Texas Travel

Explore 6 Natural Pools in Texas

By Peter Simek 6.3.19

Texas enjoys 367 miles of coastline, dozens of swimmable rivers, and some of the prettiest lakes in the country. But in a state this big, dry, and hot, there can never be enough places to cool off. Some of the best swimming spots in Texas are pools fed by springs or formed by collapsed river canyons.

These natural pools in Texas offer a place to take a dip in the most beautiful and unique parts of the state.

Balmorhea State Park

A crystal clear spring flowing in the high desert of West Texas was transformed in the 1930s into one of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pools. The historic park remains a popular spot for swimming, scuba and skin diving, or just relaxing in the shade on a hot summer day. A dip in Balmorhea’s cool waters should be on every Texan’s bucket list.

Abilene State Park

The Civilian Conservation Corps helped build Abilene State Park and its beloved swimming pool in the 1930s. The pool and adjacent concession area and dance terrace were constructed with unique period stonework. Pro tip: On particularly hot days, get there early. The pool is wildly popular, especially on the weekends, and park officials close it when it reaches maximum capacity.

Photo by David Woo

Texas Pool

No swimming spot in the state rivals the Texas pride of the Texas-shaped Texas Pool in Plano. Opened as a community pool in 1961, the 168,000-gallon saltwater pool features a diving board, two slides, an island, and a shallow area down along what, in real life, would be the Rio Grande border.

Hamilton Pool Preserve

One of the most stunning sites in Texas, Hamilton Pool formed when an underground river collapsed thousands of years ago. Today, the pool sits beneath a waterfall that flows off an outcropping of rocks, creating an enchanting spot for an afternoon swim. Make reservations ahead of time through the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

Photo by Andrew Fisher

Barton Springs Pool

The Austin favorite is fed by a natural spring, which means its clear waters stay nice and cool all year long, even when the temperatures rise into the triple digits. The huge swimming pool has a diving board and plenty of room to swim. It’s even home to an endangered species of salamander.

Indian Lodge

You must book a room at the historic Fort Davis lodge in order to enjoy its pool, which boasts one of the best poolside views in Texas. You’ll be glad you did. The small pool sits adjacent to the lodge that was built in the 1930s to resemble a pueblo village nestled in the Fort Davis Mountains.

Explore more of Texas’ great outdoors backpacking Big Bend or drifting down Caddo Lake.

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