It’s summer and this is Texas, and that only means one thing. It is hot. So hot in fact that I woke up to steamed windows at my house this morning and I thought, this is going to be the perfect day to embark on my latest quest! Yesterday, while sunbathing at the pool, I decided that I was going to make it my mission to visit a couple famous Texas Hill Country swimming holes with what time I have left of this summer! I expect this adventure to be a three part series at a minimum, and I’ll do my best to provide helpful and comprehensive reviews of the local swimming hot spots, or should I say, cool spots, that I get to visit! As I have probably mentioned before, my kids love adventures and swimming so part of my reason for doing this is to scout out places to return to with them.
After about 10 min of Internet research, I quickly realized that swimming holes in the area are so popular in fact that many require reservations (which by the way are only good for a few hours)!! And because I literally crafted this idea yesterday, and the kids had summer camp today, finding a spot to go to 24 hours later was a little bit of a challenge, although as you’ll read, definitely not impossible.
Blue Hole, Wimberley, TX
About an hour long beautiful drive from San Antonio, Blue Hole was my first swimming hole to visit because no reservations are needed at this time. I say “at this time,” because I guess it’s always possible that at some point in the future, its popularity will cause them to institute reservations like many other famous swimming holes. Apparently it can get so crowded (especially on weekends), that they have to turn people away once they reach capacity (you can call them @ 512-660-9111). And I can totally imagine this to be so, because today (Tuesday) there was already a large line of eager swimmers waiting for the park to open at 10, and the parking lot next to the water was already completely full less than an hour later (you can park in other places but you may have a bit of a walk, no biggie).
So, what’s Blue Hole like? In a sentence, it’s an incredibly lush and beautiful oasis that is nestled in the quaint Texas hill country town of Wimberley. My photos do not even begin to do it justice. As it turns out, Blue Hole is an entire park set on 120-something acres and the swimming hole is only a small, albeit fabulous, part of the park. Additionally, the entire park is free and open year round with the exception of the swimming hole which follows the fee schedule listed below and is only open daily (10-6) for swimming between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Upon entering and driving straight into the park, you can turn left to park near the water/swimming hole entrance or turn right to park near the recreational area (also where you’ll park if the lot to the left is full). Once inside, you’ll notice beautiful stone picnic tables that adorn the park, small BBQ pits, and nicely located benches. You can bring coolers with food/drinks just as long as you don’t bring glass or alcohol. They even have a beautiful fire pit which today they were actually using to teach a nature camp how to cook with a Dutch oven! The recreation area of the park includes several soccer fields, basketball courts, pavilions, and even a playground! Multiple restroom facilities scattered across the park (with infant changing tables) are also a fine amenity that you’ll find at Blue Hole. In fact, the restroom near the water even has dressing rooms so you can change into and out of your swim suit and not worry about being squished in some tiny stall next to a dirty toilet. Now, I will warn some of you that there’s a bit of walking involved to get from the parking lots to where you want to go. I only mention this fact for the folks with toddlers (maybe bring a stroller just in case, otherwise you should be fine). Additional items you may want to bring are water shoes as the rocks can be tough on your feet (although I managed barefoot just fine). And speaking of shoes, there is a total of approx 7-8 miles of gravel and mulch running/walking trails in/just outside the park that I regretfully did not get to explore this trip. I absolutely plan on returning to run all of them at some point. Towels, large blankets and maybe even some lawn chairs for relaxing on the grass would also be nice. Goggles are another item that you or the kids might want to pack as the water is crystal clear! And lastly, any kind of water floats/inner tubes are perfect for Blue Hole as there’s no current and it’s a beautiful, nice shady place to float and relax. But alas, let me do my best to describe the swimming hole itself.
One of the best features of the swimming hole (and the entire park in general) is the abundance of shade from the breathtaking cypress trees that line the creek. I couldn’t stop thinking about Rex the whole time I was there and how the shady environment would help protect his ultra fair skin from the sun – a difficult feat during a Texas summer. The water is cool and refreshing and as I mentioned earlier, extraordinarily clear. You can see fish and every rock on the bottom. The water starts off maybe 12″ deep on the edge and slowly gets deeper and deeper until it’s well overhead. I couldn’t help but think that it’s perfect for kids of all ages with water this shallow. It would be difficult for infants who cannot stand/walk yet, but without any currents, they could easily and safely float alongside their families. And no swimming hole would be complete without a rope swing and of course Blue Hole has two of those!
All in all, I very much enjoyed my time at Blue Hole and look forward to returning both with and without my kids. Afterwards, if you have the time, it’s less than a 5 min drive to the Wimberley square which has tons of cute shops and restaurants! Of course I had to squeeze in a glass of wine on the Cypress Creek to cap off the perfect hill country adventure! If you have any specific questions about Blue Hole that I didn’t answer, please feel free to contact me! Stay tuned: next up will be Jacob’s Well!
Blue Hole Fee Schedule (as of July 2016):
Children 0-3: Free
Youth 4-12: $5
Adults 13-59: $9
Seniors 60+: $5
Veterans: $5 (Military ID holders only)
* Season passes and punch cards also available