Texas Hill Country: a place known for its up-and-coming wine region, and most importantly, its barbecue. But it might be time to add something else to that list: its incredible swimming holes. When we first came across Hamilton Pool Preserve, we were impressed, but after finding this gem, Jacob's Well, we're convinced that overheated Texans have the best places to cool off in summer.
Located just outside of Wimberley, Texas, Jacob's Well is one of the longest underwater caves in the state at roughly 30 feet deep vertically and even deeper at other off-shoots of the cave (smaller offshoot caves extend to depths of roughly 120 feet deep). As an "artesian" spring, the water from the well actually flows upwards without a pump. Thousands of gallons of water are pumped through the well per minute and serve as a feeder for nearby Cypress Creek. Much of the area surrounding the well is now protected land (Jacob's Well Natural Area). The swimming hole was also a gathering place for Native Americans and early settlers.
When to go: Anytime. But we recommend waiting until it gets hot enough to really enjoy the cool depths. Be sure to call ahead to make sure that the well is flowing (512-847-5999); it's stopped a few times over the past few years.
What to do: This is a great spot for swimming, naturally. Dive off the rocks that surround the well, or just dip your feet in from the side. Because it's not very large, there's a limit of 25 swimmers in the well at one time. If you go on a Saturday, get there early for a free 1.5-hour tour of the area at 10am. You'll learn about the well's history and the flora and fauna surrounding it. If you're a trained scuba diver, there are deeper caverns to explore, but be careful. Because of the strong current and small openings, diving in these caves can be dangerous.
Photo: Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 4.0