Barton springs pool in Austin Texas is located inside the Zilker Park and is considered the best swimming hole from Austin.
This natural pool is 3 acres and is fed by underground natural springs.
The temperature of the water is usually around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is perfect for a cooling off on a hot day of summer, and even for a bath during spring and autumn.
This watering hole is very popular among tourists and locals. Actually, it gets a lot of visitors during the hot days of the Texan summer.
For decades, Barton Springs Pool has drawn locals and tourists alike to its refreshing waters and beautiful natural surroundings.
Over the years, Barton Springs pool has attracted people from all walks of life.
This pool is what it is today because of the legislators who have created state laws for free-spirited people.
Barton Springs Austin Texas
Located inside Zilker Park’s, Barton Springs is one of the best pools from Texas, perfect for swimming all year round.
The pool itself has more than 3 acres in size and it is fed by 32 springs located underground with an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
History of Barton Springs Pool
This swimming pool is beautiful and has a long and interesting history.
As one of the crown jewels of Austin, Barton Springs Pool is a beloved destination for those seeking a reprieve from the city’s hot and humid climate.
The springs in the area were considered a holy place by Native American tribes.
They used the springs in purification rituals.
The Spanish conquistadors discovered these waters by the end of the 17th century. Later, in 1730, missions were built on this site.
In 1830, a powerful man named William Barton (or Uncle Billy as he was called back then) moved in the area.
He had three daughters and named three springs from the area after his children: Parthenia, Zenobia, and Eliza.
Above all, William Barton realized the importance of Barton Springs and its touristic potential.
He started promoting it as a place with a strong spiritual vibe.
Different powerful men owned the property over the years. In 1918, the last owner Mr. Andrew Jackson Zilker gave it to the city of Austin.
The local authorities started a project in the 1920s to create a bigger pool in this natural area.
The size of Barton Springs pool in Austin Texas increased because people built dams and sidewalks.
Today, Barton Springs is still a popular place for people to visit from all over the United States.
The scenery is beautiful and the water is perfect for swimming all year round.
Right near the pool bathhouse, you can find Splash!. It is an educational center where you can learn a lot of things about the pool and also the Edwards aquifer.
Edwards aquifer is the spring that feeds the pool.
Where is Barton Springs Located?
The pool is inside the protected area of Zilker Park, conveniently located close to Austin (2.5 miles away).
The city of San Antonio is located about 1 hour and 15 minutes away from the swimming pool.
Houston is located 2 hours and 45 minutes away from the pool.
The pool is also conveniently located on Barton Creek Greenbelt, which is a popular hiking route in the area.
Planning a visit to Barton pool
The pool is a very popular place and more than 850,000 people visit it throughout the year.
This means that there will usually be a lot of people there, especially on summer weekends.
The pool is open daily between 5 a.m. to 10. 00 pm, but there are lifeguard on duty only between 8.00 in the morning till 10 in the evening.
Between 10 in the evening and 5 in the morning, the pool is closed to public access.
How to Buy Barton Springs Pool tickets
You do not have to pay to get in from November to mid-March.
But from mid-March until the end of October, you need to pay a small fee.
The fee is different for people who live near here and people who do not live near here.
|Daily Entry FeeResident
|Daily Entry FeeNon-Resident
|Children under 1 year
|Child (1-11 years)
|Junior (12-17 years)
|Adult (18-62 years)
|Senior (62 years and older)
|Veterans (Honorably Discharged)
You can buy tickets for the pool online or from a machine at the entrance of the pool.
You can pay using cash, credit cards, or debit cards.
In order to enter the natural pool, you need to show the ticket to the cashier. You are allowed to stay inside the park for the entire day.
Regarding the busiest hours, I can tell you that the summer days are the most crowded, especially during the afternoon.
The busiest times are on the weekends when it is hot outside.
It is less crowded in the early morning or late afternoon when there is no lifeguard on duty.
Also, Monday and Tuesday are less crowded, so you should consider taking a day off and enjoying a day in the pool.
Season passes owners have free access to this pool located quite close to downtown Austin.
Facilities at Barton Springs Pool
Barton springs Texas is a place that many people like to visit.
The parking lot at the entrance of the park usually fills up quickly, especially on weekends.
The parking lot is a decent size, but it still gets crowded on weekends during the summer in Texas.
There are restrooms and showers at the pool entrance where you can wash and change after a day.
There are no shops near the swimming pool, but there are plenty of options a few steps away from the entrance.
Things to know before you visit Barton Springs Pool
Before heading to Barton Springs, I want you to know the following things:
- This swimming pool is a facility operated by the city but it does not resemble other such facilities located anywhere else in Texas
- You have plenty of space to chill and relax as the natural pool is located inside Zilker Park which has a total surface of 350 acres. So although there are plenty of people bathing you won’t feel crowded at all
- With a constant temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can swim in this pool all year round, even during wintertime
- It is the only place on Earth where you can observe the Barton Springs salamander, a unique and endangered species that can be hardly seen
- This destination is popular among everybody, whether you are a student, a lawyer or a businessman; everybody comes here to have fun and take a refreshing bath in these beautiful springs.
- It is one of the cleanest pools from Texas and there are very strict protocols and an impressive number of cleaners who make sure that the water quality is at its best
- With depth between 1 to 18 feet, the place is suitable for everybody, including kids, beginners and advanced swimmers.
- If you want to visit the park without getting tired, we strongly recommend you take the train that goes along the 350 acres of the park area.
- topless sunbathing is allowed but quite rare
Swimming at Barton Springs Pool
This huge swimming pool from Texas hill country is a man-made pool with a total surface of 3 acres, so don’t worry, there is a lot of space for everybody.
There are no swing ropes or trampolines to jump directly into the water, but you don’t need them.
There is always enough room for you to swim and cool off, even when the pool is very crowded on weekends.
The water is extremely clear so with some snorkeling equipment you can explore also the underwater world and maybe spot the unique Barton Springs salamander.
The water from the pool comes from 4 different springs and has a constant level all year round.
There are lifeguards on duty between 8 in the morning till 8 in the afternoon, so you don’t have to worry about your safety while in the pool.
Around the pool are trees and grass, and you can choose to stay directly under the sun or search for a place under the trees, in the shadow.
Don’t forget to take with you some floating items, especially if you are not a very good swimmer.
There aren’t picnic areas or barbeque areas inside the park, and you are not allowed to enter with food, but just a few steps down the road, close to the entrance gate there are plenty of food trucks from where you can pick something you like.
What to bring with you to Barton Springs Pool
You are not allowed to bring food inside so don’t bother packing a picnic basket.
For sure you will need a blanket to lay on the grass to stay after a refreshing bath in the pool, but not for a picnic with your family.
A lifejacket or floating items are also good to bring, especially if you are not a good swimmer.
Take a lot of water with you to keep you hydrated, but make sure the water is in plastic bottles as glass bottles are not allowed inside the park.
Because the water is extremely clear is good to have with you the snorkeling equipment and maybe you are lucky and spot the endangered Barton Springs salamander.
Barton Springs Pool Rules
You are not allowed to bring inside Barton springs pool in Austin Texas:
- Glass bottles
- Any kind of alcoholic drinks
- Coolers, ice chests and thermal bags
- Frisbees, footballs, soccer balls or other hard balls
Soft drinks are permitted but must be in a plastic re-sealable container with a twist-top lid.
Pets are not allowed in the protected area. This includes leased animals like dogs.
You will have to leave your dog at home when going to this natural pool.
Once you enter the swimming pool site you agree with the rules and regulations on place established by local authorities.
Parking at Barton Springs
The parking lot from Barton swimming hole is located close to the entrance of the park and it has quite a decent size.
You don’t have to pay for parking if you get a ticket to the water hole.
But arrive early in the morning, especially on summer weekends when there are a lot of people.
Do not park your car outside of the parking area. If you do, you might get a ticket or have to pay a fine.
The parking lot for the pools is a short walk away, and there is no steep climb, just a smooth alley.
Barton Springs Salamander
Extremely rare to spot, the Barton Springs Salamander lives in Barton Springs pool in Austin Texas.
Most of us will visit the pool and not see these creatures, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
This is the only place in the world where this specie of salamander lives, and we need to protect their habitat.
Scientists who wear diving equipment often have to count these rare creatures, which can be difficult even for them.
Hotels and rentals
With Austin city located a short drive from Barton Springs, there are a lot of places to spend your night.
Our top picks for this area, the ones with the best price-quality ratio and amazing services are:
- Canopy by Hilton Austin Downtown with an outstanding restaurant, beautiful outdoor swimming pool, and a delicious breakfast included in the room rate
- Hyatt Regency Austin is located just 7 minute walk from the Capitol Building, featuring a sun terrace and spacious rooms some of them with kitchen and microwave
- Aloft Austin Downtown is the perfect destination for tourists looking to connect with the city and locals, featuring a spacious room with a private bathroom and breakfast included in the room price
Barton Springs in Austin Texas is without any doubt one of the most popular swimming pools from Texas, together with Hamilton Pool and Krause springs.
The place became more popular after the famous actor Robert Redford learned to swim in this water pool from Texas state.
The water temperature is constant all year round (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit) so it is a place where you can swim even during wintertime.
You don’t need to make reservations weeks in advance for this Austin Texas springs, but it is good to buy online the ticket to avoid the queues from the kiosk located at the entrance of the park.
Bring with you a lot of water, but in plastic bottles to stay hydrated the whole day and have a wonderful day with a lot of fun with your loved ones.
You can do a wonderful day trip in the area with Barton Springs in the morning, a short hike in the afternoon to Twin Falls and a refreshing bath in the evening at the Barton pool.
Is Barton springs pool free?
The pool is open all year round, and it is free of charge between October and mid-March.
During the summer season, between mid March to the end of September you have to pay only between 8 in the morning till 8 in the evening when a lifeguard is on duty.
How big is Barton Springs pool in Austin Texas?
The total surface of the pool is around 3 acres and it is a man-made pool built about 100 years ago. It is fed by underground springs, more exactly there are 4 such springs and has a constant level all year round and a constant temperature, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I swim at Barton springs?
Yes, you can swim here all year round, just that the lifeguard on duty is only between 8 in the morning till 10 in the evening, during the summer season.
Outside the summer season and between 5 a.m. till 8 a.m. you swim on your own risk as there are no lifeguards on duty.
Are there snakes at Barton springs Texas?
Let’s don’t forget that we are in the middle of nature so, of course, there are snakes in the area.
But snakes are more afraid of you than you are of them, so the chances of seeing one in the water or at the shore are extremely low, especially during summertime when the area is crowded.
Is Barton Springs cash only?
Entry tickets at Barton Springs in Austin Texas can be purchased online and paid with a credit/debit card or directly from the kiosk which is located at the entrance of the park.
If you choose to buy them from the kiosk, you can pay for your tickets with credit or debit cards or with cash, but only if you have exact currency.
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.
Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.
We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.
Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.
Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.