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5 Cool Water Spots to Travel This Summer 2021 | Austin, Texas

5 Cool Water Spots to Travel This Summer 2021 | Austin, Texas

Table of contents

1. Let someone else do the work for once while you enjoy the city

Austin Texas | 5 cool places to get in the water | family activities for summer 2021

Texas summers can be absolutely brutal, and when you’re not used to working in the heat, a day spent painting the exterior of your house, or staining your deck or fence could end up sending you to the emergency room for heat exhaustion. So why not leave your summer projects to those of us who have trained and conditioned for this mission, while you enjoy some of the cool outdoor activities Austin has to offer? That1Painter to the rescue!

2. Stay cool while enjoying a hot Austin, Texas summer
family activities for summer 2021

Texans love to soak up the sun, however…the sun likes to take things a little too far at times. We like to think of the Texas sun as a wild animal. Keep a safe, respectful distance, listen to the warning growls when you’re too close, take the proper measures to protect yourself (no, not by using a gun. You can’t shoot the sun, ya hick!) and you’ll be just fine. Saunter up with an air of cockiness and, well…you’re gonna get burned!

Out here in Austin, we say it’s not a bad idea to cultivate a real healthy fear of UV rays. If you start to get overheated, buff up your water with electrolytes and submerge your body in some cool waters for a spell. After 15 minutes of vitamin D absorption, slap on that sunscreen, lest the sun take its sweet revenge by turning you pink and leaving you peeling for days. And never… never look the sun directly in the eyes. They are the alpha!

3. Being in the water is the perfect way to spend a day out in the sun
Austin Texas | 5 cool places to get in the water

Historically, many of us have survived the Texas heat by staying as close to a water source as physically possible and in Austin, options abound! From cold-water rivers to spring-fed pools, Austin has the water hookup necessary for a summer spent outdoors. We’re here to share our favorite spots with you, so you too can learn to thrive in summer!

Safety first: If you’re planning on taking a swim in any of these locations, we’d like to first direct you to the Texas Parks & Wildlife safety tips. It’s important for you to stay safe while adventuring; getting hurt just stops all the fun, so take precautions to make the fun last longer!

4. Experience an offshoot of the Colorado River at Bull Creek


Quick tip: 
Bring your water shoes, the riverbed can be rocky

From North to South:

  1. Bull Creek Greenbelt Upper
  2. Lower Bull Creek Greenbelt
  3. Link Falls at Bull Creek
  4. Canyon Springs at Bull Creek
  5. Bull Creek Park
  6. Bull Creek District Park
  7. Ancient Tracks

family activities for summer 2021

Bull Creek is one of many cold-temp, freshwater streams branching off of the Colorado River. There are several parks off of the highway that will give you access to the glistening creek, all free of charge and a short walk from your car to the water. Each Bull Creek park offers something a little bit different, so we recommend visiting each of them over the summer and telling us which was your favorite!

5. The trails, pools, and waterfalls of Bull Creek
Austin Texas | 5 cool places to get in the water

If exploring Texas flora is your jam, Bull Creek has enough light-to-moderate trails for the family to enjoy a relaxed stroll along the water, while taking in the beautiful Southern trees, flowers, and cacti. When you’re ready to cool down, grab your water shoes and take a jaunty walk to the water where a short, but wide waterfall pours in. Ahh, there’s nothing like taking a relaxing float under the blue Texas sky while the restful sounds of rushing water wash around you (try saying that five times fast).

Bull Creek is also a great place to do a lot of laid-back wading with a beer (or juice box)* in hand, or beaching on the large water rocks, enjoying views of the small waterfalls several of the parks have to offer.

*Don’t forget to keep Austin clean, and gather all the remnants of your adventure before heading home for the day! Aka don’t be a Messy Myrtle, pick up your trash. Pretty pleeeease! 


6. Sculpture Falls is one of the most incredible spots in Austin, Texas

Sculpture Falls


Quick tip: Pack enough water & snacks, but be aware there’s not a ton of shoreline to scatter supplies about

family activities for summer 2021

Sculpture Falls is one of my absolute favorite spots for a fun-filled water day. The falls are a part of the Barton Creek Greenbelt that spans 8 miles and are uniquely beautiful because of the multi-sized divots formed all over the rocks, mesmerizing and enchanting you as the river flows over and around its small, scattered pools.

These darling falls host activities for all ages and some abilities. Treat your feet to a smooth underwater path, as you traverse on a short journey through the river. You’re not likely to experience chunks of sharp rock cutting up your feet like some river beds (ahem Bull Creek ahem), but the rocks can be slippery, so we recommend water shoes if you plan on, y’know, using your feet.


7. Family activities for summer 2021 at Sculpture Falls



There are ledges where some jump (at their own risk) into the water*, and natural, mini-waterfall rock slides that adults and kids alike use to ride into the natural pool.

Just a couple rocks over, a spot with deeper water makes for a perfect swim or chat-and-tread (that’s talking while treading water), and there are plenty of areas with smooth rocks where you can comfortably sit and sun, without getting fully submerged.

For a lovely walk, suitable for many skill levels, you can take the Barton Creek Greenbelt starting at the trailhead at South Mopac and hike 3.2 miles into Sculpture Falls or simply take a break from your day at Sculpture Falls to enjoy a stroll, turning back when you’re ready to resume swimming!

The trail contains a bit of rocky terrain with roots and uneven paths at times but is a generally moderate hike. It tends to be highly trafficked in the afternoon and is dog-friendly, though they ask that you leash your puppo for your hike. This partially shaded trail is enjoyable for a summer stroll – just remember to stay hydrated in the Texas heat and take the occasional dip to stay cool.


8. Mirror, mirror on the wall, where is the most magical spring of all?


Krause Springs

Day Guest Admission
Adults (12+ years): $9.
Children: (4-11 years): $5.
Children under 4: FREE

Camping Overnight:
Adults (12+ years): $15.
Children: (4-11 years): $10.
Children under 4: FREE
RV Campsite: $15.


Krause Spring is straight magic, we cannot tell a lie. When you approach the place, you’ll be greeted by lush gardens, both natural and those cultivated by human hands. Upon entry, you’ll be greeted by the magical sounds of windchimes which leads to what felt like an enchanted fairy garden.

9. Travel with your family to a magical kingdom

After you’ve explored the garden and paid the entry fee, you’ll find yourself in another world! They have this rustic and absolutely charming Upper Pool, that will make you second guess your plan to head straight for the springs, it’s so inviting. Then, descending on stone steps, you’ll find yourself immersed in the forest, stepping in the natural pool which is constantly fed by 32 natural springs, giving you a crisp temperature of 68° F to cool off in.

There is so much to explore in this wonderland! Enjoy a luscious view of the green-bordered natural pools while picnicking on large rocks. Bring food and drink in non-glass containers and clean up before you leave, to preserve the land. Swim under a gentle waterfall and hike back into the lush green pathways that take you past a stunning rock wall, that’s perfect for that family photo.

10. Experience the serenity of Austin, Texas: camping at Krause Springs

As far as tent camping goes, they always have room, so reservations aren’t necessary – just pay when you get there. You can drive up to your tent site, but there are no electrical or water hookups and no generators allowed on site. If electrical and water are what you desire, then you can call ahead of time to check availability and reserve an RV site to tent camp in. There are bathrooms with showers available for all. What more could you need?

11. Hanging out at a historic Austin, Texas pool

Deep Eddy Pool

Adult (18-62 years): $3 (non-residents: $8)
Junior (12-17 years): $2 (non-residents: $4)
Child (1-11 years): $1 (non-residents: $3)
Under 1 year: FREE
Senior (62+ years): $1 (non-residents: $4)

If you’re into vintage swimming, you have found your spot! Deep Eddy Pool is Texas’ oldest man-made pool. Fed by water from two wells, the unchlorinated water varies in temperatures between 66 and 75° F, depending on the time of year.

This regional aquatics center hosts a variety of swimming lanes that are generally open to the public but occasionally closed for classes. Check their website for the days and times of public swims, before heading over there for the day. This isn’t the only public pool in Austin, just the oldest! The official Austin Texas website has a list of options!

12. Camping in Austin, Texas: summer 2021

We can’t quite imagine that most people would want to camp anywhere in Texas during the dead of summer, but if you just absolutely love the heat, McKinney Falls State Park is a great option. Go on with your bad self, ya crazy sun lover you!

McKinney Falls State Park, TX

Adult: $6.00 daily
Children (12 years and under): FREE

McKinney Falls State Park is a great place to get away and camp with the family for a few days. About 15-20 minutes away from downtown Austin, this campsite features lots of sites for tent camping, a few screened-in campsites, an RV, and 6 cabins for rent, all with electric and water hookups. This park offers really beautiful nature trails for hiking and biking, bouldering, and more for a day trip or a short staycation. You can fish or swim in the cooling water of Onion Creek before heading back to camp for dinner and a snooze.

Check out the McKinney Falls State Park events page for programs that will expand your knowledge of the Texas wild with their amazing forest rangers! They offer programs on birding, atlatls (spear throwing), geocaching, and more.

For the kids, grab a free Junior Ranger Activity Journal from headquarters, or print one out before you leave home if you know you’ll be arriving after headquarters has closed for the day!

13. Enjoy all the beauty Austin, Texas has to offer, and let us handle the details.

We hope these recommendations help lead you to your next favorite outdoor hangout. Whether you venture into the blazing heat this summer or save your adventures for the cool autumn, you can kick back and leave the painting to us. Call and book us for all things painting, staining, epoxy, and more, then head out to where your next Austin adventure awaits!