Beat The Heat in Austin / by Shane Henderson

Summer in Texas does not kid around. Here in Austin, its pretty much been over 98 degrees every day for the last month.  In order to survive the sweltering temps of the summer months, Austinites turn to two key strategies, central AC and swimming holes.  Central AC is the real hero here. Unlike where I grew up in the Northeast, every residence and business in Texas has it. It’s the bees knees. But sometimes you want to go outside, get some fresh air, work on your tan… how do you avoid melting into a flesh-colored puddle? Swimming holes is the name of the game. Fortunately Austin and the surrounding hill country are blessed with a multitude of great swimming options. Here is our go-to itinerary for a 100-degree summer day in Austin...

Fuel Up at Juiceland

Your mother may have told you not to swim after eating, but she never said anything about swimming after drinking. Avoid disobeying your mom and still get a full meal in by having a liquid breakfast at Juiceland. All the fresh juices and smoothies are great but our go-to is the Wundershowzen.

Dive in at Barton Springs

This three-acre, spring-fed swimming pool is one of Austin’s favorite summer hangouts. The water stays a chilly but refreshing 68 degrees year round and there is a more than enough space for all the swimming, floating, diving, and splashing about that your little heart desires. The grassy hillside is perfect for lying out and though it might get absurdly crowded on a summer Saturday, it’s the best place to people watch in town. Tip: Use the South entrance off of Robert E Lee Rd, its usually a shorter wait to get in.

Stroll the Greenbelt

After you have cooled down at Barton springs, work up a sweat by hiking the Barton Creek Greenbelt, 8 miles of trail with plenty of spots for a mid-hike dip (assumingthere has been some recent rain that is). Most of the trail is under tree cover so there will be plenty of shade to protect you from roasting to death.

Taco Time

If you take the Spyglass Dr exit off of the Greenbelt you can stop into local favorite Taco Deli for some grub.  Both the breakfast tacos and the lunch tacos are delicious but make sure you get a side of queso. Hot cheese on a hot day? Sounds crazy, but trust me it’s worth it.

Drink It in at Sculpture Falls

Our perfect plan falls apart a bit here because Sculpture Falls is about 5 miles further down the trail… that’s a long walk when its 100 degrees out. So instead, we suggest heading back to Barton, hopping in the car, and driving over to the S Mopac entrance. Maybe stop off at a gas station along the way to grab a couple of adult beverages of your choice. From the parking area, its about a mile hike into Sculpture Falls where you can sit beneath the flowing waterfalls, watch adorable dogs frolic, and enjoy that lukewarm beer you brought along.

Catch the Sunset Over Lake Travis

If by some miracle you leave Sculpture Falls in the late afternoon and are still up for more sun, why not head out to the shores of Lake Travis to throw back some margaritas and take in the sunset at The Oasis. Yes, it’s overpriced, and the food is nothing to write home about, but the view IS pretty great… 

Other Options

Maybe you're tired of Barton Springs (blashphemy!) and are looking for a new spot to check out. Here are a couple other places to cool down that get our stamp of approval.

-Deep Eddy Pool: Great local pool overlooking town lake. Usually no line to get in but parking can be tough.

-Town Lake: Straight up swimming would be weird but stand up paddleboarding and kayaking are fun too.

-Jacobs Well: Haven't been since they switched to a reservation system but if you can snag a reservation, its a pretty unique place for a dip.

-Guadalupe River: Our favorite river for a float. There are a ton of different places to do it. We like the Horseshoe Bend.

-BSR Cable Park: I am sure its an awesome place to wakeboard, but even if that isn't your thing, the huge waterslides and the lazy river are worth the trip to Waco.