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Blue Hole in Wimberly. (Photo by Will van Overbeek)

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.

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Lyle Lovett and Matthew McConaughey swam here. Robert Rodriguez filmed onsite. And countless families have created wonderful memories at this family-owned oasis 30 miles west of Austin. The site made the National Register of Historic Places thanks to its Native American middens, but folks come for the 30-plus springs on these 115 acres.

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The 50-Foot waterfall at Hamilton Pool spills over the enormous limestone grotto that forms the great swimming hole. (Photo by Michael A. Murphy)

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.

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Wash your troubles away at Krause Springs.

Beset by the usual woes of modern urban life–bumper-to-bumper traffic, stressful workplaces, suburban sprawl, endangered water-ways, and, as country singer Marty Stuart says, "Too much month at the end of the money"–parts of Central Texas share much of metropolitan America's hustle-and-bustle and car-pool constraints. But take heart, because Central Texas also has a precious, random scattering of azure, turquoise, jade-green, and sapphire-blue life-giving, soul-restoring pools of water.

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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.

Beat the Heat in the East | Refreshed in the West | Inviting Slivers of Rivers

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