There’s nothing better than a swim in nature to help revitalize the senses. Whether you’re traveling through Texas or planning an epic camping trip to the Lone Star State, a quick dip in a natural swimming hole is always a great way to stay cool.
From the deserts of western Texas to the gorgeous landscapes of Texas Hill Country, there are crystal-clear waters to discover across the state, but is open-water swimming in Texas safe? The answer is yes if you know where to go.
We’ve compiled a list of options for “wild swimming” in places that are privately owned or located within a Texas State Park, so you can swim peacefully knowing the areas are well monitored and maintained.
Here are seven of the best natural swimming holes in Texas:
1. Blue Hole Regional Park, Wimberley, Texas
Image by Christy Pohler
Discover one of Texas’s most-loved natural swimming spots: The Blue Hole. From May to September, the Blue Hole Regional Park invites visitors to swim in the see-through blue-green waters, swing from rope swings, and experience true relaxation. With cypress trees looming all around, the water is spring-fed and stays at a refreshing temperature all summer long, making it an awesome place to cool off. There are biking and hiking trails to enjoy around the park too.
The small ranch town of Wimberley boasts an excellent restaurant and bar scene, as well as a weekly Saturday market.
2. Inks Lake State Park, Burnet, Texas
Image by Jennifer M. Ramos
The Devil’s Waterhole is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. You’ll find it towards the northern end of the Inks Lake State Park in the Texas Hill Country. The surrounding landscape is famous for its fiery sunsets and picturesque beauty. Thanks to the steady flow of the Colorado River, the water in the deep pool at the Devil’s Waterhole is cool and clear and makes for an invigorating dip. It is surrounded by stunning rock formations and smooth, pink granite slabs, making it very popular for rock jumping.
Explore the town of Burnet, which is famous for its swathes of bluebonnets in the spring.
3. Garner State Park, Uvalde, Texas
Image by Richard McMillin
With its deep canyons and imposing cliffs, a road trip to the gorgeous Garner State Park is something Texans have been raving about for years. Within Garner, the sparkling Frio River is lovely, especially on a hot day. There are lots of options for watersports, from kayaking to river tubing. Freshen up and spend evenings dancing the night away at the summer dances—you might even learn to do a Texas line dance!
There are two cabins to book, or you can pitch a tent at several spots in the area.
4. Balmorhea State Park, Toyahvale, Texas
Image by Texas Parks & Wildlife
Described by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a “cool oasis in the high desert,” the Balmorhea State Park in west Texas is home to San Solomon Springs, the largest outdoor pool in the world, measuring almost two acres. Bring your swimming goggles and enjoy gliding through the cool waters, which stay around 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit all year-round. The water is so clear, there are even opportunities to scuba dive and meet resident turtles and catfish. If you ever find yourself road-tripping across the Texas desert, this is a great place to stop.
Treat yourself to a night in San Solomon Springs Court, a retro-inspired motel.
5. Lost Maples State Natural Area, Vanderpool, Texas
Image by Richard McMillin
Famed for its fall foliage, a visit to Lost Maples between late October to mid-November is well worth it to see the leaves of the mighty bigtooth maple trees change color. There are 10 miles of hiking trails to explore, including a trail to the fascinatingly shaped Monkey Rock.
You’ll come across a pleasant spot to swim beside the Sabinal River campgrounds, where you can wade in for a quick plunge.
Lost Maples is a designated Dark Sky Park. Book into the Sabinal River Lodge or camp beneath the stars.
6. Guadalupe River, Ingram and Canyon Lake, Texas
Image by JLF Capture
Just a short drive from both Austin and San Antonio, the Guadalupe River flows from Kerr County into the Texas Gulf Coast. Near the Kerr County town of Ingram, Schumacher Crossing is a little dam with several waterfalls flowing into a larger pond, which has become something of a secret swimming spot. Further along at Canyon Lake, the Horseshoe Loop is a fabulous place to enjoy an energizing day of river tubing.
Discover New Braunfels, a small Texas town with German heritage and a fascinating downtown area to explore.
7. Krause Springs, Spicewood, Texas
Image by Natalia Silyanov
Krause Springs is a beautiful day out, just 30 miles west of Austin. With 115 acres of natural beauty to explore, there is a lagoon for swimming, with waterfalls and rope swings, as well as a man-made swimming pool. All 32 of the springs flow into both swimming areas and out into Lake Travis.
Don’t forget to explore the peaceful Butterfly Garden while you’re visiting the springs, with wind chimes and relaxing sounds leading you through a plethora of exotic plants.
The site is privately owned by the Krause Family and offers camping with 24 RV sites with water and electricity.
Tips for ‘Wild Swimming’ in Texas
- Always research where to swim before taking a dip. Throughout Texas, there can be issues with water quality, bacteria, and wildlife.
- To be safe, swim in state parks or designeated state natural areas where the safety of the water is monitored.
- Purchase a Texas State Park Pass to enjoy free entry to more than 80 parks for you and the family for a year. The parks also offer great places to camp with several campsites, cabins, and places to park an RV.
- Some swimming holes require reservations to control numbers, so check in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Bring a backpack with bug spray, water, water shoes, and SPF.
Have you gone swimming in a natural swimming hole (in Texas or elsewhere)? Tell us your favorite spot(s) in the comments below.