Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


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10 Parks with Swimming Holes

Swimming holes can help you beat the heat.

By Dale Blasingame

Garner State Park offers one of the greatest swimming experiences in the state. Many other state parks swimming holes can help you beat the heat.

Inks Lake State Park

This popular park's sweet spot is Devil's Waterhole, where water gathers in a deep, cool pool between tall pink granite and gneiss cliffs. Daredevils jump off ledges along the 30-foot cliff. Easier swims can be found in the no-wake areas near the campgrounds.


Blanco State Park

Nestled in the heart of this charming Hill Country town, you'll find an inviting swimming area accompanied by the sound of water flowing over two Civilian Conservation Corps dams.


Lake Tawakoni State Park

This swimming hole is one of my favorites because it's perfectly situated to watch an amazing sunset over the lake. An hour's drive east of Dallas, the lake is a popular spot for families, boaters and fishermen alike.


Galveston Island State Park

While it may not technically be a swimming hole, I love the possibility of seclusion at Galveston Island State Park on certain days. I had the entire beach to myself on my last visit. No vehicle traffic is allowed, and there's great bird watching while you swim.

Balmorhea State Park

Every list of the best Texas swimming holes should include the world's largest spring-fed pool, a 25-foot-deep oasis in the West Texas desert with a popular high diving board. Swimmers and scuba divers enjoy the clear water that gushes from San Solomon Springs - it's about 74 degrees year-round.


Colorado Bend State Park

Spicewood Springs is one of the best little swimming holes in the Hill Country. A short, flat trail will lead you to the first of multiple spring-fed swimming holes. Continue up the Spicewood Springs trail for more pools and waterfalls. Magical!

Possum Kingdom State Park

The park offers three miles of the 300-mile-long shoreline of Possum Kingdom Lake. Motor down to Hell's Gate, a famous landmark between two towering cliffs, and swim in the protected cove. A roped-off swimming beach at the state park beckons the less adventurous.

Devils River State Natural Area

If seclusion is your thing, look no further than Devils River, where you'll drive down 20 miles of dirt road to find the inviting blue-green river and an incredible set of springs. Hawks, herons and kingfishers may join you along the river.

Pedernales Falls State Park

While you can't swim or wade in the main falls area, there is still plenty of river here. Head over to the beach area of the park to swim. There are several picturesque cypress trees along the river, but be sure to bring sunscreen, water and a hat for shade.


McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls is an urban paradise, located just a few miles from downtown in South Austin. Families flock to swim in Onion Creek and cool off underneath of the park's namesake waterfalls.


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