It's time to rank the top 5 swimming holes in Austin
Nothing says Summer in Austin quite like getting completely drenched... in sweat... on the walk from your house to your car. Luckily, the wheels of that two-ton air conditioner can transport you to a plethora of water-based Summer fun locations. Since every Austinite knows Barton Springs reigns as the town's supreme body of water, we've created a power ranking of the other best swimming holes the city has to offer, ranging from not-so-secret beaches to rooftop party spots.
601 Rio Grande St; 512.436.8464
Unless you could find a way to sneak into an AMLI, rooftop pool partying in the ATX was just a dream until the recent arrival of Rio, a West 6th St bottle service spot that has unveiled a small-but-sweet third-story wading pool that's open on weekends. It'll cost you heavily to reserve a cabana, but if you're down to hang without VIP treatment, it's free to get in and they'll even provide the towels.
Now lovingly dubbed Hipster Hollow, the formerly secret and now pretty-much-common-knowledge beach is a pristine patch of sand and shallow water tucked inside the Roy G Guerrero Park on Pleasant Valley. Walk past the baseball fields and surprisingly impressive disc golf course, then traverse about a mile of trail, and you'll find yourself in a little slice of paradise where, on a good day, you'll feel like you're on your own private island, and on a bad one, feel like you're at a totally awesome party hosted by East Side Tubes.
3900 W Frontage Rd
Just one of the greenbelt's wealth of water features, Sculpture Falls is one of the best natural spots at which to enjoy a frosty, cleverly concealed six pack (of soda, officer) because of a legit rope swing, the ragingest rapids in the area, and a deterring 30min hike from the nearest entrance at the Southbound ramp for MOPAC from 360.
24300 Hamilton Pool Rd; Dripping Springs
50ft waterfalls, rare Golden-Cheeked Warblers, and occasionally dangerous levels of bacteria await you at one of Central Texas's greatest natural beauties. Hamilton Pool's an amazing day-trip destination, but be sure to arrive before 11a to ensure entry (otherwise you'll be diverted to neighboring Reimers Ranch), bring coozies for on-the-sly consuming, and don't forget to get off the beaten path and hike out to the much-less-crowded Pedernales River.
The Northwest nudist outpost gets a bad rep as a retreat for past-their-prime flower children, but the 109 acres of scenic Lake Travis shoreline get better after dark once the park has closed its gates. Stash your car along the side of one of the long driveways of the neighboring estates, disregard the closed signs, and take a late-night dip while enjoying one of the most awe-inspiring views the city has to offer.
Honorable Mention: Shipe Pool
4400 Avenue G
While a hike to the greenbelt, drive out of town, or dip at a glamorous rooftop pool are all great, sometimes you just need a low-key unwind. That's where Austin's neighborhood pools shine. Shipe's a solid choice for its surprisingly low ratio of kids, high number of Summering college babes, and shaded grassy lounging areas.