Our bodies are mostly water. Our primordial ancestors lived in it. Science tells us that looking at it lowers stress. Without water, we can’t survive more than a week at best.
Clear springs flowing from the ground in northern Real County join with a second fork to the west and become the Nueces River, which flows more than 300 miles, emptying into the Gulf of Mexico at Corpus Christi. About 40 miles north of Uvalde and three miles south of Camp Wood, a low dam creates a wide, clear swimming hole with water that stays about 71 degrees.
Under the light of the full August moon, tall shade trees throw shadows on the grass around Hancock pool, its shimmering surface reflect-ing the soft light of the glow sticks around swimmers’ necks. This is the annual moonlight swim and potluck supper at Hancock Springs. Constructed in 1911, the pool holds 300,000 spring-fed gallons, covers 9,537 square feet, and accommodates more than 800 swimmers. Open to the public for a little more than 100 years, it has seen only minor changes, such as changing the gravel bottom to a concrete one. The water stays around 66 degrees year-round, from the three-foot shallow end to the eight-foot deep end.
This swimming hole lies just a few blocks from the quaint town square. A low dam on the South Fork of the San Gabriel River forms a wide, deep natural pool, which locals say has never gone dry.
Standing on the high dive—one of few left these days—I can see the bottom of this 25-foot-deep pool through water almost as clear as the arid desert air that surrounds Balmorhea State Park on the hem of the Davis Mountains. A quintessential oasis.
This three-acre, 1,000-foot-long swimming hole beats as the literal and metaphorical heart of Austin. Ten to 80 million gallons of water, depending on rainfall and aquifer conditions, gush every day from Parthenia Spring right under the diving board. Another spring flows into Barton Creek upstream from the pool, while a third adjacent to the pool and a fourth just downstream bubble into rock enclosures. These springs together equal Texas’ fourth-largest springs system.
It’s Texas, and it is too darned hot! While the A/C offered in an office building might suffice for some, nothing beats a big splash in one of Texas' many beautiful swimming holes on a scorching day. We're sure you'll find it hard to resist this refreshing respite from the heat, so we offer a list of some of the top swimming holes across the state.
There’s a town in the Hill Country that calls itself “a little piece of heaven.” Feeling the need to transcend everyday life, I drove to Wimberley in search of an absolutely heavenly day.
Summer's here, and here are sure clues: Long shadows and fireflies. Smokin’ barbecue grills and tinkling ice cubes in tall glasses. The ding-ding-ding of ice-cream trucks and the buzzing of cicadas. Yellow-and-orange lantana spilling over sidewalks. Late-night conversations about sparkling constellations. Butterflies and bees fussing over bodacious blooms. If you need some fresh ideas for staying cool and getting outdoors, keep reading. It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy.
What do Texas Highways editors dream of on a torrid summer day? A dip in nearby Barton Springs, of course! Fed daily by some 26 million gallons of cool, emerald springwater, Austin's jewel-of-a-pool, at 2201 Barton Springs Rd. in Zilker Park, has taken top honors for "Best Swimming Spot" in our Readers' Choice surveys. Open year round. Hours: Daily 5 a.m.-10 p.m. Closed Thu 9 a.m.-7 p.m. for cleaning. Admission: $3 for adults, $2 for juniors ages 12–17 and $1 for seniors and children ages 11 and younger. Call 512/476-9044.