SAN ANTONIO – I’m just trying to keep it cool.
May has been super hot — like record-breaking hot. My buddy Justin Horne said San Antonio’s hot streak could potentially lead to the hottest May in the history of the city.
If you’ve been a subscriber to the newsletter for a while (thank you) you’ll know I prefer cooler temperatures. So now that it’s absolutely roasting outside, I’ve been brainstorming some ways to cool off.
I compiled a list of rivers, lakes, swimming holes and splash pads to help you find some options if you feel like heading outside. Some of the locations are free, some cost money and some require reservations so keep an eye out for that when you’re making plans.
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Rivers and Swimming Holes
San Antonio and the surrounding areas, including parts of the Texas Hill Country, are full of places to take a dip when the weather is hot. The places on this list are definitely not all-encompassing for the state of Texas but they’re within driving distance of San Antonio.
- 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 but its highly encouraged that you purchase entry tickets ahead of your visit. Entry passes can be purchased here. Barton Spring is located at 2131 William Barton Drive in Austin, roughly 90 minutes outside downtown San Antonio.
- 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. The park is located at 101 Park Road 23 in Blanco.
- Blue Hole - Located in Wimberley, it’s 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. Swimming passes will be available on the weekends starting in May and will be available daily starting in June. Purchase tickets here. The address for Blue Hole Regional Park is 100 Blue Hole Lane.
- Canyon Lake - There are three designated swim beaches at Canyon Lake. Comal and Canyon Parks have beaches for the general public and Potters Creek Park has a beach that only allows access to registered camping guests. Canyon Lake is located about an hour north of downtown San Antonio.
- Comal River is a popular spot for tubers with many tubing outfitters located around New Braunfels. There are many river access points in parks across New Braunfels. The water is 70-72 degrees year-round. New Braunfels is located roughly 35 minutes outside downtown San Antonio.
- 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. The park is located at 234 RR 1050, roughly 95 minutes from downtown San Antonio.
- Guadalupe Canoe Livery is also known as the “$5 spot” because day passes are just $5 for adults. There are options for camping and you can also rent canoes, kayaks, rafts and tubes or just hang out in the river. Guadalupe Canoe Livery is located at 8195 Highway 281 North in Spring Branch, just a 40 minute drive outside downtown San Antonio.
- Guadalupe River State Park is also open for swimming and is located in Spring Branch at 3350 Park Road 31, about 40 minutes outside downtown San Antonio. 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 - Jacob’s Well in Wimberley is located at 1699 Mt Sharp Road, about an hour’s drive from downtown San Antonio. Reservations for summer swimming slots are currently available for dates starting in May. Jacob’s Well is an artesian spring that releases thousands of gallons of water a day.
- Krause Springs 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. Krause Springs is located at 424 Country Road 404 in Spicewood.
- Landa Park Aquatic Complex - Landa Park in New Braunfels is a short drive from San Antonio at about 40 minutes. The spring-fed pool will open on May 27, according to a New Braunfels Parks and Recreation spokesperson. It’s a constant 72 degrees year-round. The pool was built in the early 1900s and is one of the oldest and most historic bathing pools in Texas. It’s located at 110 Golf Course Road.
- McKinney Falls State Park is located at 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway in Austin, roughly 75 minutes from downtown San Antonio. The park is filled with waterfalls, great swimming spots and places for camping. Day passes and camping reservations are highly recommended for this park. Passes cost $6 for anyone age 13 or older. Make reservations online or call (512) 389-8900.
- San Marcos River is another great river for tubing, with many tubing outfitters to choose from. The river stays a constant 72 degrees year-round and is a popular spot for locals. San Marcos is roughly a one-hour drive from downtown San Antonio.
- 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. Driving directions can be found on the Kerr County website.
I’ve been to a decent amount of places on this list but still have a couple I’d like to check out. Also — I know Hamilton Pool is popular but it’s still closed for swimming due to falling rocks.
All the splash pads on this list are free to visit. 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.
- 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 6:30 p.m. except on Sundays when it closes at 5 p.m. The park is located at 2477 N Loop 1604 E in San Antonio.
- Escondido Creek Parkway - Open daily from dawn to dusk at 208 N. Sunset Strip in Kenedy.
- Fischer Park - Open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight at 1935 Hilltop Summit Road in New Braunfels.
- Hemisfair - 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 dusk at 100 Randolph Plaza in Universal City.
- Park West - Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 600 N Vaughan Avenue 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.
Hopefully you found a few places on the list you haven’t tried out yet. I’m a big fan of sunscreen too — SPF 50 at least.
Mary Claire Patton, Digital Journalist