For July 4th weekend, I decided to try something different: a dip in one of Texas’ most famous swimming holes, Krause Springs. Along with the spring fed hole itself, I was able to visit the manmade pool and the butterfly gardens.
During my time at Krause Springs, I was able to learn more about myself and why people love this natural spring fed pool so much. Read on to see my review of the goods, the bads and my overall experience at this Texas hot spot.
Krause Springs is located in Springwood, Texas, just a short drive from Austin into what seems like the middle of nowhere. After driving about a mile on a rocky dirt road, you’ll find the entrance to the site, surrounded by arching trees, blooming flowers and a beautiful landscape full of fountains and small statues.
The entry fee is $8 for those 12 and older, $6 for children above four, and free for anyone younger. After receiving a wrist band, entrants are free to explore anywhere within the site, until their closing time of 8:00 PM (for the adjusted Covid hours).
This site is about two and a half hours from where I live, and after calling ahead to learn that the location would be extremely busy that weekend (and would likely fill up quickly due to Covid-19 restrictions), my boyfriend Will and I decided to leave at 6:30 AM.
Although I expected we would arrive much too early to do any swimming, I wanted to be one of the first ones in line, insuring we would be able to access the site. But to my great surprise, even though we arrived just after the opening time of 9:00 AM, the line by the entrance was distressingly long, and we found ourselves incredibly lucky to be some of the last people permitted inside.
Will and I hurried towards the swimming hole to claim a good spot to set down our things. In our attempts to social distance and beat out the crowds, we took a short cut, setting up next to a field of surfaced tree roots.
Although an uncomfortable seating arrangement, we were able to save our own spot without being too close to others and take a quick dip into the water before it was bombarded with people. From the start, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of luscious trees that encircled the area, making sunscreen almost unnecessary.
The coolness of the water was enjoyable for a while, but we quickly learned that any peace we found in the pool was soon lost with the masses of visitors that surrounded us. A crowded scene that would normally be somewhat uncomfortable was turned into a nightmarish situation for anyone worried about the six-feet barrier.
Glad we had taken most of our pictures of the area before it was too packed, we spent most of our time sitting by the water and observing. The water appeared to be shallow, with visitors able to stand in most sections of the pool. Other than a rope swing used by a few brave kids to jump into the water, the only thing to do was wade around and drink a few beers.
Never having attended a swimming hole myself, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it, and before long I found myself bored, asking “What do I do now?” The hundreds of people floating nearby or laying out along the rocks seemed to be enjoying themselves, but I quickly learned that this type of outdoor experience just wasn’t for me.
I am an adventurer. My idea of a vacation is exploring the unknown or trying new things. And although I felt like the spring wasn’t as gratifying to me, I couldn’t help but notice the enjoyment that the other visitors had in a holiday of relaxation.
After a while, Will and I decided to pack our things to check out the rest of the site before we left. The manmade pool was very nice, although small. Even with the reduced capacity, there didn’t seem to be any comfortable place to fit in.
One pleasantly surprising section was the butterfly gardens. Serenaded by the sounds of windchimes, we walked through the bushes with beautiful budding flowers and the occasional butterfly fluttering by. Coupled with some decorative outdoor furniture, the garden seemed like the perfect way to get away from the crowds and find some peace in nature.
Although the activities offered at Krause Springs weren’t exactly my cup of tea, it was obvious why Texans love this little swimming hole so much. Covered by a canopy of trees and surrounded by a green glow, the natural pool is like a haven for the perfect summer getaway.
The water, refreshingly cool during hot summers day, invites you in with a couple friends and a cold White Claw. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try jumping off the rope swing and perfecting your landing.
There’s also a small waterfall that you can swim behind to experience a renewed feeling of bliss. You can lay back with a floatie or sit on a nearby rock for some pics perfect for the Gram.
If swimming holes really aren’t your thing, you can take a dip in the manmade pool nearby. Even though it’s quite small and not anything special, what sets it apart is the gorgeous landscaping and construction.
The well-trimmed shrubbery and fitted stones make the entire site ornate, putting it one step above the rest. I found that even when I didn’t feel like swimming, I could just walk around the complex in awe of the elegant atmosphere.
Finally, take a walk through the butterfly gardens if you’re wanting to get away from it all. The atmosphere gives a new definition of serenity, with gorgeous flora and sounds of nature that are like music to your ears.
Krause Springs isn’t for everyone. I learned early on that if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, this probably isn’t the place for you. Be prepared for a day of relaxation, mostly including sitting or floating around.
Another downer was the absurd amount of people there. Considering this was supposedly reduced capacity, I can’t imagine the hordes of people that would be present under normal circumstances. Any kind of relaxing experience is really affected by having to constantly avoid human contact.
So if you are planning on taking a trip to Krause Springs, I recommend arriving early and visiting on a weekday.
Overall, I think that Krause Springs was a fun new experience for me. It may not have been an adventure, but I was able to learn more about how different people find enjoyment in the outdoors. How the world around us can be awakening and galvanizing or a way to unwind and let go of our anxieties. Nature inspires us to follow our own path, opening us to new opportunities.
At Krause Springs, I was reminded of the story of the Giving Tree. Sometimes, we are looking for a fun place to play, and the tree provides us with a swing. Other times, we seek peace, where a simple tree stump can be a place to rest our legs. And through it all, nature is there to provide for us.
What has nature done for you? Comment below! And learn more about Krause Springs at https://krausesprings.net/.