It’s that time of year – hot Texas summertime! You either stay indoors with cold air conditioning blowing or find bodies of water to relax outside. For me, vacationing somewhere with water access is an annual tradition. Rivers, lakes, and beaches have helped make summer weekends infinitely more fun and bearable! I’m most familiar with the Hill Country area and the coast, but there are lakes and rivers all over the state to enjoy.
If you’re looking to plan a getaway in Texas, here are some areas/cities where you can find natural water to cool down. Book early; everyone in Texas will be flocking to the water!
Rental Property Sites
As you’re looking for house rentals, here are some websites to peruse. Fees vary by website, so try shopping around to find the lowest price for a certain property.
For something more urban, visit Austin. You’ll be able to enjoy the great food scene and the outdoor water options. Find swimming and water sports at these locations:
- Barton Springs Pool
- Deep Eddy Pool
- Sculpture Falls
- McKinney Falls
- Emma Long Park
- Krause Springs
- Lady Bird Lake
Lake Travis Area: This is where most people rent barges, pontoon boats, jet skis, and ski boats to enjoy on the water. It takes about 45 minutes to get out there but a day out on the lake gives you a reprieve. We typically rent from Just For Fun.
Located about an hour south of Austin, Wimberley has been one of our favorite places for a weekend getaway. There are lots of places to stay and several bodies of water. (The bodies of water all flow into each other but have different landscapes.) You could visit all of them in one weekend.
- Blue Hole Regional Park: This natural, spring-fed swimming area is crisp! You’ll need to reserve a timeslot ($6 for kids and $12 for adults) between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
- Jacob’s Well Natural Area: You’ve probably seen photos of this swimming hole. People usually jump in one at a time. Unfortunately, swimming is currently closed (June 2023) because of the drought, but bookmark this for the future. Reservations are usually available in two-hour increments and cost $5 for kids and $9 for adults.
- Blanco River: Wimberley doesn’t have many public access points to enjoy the Blanco River, but you can find many house or hotel rentals with private access. We typically do a house rental, and we’ve also enjoyed Montesino Ranch in the past. Also, check out 7A Ranch.
- Cypress Creek: Connecting Jacob’s Well and Blue Hole is Cypress Creek. You’ll find a few rental properties along the creek. Another option is The Lodge at Cypress Falls. They have their own swimming hole that is open to the public.
Twenty minutes southwest of Wimberley is Canyon Lake. You’ll find many rental properties here. Search on your favorite rental website. You can also float the river here. The Horseshoe Loop on the Guadalupe River is about two hours and easy to get in and out. Hideout on the Horseshoe is a good place to stay to do this. You can get out right at the hotel.
The Guadalupe River is the most popular river to tube, but because of that, it is typically filled with partiers. The Comal River is more family-friendly, and it has several points where you can get out and be shuttled back to the start. I’ve used Rockin R for tubing in the past.
Outside San Antonio is the popular Frio River. This is another place for families, especially since the river doesn’t have rapids. Garner State Park is a good option to enjoy the river and stay. The Inn Between is a cute place about 5 minutes away from Garner State Park.
Dripping Springs and Johnson City
In the Dripping Springs and Johnson City area, about an hour outside of Austin, you’ll find two popular places for water – Pedernales Falls and Hamilton Pool. Stay in this area to combine water adventures with visiting a few picturesque breweries and distilleries, like Treaty Oak Distilling.
- Pedernales Falls State Park: This park has more than 5,000 acres and depending on the recent rain, high waters for play in the Pedernales River.
- Hamilton Pool Preserve: This beautiful spot has a 50-foot waterfall and a collapsed grotto. Typically you’ll need a reservation to visit in the summer. Swimming is not allowed right now (2023) because of bacteria but reservations are available for hiking the preserve.
There aren’t places with water access, but here are some places in this area you could stay:
West Hill Country
Go west! About an hour and a half northwest of Austin is an area where you can find water around Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, and Lake LBJ.
- Inks Lake State Park: In addition to swimming, you can rent paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks from the park office. There are also cabins available for rent.
- Lake Buchanan: Check out Willow Point Resort.
- Lake LBJ: In this area is the upscale Horseshoe Bay Resort where you can find golf and a spa.
Want more beach than a lake? Drive down to the Texas coast! Last year, we enjoyed a beach rental on the Bolivar Peninsula, and it was a quiet part of the beach. Here are some other areas to check out:
- South Padre
- Port Aransas
- Corpus Christi
- Matagorda Bay Nature Park
In the DFW area, check out:
- Ft Worth Possum Kingdom Lake
In the Houston area, check out:
- Lake Conroe
- Blue Lagoon, Lake Raven, Huntsville
Wherever you go, stay cool this summer! Don’t forget sunscreen. 🙂
Here are more posts to help plan your summer: