By Stacey Leasca

Just 45 minutes outside of Austin, Texas, sits an oasis unlike any other where visitors can find a crystal blue-green cove that looks more like a mirage than reality. But, this little respite from the heat and humidity that envelopes Texas in the summer isn't a dream. No, this special place, known as Hamilton Pool, is every bit real and worth traveling to in the coming months.

As Visit Austin explained, Hamilton Pool Preserve is a historic swimming hole that was designated a preserve by the Travis County Commissioner's Court some 30 years ago.

It's a natural spring, which formed after the grotto collapsed to form both the swimming hole and the magnificent rock formations surrounding it. Now, it's fed by both the 50-foot waterfall above and by an underground river below. Though the waterfalls never completely dry out, they do slow to a trickle during the dry season.

Hamilton Pool Preserve Waterfall
Credit: Arpad Benedek/Getty Images

Beyond the water, the area is surrounded by lush, green flora and fauna, as well as several hiking trails for all visitors to explore. And, according to Do 512, along the routes, visitors may even spot a rare bird or two, including Golden Cheek Warblers and Cliff Swallows.

Back in the pool, swimmers will also get up-close and personal with the local fish and turtles that also call it home. And because the freshwater feeding the pool is so clear you'll be able to see each and every creature as it swims by.
Because this place is so serene and so close to Austin, it has become a major attraction. To limit the crowds and ensure everyone there has an ideal summer day, Travis County Parks requires guests to make a reservation during peak summer months. To make a reservation, guests simply need to head over to the park's website, choose between a morning or afternoon reservation, pay an $11 online fee, as well as a $15 per vehicle charge (cash only) upon arrival. But peace, quite, and summer fun is well worth a price tag like that.