July 11, 2017

Escape the Summer Heat in Austin with trips to these natural pools.

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Check out this blog on 5 great ways to escape the summer heat in Austin, Texas.

Austin's heat in the summer can be nearly unbearable. If Barton Creek is flowing there's some really good water holes to find there. It also means McKinney Falls is also likely flowing. If neither of those are flowing you'll have to stick to Barton Springs Pool, nearby lakes, or head for a short trip outside of Austin.

Austin is a city that is often taken for granted. The Capital of Texas, its name is well-known but not everybody knows about everything it has to offer. Escaping to some of the local swimming holes can be the perfect solution to a blistering hot Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Below we'll highlight 5 of the top swimming holes in or around Austin. If the Barton Creek is running there's some really good water holes to find there and McKinley Falls is also likely flowing. Otherwise you have to stick to Barton Springs Pool and Lady Bird Lake.

Sculpture and Twin Falls.  Accessed from a Mopac (aka Loop 1) access road just south of Hwy 360, Sculpture and Twin Falls are a little more obscure than more tourist friendly places ilke Barton Springs. The falls themselves are usually pretty full of people, especially on the weekends. But there are other areas along the trails that you can hike to to find a more private location.  The trick to making these spots work is knowing if there is water flowing. You can view a flow gauge here. Even small numbers like 10-20 cfs (cubic feet per second) is enough to fill the pools. 

Sculpture Falls in Austin, Texas

The Flats near Barton Skyway.  Another great spot along Barton Creek that you access by taking Barton Skyway from Mopac East a short block until it intersects with Spyglass Drive. The Flats offer easier access than Sculpture and Twin Falls because it's a short walk to the main lounging area. This will lead to more people and this place is frequently covered in a Keep Austin Weird sort of vibe with coolers, dogs running wild, and even a impromptu drum circle from time to time.

McKinney Falls.  A little less know to Austinites than the options above, McKinney Falls is a state park located in the Southest corner or Austin. There's a fee to enter and two different water holes that people love to swim. There are campers around and when water is flowing this is a fun area to check out for it's cool rock formations. 

Mckinney Falls in Southeast Austin

Barton Springs Pool. Barton Springs Pool is a three-acre pool filled by underground springs. The pool maintains a temperature of approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit year-round and is the perfect place to cool off after a walk on the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. Bring a picnic and spend the day, all for less than the price of a meal.

Hamilton Pool. Just outside of Austin is Hamilton Pool.  A breathtaking swimming hole formed by a collapsed grotto. With a waterfall and rock formations it’s the perfect place to cool off and explore. There is a flat entrance fee per car and reservations need to be made during the summer. If you’re going to be in the Austin area, it’s definitely worth the trip.

Hamilton Pool outside of Austin

Whether you’re planning activities on a budget or want to see everything that Austin has to offer, at Austin City Guide you can know before you go. From golf courses to restaurants to hotels, we give you the details and let you see inside before you make your plans so that you can make the most of your time.

Bonus Attraction. Check out the Austin Bats night departure from Congress Bride.  The single biggest attraction in Austin is the Congress Bridge Bats nightly depature.  Every night around dusk a approximately 1.5 million bats will emerge from beneath the bridge.  Use the link above to learn about ways to watch these bats from a kayak, water bike, or boat and you'll be about 10 degrees cooler than the standing on land version. 

Congress Bridge Bats from a Kayak

Author: Ivan Collins