Not a swimming hole per se, but certainly a watery respite from the Central Texas heat. Tubing on the Comal is an Austinite's rite of passage, and is best performed in a big, boozy group.
An enchanted swimming hole just outside of town, with glittering waterfalls and craggy overhangs. When it fills up they don't let anymore cars in, so get there early -- but trust me, it's worth it.
One of Texas' most beloved swimming holes, The Blue Hole offers cool waters, 126 acres of surrounding ancient forest, and a very popular rope swing. Good luck prying your kids' hands off of it.
One of the most freaking beautiful public pools in the city, with a view of the hill country visible from the entryway. Tons of kiddos running around, but you've mostly got lanes to yourself weekdays before noon.
With a three-mile hiking trail (Turkey Creek), waters shallow enough for kiddos, and even a little beach, Emma Long is a dreamy spot just off 2222 -- and it never seems to get terribly busy.
A landfill-turned-sweet-neighborhood-park, Mabel Davis is the epitome of "hidden gem." Seriously, do people know about this place? I hardly see anyone there! Which is strange, because there's an enormous pool, a skate park (Austin's first), and 30 acres of grass and trees. Go enjoy, Austin!
There are so many enchanted spots along the greenbelt: Social pools, secluded patches of forest, light rapids. You can pick almost any entry point here, just wear some solid footwear, as the best spots involve hiking - no rhinestone studded flip-flops, please.
No matter the season, it's eternal Summer of Love at Barton Springs, Austin's most beloved swimming hole. Though it's been officially servicing locals for the better part of a century, archeologists have found 10,000 year-old human remains here -- a solid track record of enjoyment, I'd say.
One of the best aspects of Bull Creek Park is the hilly drive down there through Far West and Mesa, skirting steep drops and rounding jaw-droppingly pretty homes -- and then, once you finally find it, a swimming hole of crystal clear water and mossy rock formations await. Every time I've been there, I've seen about 15 other folks max.
There's no other scenery like Hippie Hollow's, and that's because it's a nudist park. Literally. It's like a mini European beach, with folks sunbathing in nothin' but their birthday suit.
A neat little spot on Lake Travis, where you can fish, swim, and float out to islands, since (tear) the water in the lake is so low. There's almost nobody there in the mornings, but it gets more crowded in the afternoon.
A happy gathering place for Hyde Park kids and families, Shipe Park & Pool carries the namesake of Monroe Martin Shipe, who developed Hyde Park in 1891 as Austin's first suburb. On any given day, you can find children splashing in the pool, moms helping their toddlers down the slide, and UT students tossing around a frisbee.
Running trails and natural environs smack dab in the middle of residential, suburban-y Austin, with a creek that runs through the whole thing: perfect for your canine run companions.