Watering Holes Worth Visiting in Austin, TX
Austin, Texas features hidden outdoor beauties including several watering holes and hiking areas found throughout the city and suburbs. If you’re traveling to Austin this summer with limited time to spare, check out our tips for visiting three of Austin’s most popular watering holes: Barton Springs Pool, Deep Eddy Pool, and Campbell’s Hole. Enjoy gorgeous creeks and pool areas located within a short distance of each other – each offering unique history – without having to leave Austin city limits.
Barton Springs Pool
Barton Springs Pool is a large, spring-fed pool that includes a secure gated area with fun activities for the whole family. It is located in Austin’s 351-acre Zilker Metropolitan Park. Enjoy the cool clear water, swimming turtles, and limited views of the Austin skyline. Barton Springs Pool is dog-friendly, giving dogs their own separate area referred to as ‘Barking Springs.’ And, there are many other dog-friendly, off-leash, parks in Austin.
Learn more about the history of Barton Springs Pool by visiting the Splash! Aquifer Exhibit near the main entrance. Kids love the interactive areas throughout the exhibit, which offer educational fun facts and history about the pool and the cool fish living inside.
After heavy rains and flooding, the pool may be closed for safety measures. If the pool is closed, I still recommend stopping by and checking out the food truck and hang-out areas. There’s plenty of space to lounge in the sun and eat while listening to music. Locals say it’s a great place for making new friends – for both adults and children.
If you’re a foodie or just really hungry after swimming, consider stopping by The Picnic Food Truck Park – located one mile from Barton Springs Pool. It is about 20-minutes away on foot, or a quick five-minute drive.
Deep Eddy Pool
Deep Eddy Pool is anything but typical and comes with a wealth of history behind its creation. Deep Eddy Pool is man-made and similar to Barton Springs Pool, it is also fed by natural springs.
When you enter the pool area, you’ll walk down large cement steps that are also perfect for lounging or morning yoga. For history buffs, stop by the historic mural which showcases the entire timeline of the pool it is located inside, to the right of the main entrance.
After swimming, enjoy direct access to the Eiler’s Neighborhood Park Hiking and Bike Trail with calming views of Lady Bird Lake – just watch out for poison oak and poison ivy on the trail along the fence line. I recommend dining at one of my favorite restaurants, a popular brunch option, the Magnolia Cafe. They’re open 24-hours a day, and serve breakfast all day.
Pool parking is very limited. If you’re staying nearby, I suggest walking. After 4 pm, there is additional parking available across from the Police/Ranger station next to the main pool entrance. Look for parking signs to ensure you don’t park in a tow-away zone. To save time, bring cash because the credit card machines can cause additional delays.
For adult crowds, the mystical Campbell’s Hole swimming and hiking area is part of the vast Barton Creek Greenbelt and offers a relaxing experience for everyone and their furry friends. The water is crystal clear and the surrounding views are amazing. This gem is hidden within a residential area with many trees to keep you shaded and cool in the summer.
The entrance for Campbell’s Hole is located directly across from Tacodeli on Spyglass Drive – their tacos are tasty and it’s also a great dining spot for people watching. Park your car along Spyglass Drive, parking is free but limited. When parking, make sure you don’t block any residential driveways and be careful when getting in or out of your vehicle.
You’ll hike down Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail 11 for approximately five minutes until you reach the actual watering hole. I suggest using a GPS guide (by foot) to help you navigate through the trail and avoid confusion.
Along the hike, you’ll find people hanging in hammocks within the tree lines, floating the river, kayaking or laying on large rocks soaking up the sun. Enjoy making new friends and take advantage of stunning photo opportunities. Bug spray and water shoes are a must.
In any event, these must-visit watering holes in Austin are an ideal choice when you’re short on time and want to stay within Austin city limits. Whether you’re just driving through Austin, or on a short business trip, use this guide to help you navigate the natural beauty of Austin’s watering holes.