Summer temperatures are already kicking in and you need a place to cool off. Good thing you live in a city surrounded by natural water sources. Check out these Austin watering holes to take a dip, all of them are located close to the north Austin area, and SPOILER ALERT: NO WATER PARKS!
The most famous of all Austin watering holes: the one and only Barton Springs. This small natural wonder is an expansive 3-acre pool fed by underground springs that constantly keep the water a chilly (or refreshing) 68-70 degrees. The line to buy tickets can get lengthy towards busy times, but there are actually TWO ticket booths you can utilize. Entrance costs are $3 for residents of Austin, and $4 for non-residents (for the same $3 for residents, but $8 for non-residents you get access to Barton Springs AND Deep Eddy Pool.)
Deep Eddy Pool is the “oldest swimming pool in Texas and has a bathhouse built during the Depression-era, by the Works Progress Administration.( http://www.deepeddy.org/pool/)” The pool is maintained by the City Of Austin and is separated into two sections, one for general pool use, and the other for swimming laps. Entrance costs are $3 for residents, and $8 for non-residents (for the same amount, you can get entrance to both Deep Eddy Pool and Barton Springs.)
There are quite a few greenbelts in Austin, but when locals refer to “the greenbelt,” they’re referencing the Barton Creek Greenbelt. With a few different entrances, it stretches over many miles in south-central Austin. The Barton Creek Greenbelt boasts over 10 miles of trails, limestone cliffs for climbing, and quite a few places to take a dip (depending on water levels.) Twin Falls and Sculpture falls are both inside of the Barton Creek Greenbelt and are fantastic places for a hike-then-swim adventure. Entrance is free while the park is open during daylight hours.
Blue Hole Park is located a few miles from the Georgetown City Center, on the south fork of the San Gabriel River. The river is bordered by limestone cliffs (that you’re not allowed to jump off of per Georgetown ordinance) and amenities are plenty as there are clean restrooms and picnic tables scattered throughout. The water runs warmer than many other rivers in the area and there is plenty of room to spread out. Dogs are welcome as long as their kept on leashes, and you can bring food and drink as long as there are no glass bottles. Entrance is free while the park is open (from dawn to dusk.)
All of these places are perfect to spend an afternoon in the water with some friends or alone with a book. All the Austin watering holes listed above are free or reasonably priced, and they all have that Austin vibe that can’t be replicated by any water park or apartment complex pool. Be on the lookout for another list of places that are a little further away, perfect to take a day-trip to!