been some heavy rainfall. Just so you’re not disappointed, know that if there hasn’t been much rain, it’s possible that this spot will be all dried up.
While you’re in the area, consider popping over to the nearby Gus Fruh Boulder, a popular place for rock climbers.
8. Campbell’s Hole
Rounding out the Greenbelt’s famous swimming holes is Campell’s Hole. This one is located in the section of the Greenbelt closer to Zilker Park. To quickly access Campbell’s Hole, walk the half-mile along the Greenbelt from the Spyglass Trailhead at 1500 Spyglass Dr. For a longer hike (or to hit two swimming holes in one day), use the trail connecting Campbell’s Hole to Barton Springs Pool.
You’ve heard it before but it must be said: How fun this swimming hole is heavily depends on the amount of recent rainfall. But when the water level is right, you’ll probably be one of many Austinites enjoying the area.
9. Bob Wentz Park
Out in West Austin, Bob Wentz Park is neighbors with another spot on this list, Hippie Hollow Park. At this scenic park located on a peninsula that juts into Lake Travis, you can while away a good many hours thanks to all the different recreation options. Yes, there’s swimming, but there’s also SCUBA diving, sailing, windsurfing, and boating.
Plan to come early since there’s only limited parking here and the park is super popular on holiday weekends. To enter Bob Wentz Park, there’s a day-use fee, and make a mental note that they only take cash at the entrance booth.
10. Mansfield Dam Park
Across the water from Bob Wentz Park is Mansfield Dam Park. One of the perks of this 71-acre lakeside park is that there’s a secluded cove where you can go swimming.
Aside from being a choice place to go swimming, this park is known for having a large SCUBA diving park. What does that entail exactly? Well, there are underwater platforms and an underwater trail that brings you to interesting spots like sunken boats and historic dam construction materials. There are also campsites available for SCUBA groups.
When visiting Mansfield Dam Park, bring cash to pay the small day-use fee at the entrance booth.
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11. Emma Long Metropolitan Park
Located next to Lake Austin (a reservoir on the Colorado River), Emma Long Metropolitan Park is a family-friendly park with its own designated swimming area. This swimming section is roped off and bordered by two docks. There’s even a little sandy beach area too.
When you want a break from swimming, you can enjoy the park’s other amenities, including sand volleyball courts and barbecue pits. There are different entry fees for the park depending on what day you’re visiting and whether or not you’re coming by car. Emma Long Metropolitan Park is open 365 days a year.
12. West Lake Beach
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West Lake Beach, a privately owned park and marina, is also on the shores of Lake Austin, but closer to downtown. In terms of swimming, the water starts off shallow at the shoreline and then reaches about six feet deep by the pier. Quite popular with families, this area also has a volleyball court, fishing area, and horseshoe pit.
Admission to West Lake Beach is $7 for adults and $5 for children. The park is open on Saturdays and Sundays but can be open during the week too by special arrangement. Since West Lake Beach often plays host to private parties, you might want to check on the day of your intended visit that you can pop by.
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