Exploring the Texas Hill Country delights all of your senses. Hop in your car and see natural scenery including cypress trees, live oaks, and succulent yucca plants, or dig into a plate full of authentic Texas barbecue. When the weather turns hot and sticky, why not head for one of the area’s gorgeous swimming holes?
Barton Springs Pool
Image via Flickr by Lars Plougmann
Cool off at Barton Springs Pool after a day of sightseeing. The pool is easy to find inside Austin’s Zilker Park. Thanks to the Edwards Aquifer, the pool is fed by cooling water that’s a refreshing 68 degrees all year. Lush green hills perfect for sunbathing surround the springs.
Barton Springs Pool is popular, so be prepared for company. You can arrive as early as 5 a.m. to beat the crowds. Nature lovers may also spot an endangered Barton Springs salamander near the pool.
Hamilton Pool Preserve
Image via Flickr by majcher
Wear your sneakers or boots and navigate the 1/4-mile trail and rock steps into the canyon where you’ll find the collapsed grotto at Hamilton Pool Preserve. Once there, experience the lush ferns and cool water in and around the pool.
Get a tan while you relax on the limestone rocks worn by natural erosion. You may want to book a room in nearby Dripping Springs, Texas, and spend a few days relaxing at the pool and exploring the 232-acre preserve. History buffs can schedule a guided tour to learn more about the preserve from park staff. Don’t forget to make a reservation before you head to the pool. In November and December, you only need to make a reservation on weekends.
Blue Hole Regional Park
If you stay in Dripping Springs, take a quick drive to Wimberley, Texas, and visit Blue Hole Regional Park. After a hike through the trails on a sweltering day, jump into the Blue Hole swimming area to cool off. The swimming hole offers plenty of shade to stay cool, too.
You need a reservation to go swimming. However, you can easily book your spot online. The swimming area is open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
If you’re not shy, meander down to Hippie Hollow at Lake Travis in northwest Austin. You can go skinny dipping at the hollow. Wait until you’re on the trail before you remove your clothing, though. Whether you want to go natural or not, the hollow is a peaceful place to swim at a place only 20 minutes from Austin.
Visitors can stretch out and sunbathe among the beautiful foliage. Nearby water sources keep the hollow full during each season, and it never completely dries up. Don’t miss the majestic 50-foot waterfall where crystal water cascades down into a canyon.
When you travel through the Texas Hill Country, make sure to plan a day to take a break and cool off at one of the nearby swimming holes. Take a swim among lush foliage and stunning rock formations. Options include lakes, natural springs, and a place where you can be one with nature and shed your swimsuit.