The temperatures are already soaring in Austin, so it’s time to take a day off of work or really take advantage of your weekend! Lucky for you, you live within an hour of some of the best watering holes Texas has to offer. Check out these places that are perfect for taking a day-trip with family, friends, or your favorite book. As always, NO WATER PARKS!
If you’ve seen those “10 Most Beautiful Places In Texas” videos on Facebook, odds are you’ve seen footage of Hamilton Pool. The Hamilton Pool Preserve is located in Dripping Springs, a little less than an hour away from north Austin. The pool itself was created when “the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago,” leaving a partial grotto and a waterfall to feed into the body of water. There is a sandy bank to lay out on and soak in some rays while taking in a breathtaking view. Reservations are necessary for entrance, and it gets booked up quite quickly/frequently. Normal costs add up to $26/car, and reservations can be made here.
Krause Springs was founded officially in 1955, and houses over 30 different springs, several of which feed into the man-made pool on the property. This spot is located in Spicewood, less than an hour from north Austin and perfect for a day-trip. There are quite a few places to swim, you can pick one of the many springs, or go with the traditional, or natural pool. There are campsites available to reserve, either primitive or complete with hookups for an RV. Entrance fees are $8 per adult for the day, or if you would like to stay the night, the primitive campsites are $15 per adult. You can find more information here.
Inks Lake is about an hour northwest of Austin, tucked away in the beautiful hill country. The crystal blue water stays at a constant level, making this an ideal spot to day-trip to year-round. There are multiple places to fish, picnic, go geocaching, and explore this expansive state park. There are almost 200 campsites, and more than a few cabins to stay in. The park “sits on the east edge of the Llano Uplift, the geologic heart of Texas” and boasts some of the best examples of geologic formations from over 600 million years ago. Inks Lake has a variety of wildlife and plants, even a bird blind that you can hike to! As far as cooling off in the lake itself, there are a variety of activities, and places to do so. There are spots to swim, float, boat, scuba dive, and more. The park entrance costs are $6 per adult for the day (children under 12 can enter the park for free) and the cost to camp starts at $11 for a night at a primitive campsite. You can make reservations here.
Pace Bend Park is also located in the hill country, with nearly 10 miles of shoreline along Lake Travis. This Travis County park features a wealth of water-sports – including fishing, swimming, and plenty of places to launch a kayak or stand-up-paddleboard. Adrenaline junkies rejoice, as the park has an impression selection of cliffs that you can jump off (do so at your own risk!) The area also “serves as home to a large number of whitetail deer, raccoon, fox, ringtail cat, and dozens of bird species.” Trails wind throughout the park, and are perfect for hiking, trail running, mountain biking, or a nice ride on horseback. Entry costs are simple: $10 per car, per day. As far as camping is concerned, the cost rises to $15 per car for primitive sites, and $20 for the improved campsites (reservation required). An annual day pass can also be purchased for $100 per car, but you can come and go all you like for a year! You can find more information about Pace Bend Park here.
All of these spots are perfect for a day-trip, and they’re all less than an hour away from north Austin. Trekking to any of the above places will leave you surrounded by beautiful scenery, wildlife, and a natural water source. Try to tell us there is anything more Texan than that! Be on the lookout for another list of places that are a bit further away, but are perfect for a weekend getaway this summer!