As quintessential to Texas as Lone Star Beer, barbecue, and Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July picnic, swimming holes are vital to surviving the region’s sweltering summers. Ordinary concrete pools don’t compare to the transcendent calm of clear spring water, old-growth trees, and wide-open skies. Texas is home to many lakes, rivers, and spring-fed holes, each boasting its own unique natural magic—and dangers. Swimming has risks, and some swimming holes aren’t staffed by lifeguards. Stay safe by obeying posted sign, Young swimmers, especially, should wear life jackets.
With so many choices, how do you decide where to go? Here are five favorites from our book, The Swimming Holes of Texas (University of Texas Press, 2017).