Swimming holes, lakes, rivers and waterfalls - 35 swim spots near San Antonio

No need to stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to

Top Left: Jacob's Well, Top Right: Gorman Falls, Bottom Left: Comal River courtesy Associated Press (photo by Eric Gay), Bottom Right: Frio River courtesy VisitUvaldeCounty.com. (KSAT 12)

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Welcome back! (Unless you’re a first-time subscriber, in which case, I’m so happy you’re here.)

This mid-month edition of the KSAT Things To Do newsletter is going to focus on water-related activities because, despite the recent rainy weather, it’s still hot as an armadillo’s undercarriage in Texas.

I’m going to cover lakes, rivers, swimming holes, pools and splash pads in our area and I also planned a little waterfall road trip for you if you’re feeling adventurous - because I know you’re going to have it your way or nothing at all. 🎵 (TLC reference in case you didn’t quite catch that.)

I’ll likely be throwing random references out there in every newsletter I write because I do that in real life. Any movie quoters out there? You’re in good company, I do it all the time. There’s actually a movie quote reference in the bottom of this newsletter so be on the lookout for that. 🧐

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Lakes

Looking for some Texas lakes to go swimming but aren’t a fan of murky water? There are tons of places to swim around the Lone Star State but some are clearer than others.

The top five reservoirs with the clearest water in Texas, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, are:

👀 Read: Family shocked to find float covered in invasive Zebra mussels at Lake LBJ - There are 27 lakes in Texas that are classified as being infested with an invasive species known as zebra mussels. If part of your swimming plans also include boating PLEASE be extremely diligent about cleaning, draining and drying your boat and other gear every time you visit any lake or river. Because if you don’t... I will look for you, I will find you and I will report you to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Swimming Holes

Swimming holes are scattered throughout the Texas Hill Country and summertime is the perfect time to check them out. Before you head out the door, however, keep in mind that Texas is a naturally diverse state and preserving the beauty of the land is important. Don’t Mess With Texas!

Here’s a list of 10 swimming holes within driving distance of San Antonio that are open for swimming:

  • Aquatic Complex at Landa Park in New Braunfels is the shortest drive from San Antonio at about 40 minutes. The spring-fed pool is open Wednesday through Monday and is a constant 72 degrees year-round. According to the New Braunfels website, the pool was built in the early 1900s and is one of the oldest and most historic bathing pools in Texas.
  • Barton Springs is a spring-fed pool in Austin that spans three acres. The water is 68-70 degrees year-round and reservations are not required, unlike other locations on this list. The pool is open Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and entry passes can be purchased here.
  • Blanco State Park is a quick trip out of San Antonio, just an hour north of the city. Fishing and swimming are permitted but there is a daily entrance fee of $5 for adults. Day passes must be purchased in advance, according to the park’s website. Reserve them online or by calling (512) 389-8900.
  • Blue Hole is located in Wimberley, about an hour’s drive from downtown San Antonio. Day passes, which are required to swim, are available for one of two time slots and cost anywhere from $6 to $12. Purchase tickets here.
  • Garner State Park is open and has many spots along the Frio River to swim. Passes can be purchased online or by calling (512) 389-8900. The park typically reaches capacity so online reservations are highly recommended. Entrance fees are $8 a day for anyone age 13 and older.
  • Guadalupe River State Park is also open for swimming and is located in Spring Branch. Day passes are encouraged for guests wishing to visit the park and cost $7 for anyone age 13 and older. Passes can be purchased online or by calling (512) 389-8900.
  • Jacob’s Well Natural Area in Wimberley, about an hour’s drive from downtown San Antonio and a limited number of swimming reservations, which are required to visit, are still available online. Jacob’s Well is an artesian spring that releases thousands of gallons of water a day, according to the website. The area is also the second-largest fully submerged cave in Texas.
  • Krause Springs in Spicewood is approximately an hour-and-a-half drive from downtown San Antonio. Camping and swimming are allowed, but you will have to pay a fee of up to $9 for a day pass. The springs that feed the pools, according to the website, are 68 degrees year-round.
  • McKinney Falls State Park is closer to Austin and filled with waterfalls, great swimming spots and places for camping. Day passes and camping reservations are recommended for this park as well and cost $6 for anyone age 13 or older. Make reservations online or call (512) 389-8900.
  • Schumacher Crossing is located between Ingram and Hunt along Highway 39 and is about an hour-and-a-half drive from downtown San Antonio. It’s a popular spot for swimming along part of the Guadalupe River and is typically very clean because it’s not located near any major cities.

Pools

There are 8 outdoor pools that are currently open in San Antonio, according to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. I made a map for you in addition to the list because I’m handy like that.

Here’s the list of pools that are currently open:

  • Elmendorf Lake Park, 235 Shore Drive
  • Heritage Pool, 1423 S. Ellison Drive
  • Kennedy Park, 3299 SW 28th Street
  • Lady Bird Johnson Park, 10700 Nacogdoches Road
  • Lincoln Park, 2803 E. Commerce Street
  • San Pedro Springs Park, 2200 N. Flores Street
  • Southside Lions Park, 3100 Hiawatha Street
  • Woodlawn Lake Park, 221 Alexander Avenue

Pool hours vary by location so make sure to check the city’s website before you head out.

If you’re looking for a more private experience - did you know you can rent private pools by the hour? Swimply is an Airbnb-style site that gives people options for swimming but also allows pool owners to make a little money by renting out their pool area.

Splash Pads

Splash pads, sometimes referred to as spray grounds, are recreation areas with non-slip surfaces that have a number of fountains and nozzles that shoot water but leave little to no standing water. Splash pads are a great way for kids to get introduced to recreational water play and most of the San Antonio splash pads are free.

Here’s a list of 11 splash pads in the area that are free to check out:

  • Benavides Park - Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 1500 Saltillo Street in San Antonio.
  • Bulverde Community Park - Open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 29815 Bulverde Lane in Bulverde.
  • Elmendorf Lake Park - Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 3700 W. Commerce Street in San Antonio.
  • Emmitt Park - Open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. except on Wednesdays and Sundays when it closes at 5 p.m. The park is located at 2477 N Loop 1604 E in San Antonio.
  • Fischer Park - Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 1935 Hilltop Summit Road in New Braunfels.
  • Hemisfair Park - Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 600 Hemisfair Plaza Way in San Antonio.
  • Lincoln Park - Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 2915 E. Commerce Street in San Antonio.
  • Northview - Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 100 Randolph Plaza in Universal City.
  • Park West - Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 205 N River Street in Seguin.
  • The Pearl - Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Historic Pearl located on Pearl Parkway in San Antonio.
  • Pearsall Park - Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 5102 Old Pearsall Road in San Antonio.

Rivers

Tubers float the Comal Rive. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Rivers are great for swimming and tubing - a Texas pastime. Tubing rivers within driving distance of San Antonio include:


Waterfall Road Trip

There’s no need to stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to - you can take a road trip around Texas and find some waterfalls. This list, while including naturally occurring waterfalls and manmade ones, definitely does not cover all of the waterfalls in Texas but it’s a good start if you’re looking for an adventure.

*Click here if you’re having trouble viewing the embedded map*

Please note, some of the waterfalls on the map are on private property so you won’t be able to view them unless you’ve been given permission by the landowner.


Want to meet a celebrity?

As a way to say thank you to our favorite viewers, KSAT 12 has partnered with Celebrity Fan Fest for a contest to give out 80 tickets and 20 celebrity photo op passes to KSAT Insiders.

If you’re unfamiliar with what a KSAT Insider is - it’s a FREE membership that gives you exclusive access to behind-the-scenes content, events, deals and personal messages from anchors and reporters. KSAT Insiders also gain a voice in our coverage — like helping our meteorologists cover severe storms by submitting photos we use on-air and online, or potentially breaking open the next Defenders investigation with a news tip.

Back to meeting celebrities though - Celebrity Fan Fest takes place July 30 through Aug. 8 and some of this year’s attendees include Owen Wilson, Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Ray Fisher, Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Robin Lord Taylor, David Mazouz and Freddie Prinze Jr.

Enter for a shot at tickets to Celebrity Fan Fest at Six Flags Fiesta Texas HERE.


Penny for your thoughts? If you have suggestions on improvements to the newsletter or upcoming events you think people want to know about, send them my way - mpatton@ksat.com.

Mary Claire Patton, KSAT Digital Journalist


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.