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How to spend a day at Barton springs pool in Austin Texas

Barton springs pool in Austin Texas is located inside the Zilker Park and is considered the best swimming hole from Austin.

This natural pool has 3 acres and is fed by underground natural springs with an average temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for a cooling off on a hot day of summer, and even for a bath during spring and autumn.

This spring-fed watering hole is extremely popular among tourists and locals, and it attracts an impressive number of visitors during the hot days of the Texan summer.

Over the years Barton Springs pool has drawn people from all walks of life, from legislators who have concocted state laws there to free-spirited who make this pool what it is today.

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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 Austin Texas

This beautiful swimming pool has a very interesting and long history behind it, which I am about to tell you in the following rows.

The springs from the area were considered to be a holy place and used in purification rituals by Native American tribes that lived in the area.

The Spanish conquistadors discovered these waters by the end of the 17th century. Later, in 1730, missions were built on this site.

100 years later, around 1830, a powerful man from that time named William Barton or Uncle Billy as people used to call him, moved in the area.

Barton springs pool aerial view
Barton springs pool aerial view

He had three daughters and named three springs from the area after his children: Parthenia, Zenobia, and Eliza.

He realized the importance of Barton Springs and its touristic potential. He started promoting it as a place with a strong spiritual vibe.

The property was owned by different powerful men until 1918 when the last owner, Mr. Andrew Jackson Zilker, gave it to the city of Austin.

The local authorities started to work at a project in the 1920s with the main purpose of creating a larger pool in this natural area.

The increase in the size of Barton Springs pool in Austin Texas was possible because the springs were dammed and sidewalks were built.

Today Barton Springs still attracts a diverse crowd of people from all walks from all over the United States because of its stunning sceneries and waters perfect for bathing all year round.

Right near the pool bathhouse you can find Splash!, an educational center where you can learn a lot of interesting things about the pool and the Edwards aquifer which feeds the pool.

Where is Barton springs Austin located?

The pool is located inside the protected area of Zilker Park, conveniently located close to the city of Austin (2.5 miles away).

Barton springs pool Tx entrance
Barton springs Tx entrance

The city of San Antonio is located about 75 minutes away from the swimming pool, while Houston is located 2 hours and 45 minutes away, conveniently located on Barton Creek Greenbelt, the most popular hiking route from the area.

Planning a visit to Barton pool

More than 850.000 people visit the pool all year round, so expect a lot of people, especially during the 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.

Barton springs pool texas Barton springs pool in Austin Texas
Barton pool texas

There is no admission fee between November to mid-March, but starting with mid-March to the end of October you have to pay a small fee, different for residents and non-residents, as follows:

Age GroupDaily Entry FeeResidentDaily Entry FeeNon-Resident
Children under 1 yearFREEFREE
Child (1-11 years)$2$4
Junior (12-17 years)$3$5
Adult (18-62 years)$5$9
Senior (62 years and older)$2$5
Veterans (Honorably Discharged)FREEFREE

You can buy the tickets online or directly from the Kiosk located at the entrance of the pool and you can pay with exact currency or with credit or debit cards.

Walkthrough of Barton Springs Pool in Austin, Tx - Top Places to Visit

You have to present the ticket to the cashier for admission to the natural pool and you can spend the whole day inside the park.

Regarding the busiest hours, I can tell you that the summer days are the most crowded, especially during the afternoon.

Without any doubt the most crowded periods are the days of the weekend when outside is extremely hot, so to have this place more for yourself you should try visiting it in the first hours of the day or late in the afternoon when there is no lifeguard on duty.

Barton springs pool in summer
Barton springs Tx in summer

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 available at Barton springs pool in Austin Texas

Barton springs Texas are among the most popular attractions in the area so the parking place available at the entrance of the park is likely to fill out very quickly, especially during weekends.

The parking place is decent-sized, but it is still not spacious enough for the crowded days of weekends in the Texan summer.

At the pool entrance, there are restrooms and showers where you can wash and change after a day in the pool.

Barton springs pool swimming
Barton springs swimming

There are no shops in the area so you cannot buy anything while bathing here, but down the road, a few steps from the entrance of the swimming pool there are plenty of options to choose from.

Things to know before you visit Barton springs pool Austin Texas

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 is a destination popular among everybody, no matter if 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 in Austin Texas

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 plenty of room for you to swim and cool off no matter how crowded the pool becomes during weekends.

Barton springs pool aerial view
Barton springs Texas United States aerial view

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 for a day at Barton springs Austin

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.

Don’t forget to take with you sun cream and a towel, as well as sunglasses, a hat, and your swimsuit.

Blue Hole Texas Swimming hole Blue Barton Springs
Barton Springs drone view

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.

What you cannot bring inside Barton spring

You are not allowed to bring inside Barton springs pool in Austin Texas:

  • Glass bottles
  • Any kind of alcoholic drinks
  • Food
  • Coolers, ice chests and thermal bags
  • Smoking
  • 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 also not allowed inside the protected area, not even leased so you will have to leave your dog 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 pool

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 the parking as long as you get the entry ticket to the water hole, but make sure you arrive quite early in the morning especially during summer weekends when it gets really crowded.

Barton Springs Pool in Texas
Barton Springs Pool in Texas

Don’t park your car outside the parking area as you might end up with a fine for parking outside the designated area.

For the parking space to the pools, there is a short walk and there is no steep climb but 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 dressed in diving equipment count these rare creatures very frequently and even for them, for the experts sometimes it proves to be a difficult task.

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

Conclusion

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.

Barton springs pool in summer
Barton springs Texas in summer

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.

FAQ

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

We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money, plus COVID coverage.

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.