The 12 best swimming holes in and around Austin

CULTUREMAP - Summer is in full swing, which means it's time to plan a trip and take a dip in one of Austin's best swimming holes. We've created a guide to 12 of the best swimming holes in Austin and Central Texas.

Barton Springs

No list of swimming holes would be complete without Barton Springs, the refreshing sanctuary in the middle of the city. Whether you're looking to get in a few laps or lay out in the sun, this gem is a convenient getaway. Tip: Come at night between 9-10 pm, when admission is free and the pool is less crowded. That means more opportunities to jump off the diving board.

2201 Barton Springs Rd. Open year-round; summer hours are 5 am-10 pm, with limited hours on Thursdays. Cash only; $3 for adults, $2 for ages 12-17, $1 for ages 11 and under, $1 for seniors. No food or drink allowed. Lifeguard. 

Deep Eddy

Just around the corner from Barton Springs is Deep Eddy, another spring-fed escape. This popular pool is our No. 1 pick for kids, and there's plenty of space on the hill for a picnic lunch.

401 Deep Eddy Dr. Open year-round; summer hours are 10 am-8 pm, closed Tuesdays. Cash only; $3 for adults, $2 for ages 12-17, $1 for ages 11 and under, $1 for seniors. No food or drink allowed in pool area. Lifeguard. More info here.

The Greenbelt

More than 800 acres between Zilker Park and the "Hill of Life" is yours for the taking. Hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing are fun activities, but when it gets too hot, take a stroll along Barton Creek and find a nice little spot to go for a swim. Best picks for swimming are along the Gus Fruh trail and east of the Loop 360 access point. If you have little ones, there are plenty of shallow areas where the kiddos can splash and wade.

"Secret" Beach

This technically isn't a "swimming hole," and it's not very "secret," either, but Secret Beach is a must on this list. In the Roy G. Guerrero Metropolitan Park park along the Colorado River you'll find a sandy spot that's perfect for posting up and lounging. If tubing is your thing, you can also plan a leisurely float down the river. This little spot is dog- and kid-friendly.

400 Grove Blvd. Open daily; 5 am-10 pm. Admission is free. Food and drink allowed; no alcohol or glass (and please take your trash back with you). No lifeguard. More info here.

McKinney Falls State Park 

In Southeast Austin you'll find this amazing state park. If you're in the mood to explore, there are plenty of trails to wander along and a handful of historical sites to visit. When it's time to cool off, relax in the shallow areas or scope out places that are deep enough for a full dip.

5808 McKinney Falls Parkway. Open daily, 8 am-10 pm. Cash preferred; $6 for adults, free for ages 13 and under. Food and drink allowed. No lifeguard. Camping allowed. More info here.

Read the full list on CultureMap Austin.

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