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9 Awesome places to swim and cool down in Austin, TX

By: Cassie Raney
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Where to swim in Austin, TX


Shipe Park & Pool

Every neighborhood needs a park. If it is in Texas, that park needs a pool if anyone is to survive the three digit summers! Shipe Park & Pool is located on 45th street and Avenue G, just minutes away from Daily Juices and across from the Elizabeth Ney museum. As the location is surrounded by residential accommodations, this is a family-friendly pool. You can hear the sounds of kids attempting the belly flop from the street. The park also comes with changing rooms, a playground, and a big field for games like frisbee and football. Attached to the park are two tennis courts, and a basketball court. Shipe is only open during the summer!

Austin, TX, United States
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Deep Eddy Pool

Deep Eddy Pool is the oldest swimming pool in Texas. The water supply for the pool comes from an artesian well, drawing many to the fresh waters of this popular gathering place. A longtime favorite of locals for its sunbathing lawn and child-friendly atmosphere, Deep Eddy has a shallow end large enough for groups of people to wade in. Located just west of downtown, this is a convenient location for a morning swim. Morning hours are designated for lap swimmers. Those with disabilities may call in advance to secure handicapped access, as the stairs leading down to the pool are not wheelchair accessible.

Austin, TX, United States
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Barton Springs Pool

As one of Austin's finest attractions, Barton Springs Pool is the perfect outing for those hot Texas days — or even the cool ones. Maintaining a comfortable 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) year round, you will enjoy a 100-percent natural swimming experience with no chlorine. The grassy hillsides and moss-covered rocks are perfect for sunbathing. Diving boards, concession stands and restroom facilities are also available. When the kids get tired of the water, enjoy the play structure to complete the afternoon. Lifeguards are on duty. You are encouraged to call ahead, as the pool occasionally closes.

Austin, TX, United States
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Lake Austin

A reservoir in the Colorado River, Lake Austin is an ideal recreation spot. When the Tom Miller Dam was constructed in 1939, this reservoir was created. Though it serves a practical purpose like generation of electricity and flood control, it is also a popular attraction in the city. You will find many restaurants nearby, and the park along its banks offers fun activities such as canoeing. Lake Austin works for those who just feel like taking a walk, those who are looking to get their exercise for the day, those who feel like chatting with others, or just those who want a bit of peace.

Austin, TX, United States
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Hamilton Pool Preserve

As part of the Pedernales River and Hamilton Creek, this old-fashioned swimming hole is perfect for the nature lover in all of us. A shaded walk through the canyon opens to the limestone outcroppings that create a 50-foot waterfall landing in the pool. A picnic on the banks of the pool, a swim in the cool water or a quick hike through the canyon will wash away city-accumulated stress. The trail to the pool is fairly short (1/4 of a mile) but does include a series of rock steps. Good hiking shoes are recommended. Visitors with physical disabilities should call ahead to pre-arrange assistance. Parking is limited, and the pool is very popular so go early and stay late.

Dripping Springs, TX, United States
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Mount Bonnell

Set along the eastern banks of the restful Colorado River, Mount Bonnell's verdant headlands dominate Austin's western topography from an elevation of approximately 775 feet (236 meters) above sea level. Also known as Covert Park, the location is a stunning progression of luxuriant grasslands, scenic waterfronts, peaceful picnic spots and breathtaking vista points. Inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in the year 2015, the forelands are home to the Mount Bonnell's Indian Trail, one of the cornerstones of the American War of Independence. Legend has it that the final 99 steps to the mount's top hold enchanting qualities; if a couple climbs the mount once, they fall in love; twice, they become engaged; and three times, they are destined to be married.

Austin, TX, United States
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Lady Bird Lake

A reservoir of the undulating Colorado River, Lady Bird Lake lies nestled in startling contrast with the cosmopolitan buildings that fringe it. Originally known as 'Town Lake', this reservoir was created in 1960, with the construction of the Longhorn Dam. For a decade, this lake was left in a derelict state, until it was transformed into a beautiful recreation zone in the 1970s. In 2007, the lake was given the name Lady Bird Lake, honoring the memory of the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson. Its glassy waters a wonderland for recreation, the lake is skirted by lush, emerald droves, winding trails, the sprawling Zilker Park and the rejuvenating Barton Springs. The lake enables an array of exhilarating activities like kayaking, canoeing, rowing, paddleboarding and recreational fishing. Lady Bird Lake has been host to a string of sporting events, while its bank is popular for musical performances.

Austin, TX, United States
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Barton Creek Greenbelt

This creek winds through Central and South Austin, featuring beautiful hiking and bike trails as well as many choice swimming holes. The natural surroundings have been left to flourish as only the Texas countryside can. One of the more popular areas is at the far north end of the park—the Scottish Woods Trails, a rocky path leading to a gorgeous private swimming hole at the base of a small waterfall. Barton Creek Greenbelt runs west and north from Zilker Park for nearly eight miles. Contact the Austin Parks and Recreation Department for a map of the greenbelt and access areas.

Austin, TX, United States
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McKinney Falls State Park

The McKinney Falls State Park, located in southeast Austin, at a short distance from the downtown area, is the ideal spot for a fun day out with family and friends. Whether you're into fitness and recreational sports, or just want to lounge about and have a leisurely day, this park is for you. This day park offers a number of activities such as hiking, biking, picnicking, as well as fishing and swimming in the Onion Creek. The park also has a 500 year old cypress tree that is worth a visit. The park visitor center can provide you with all the required information.

Austin, TX, United States
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