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Ways to Stay Cool in the Texas Heat

July 7, 2023 Texas, Safety

Texans are used to the heat, but the triple-digit temperatures across the state in 2023 are taking a toll on even the heartiest Lone Star State natives.

“An unrelenting stretch of blistering days amid an ongoing heat wave has put this summer on track to be one of Texas’ most extreme, weather data shows,” reported the Texas Tribune. “Although June was only Texas’ 16th warmest on record by average temperature, according to the state climatologist, a long period of very hot days between mid-June and mid-July has made this summer one of the most intense in terms of extended high temperatures.”

As the Texas Monthly reported, Texans typically endure heat-related discomfort like a well-worn badge of honor, but 2023 is something else:

  • In Junction, on the western edge of the Hill Country, the town’s record high temperature dating back to 1948 (109 degrees) has been broken three times in the past eleven days, reaching as high as 111 degrees.

  • One hundred miles northwest, San Angelo set a record high temperature of 114 degrees two days in a row last week – three degrees higher than the previous all-time high recorded in 1907.

  • Border town Del Rio hit a new scorching record of 115 degrees.



  • The “feels like” temperatures everywhere are “it feels horrible” as cities like Corpus Christi record a “feels like” temp of 125 degrees.

Yet, Texans know plenty of ways to stay cool in the heat.

“[Extreme heat has] always been treated like an unremarkable, seasonal reality, one we’ve successfully tempered through our built environment over more than 170 years—dog-run houses, icehouses, an elaborate maze of climate-controlled tunnels spread across 95 city blocks. And don’t get us started on our favorite swimming holes,” wrote Peter Holley for Texas Monthly.

Cool Off in a Texas-Size Swimming Hole

Texas has an abundance of natural swimming holes around the state, and they are a great way to keep cool in the extreme heat.

Here are some swimming holes to check out:

  • Barton Springs Pool (Austin): This 1,000-foot-long swimming hole is found in Austin’s 358-acre Zilker Park and is likely the most famous swimming hole in Texas. The pool itself measures three acres in size and is fed from underground springs with an average temperature of 68-70 degrees, ideal for year-round swimming. Up to 800,000 people per year visit the pool which plunges to 18 feet in some areas. For current admission fees visit this page. Fun Fact: Actor Robert Redford learned to swim at this pool when he was five years old.

  • Hamilton Pool (Dripping Springs): You will need a reservation (and cash only) for this popular Hill Country swimming hole that features a 50-foot waterfall spilling out of limestone outcropping. Part of the fun is getting to the box canyon location with a quarter mile hike from the parking lot to the pool that is rocky, narrow, and steep with lots of steps. The entire Hamilton Pool Preserve is 232 acres. Fun Fact: Water temperature can drop below 50 degrees in the winter and spring!
  • Krause Springs (Spicewood): Located 30 miles outside of Austin, Krause Springs has a swimming hole and 32 natural springs. The 115-acre property is listed on the National Registry of Historical Sites and has been privately owned by the Krause family for over 50 years. Fun Fact: The Springs that feed into the pools flow constantly, year round at around 68 degrees, even during times of extreme drought. After heavy rains, the pools and property drain very efficiently into Lake Travis.

  • Devils’ Waterhole at Ink’s Lake State Park (Burnet): Folks have been cooling off for years by jumping off the craggy rocks into the cool waters of Devil’s Waterhole. Hike the small canyon, swim at the pool, or explore scenic waterfalls upstream of the lake when Valley Spring Creek is running. Fun Fact: According to local lore, an old landowner used to have to cross the creek every once and awhile near the waterhole and his wagon would often get stuck in the treacherous terrain. Cursing and hollering could be heard in the distance while he worked to free the wheels. His foul-mouthed frustrations gave rise to the name Devil’s Waterhole.

  • Jacob’s Well (Wimberley): Swim May through September in this artesian spring swimming hole which is the entrance to an underwater cave system. The water year-round is 68 degrees. Fun Fact: Only permitted cave diving research professionals are allowed to dive Jacob’s Well. Their efforts have charted the cave system to nearly 140 feet deep and almost a mile long!

Remember when heading out to your favorite swimming hole or anywhere outdoors this summer, to dress appropriately, stay well hydrated and seek shade when you can find it.

Other Fun Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer

There are plenty of other ways to beat the Texas heat besides sitting in front of your swamp cooler with your favorite beverage in hand. Try some of these activities:

  • Go Ice Skating: You might not think of winter sports when you think of Texas but the Lone Star State has plenty of ice skating rinks to keep cool in. Figure skating websites list available rinks in Texas in all the metropolitan areas from Austin to El Paso to Houston.

  • Go Tubing Down a Texas River: If the idea of a Texas swimming hole is too stationary for you, then try tubing down one of these Texas rivers: Brazos River, Comal River, Frio River, Guadalupe River, Medina River, San Marcos River, South Llano River, and Trinity River.

  • Go to a Local History Museum: There are more than 1,000 local history museums across Texas, and not only are they great to learn about the state’s culture but they often air conditioning to beat the heat.
  • Cool Off in a Texas Lake: Texas may not have many large man-made lakes (Caddo Lake being the exception), but that did not stop local, state, and federal engineers from developing some amazing man-made lakes from Toledo Bend Reservoir with 1,200 miles of shoreline to Lake Travis, the jewel of the Hill Country, to Sam Rayburn Reservoir, with 114,000 acres of surface area to explore. These lakes are a great place to cool off in the summer heat.

  • Head to the Beach: Texas has 350 miles of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico so when it gets hot out, cool off by heading to the beach for a day trip, long weekend, or extended summer vacation. Southern Living listed the 10 best Texas beaches as : Boca Chica Beach, Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston Island State Park, Mustang Island State Park, Padre Island National Seashore, Port Aransas Beach, Rockport Beach, Seawall Urban Park, South Padre Island, and Surfside Beach.

  • Enjoy a Spicy Meal at Your Favorite Tex-Mex Restaurant: Texas has plenty of dining establishments that bring the heat with spicy food. Did you know that spicy food induces sweating in many diners and that sweating is one to cool off in the summertime heat? Even if you don’t go the spicy route, eating in your favorite restaurant is sure to come with a blast of cold A/C.

Safety First: Staying Cool This Summer

Always remember to keep “safety first” in mind when finding ways to stay cool this summer.

The City of Beaumont “Beat The Heat” reminds Texans of the following:

  • Heat injuries can happen doing any activity in a hot environment.
  • Sunburn can happen when your skin is exposed to the sun for too long.
  • Heat cramps can happen when low salt levels inhibit muscle function.
  • Heat exhaustion can happen when you lose too much water and salts through sweating.
  • Heat Stroke can happen when the body no longer has the ability to cool itself down. Heat Stroke is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

Some advice from the city this summer:

  • Prepare for your outdoor activities.
  • Plan frequent breaks, preferably indoors or in a cool, shaded area.
  • Drink water often. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water.
  • Eat well-balanced meals.
  • Cover exposed skin with light clothing or sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Try to avoid peak temperature times for activities.
  • Children: They may not be aware of when they are having a heat crisis. Make sure kids are protected from the sun, are drinking water, and taking breaks while on summer vacation.
  • Elderly and people with underlying health conditions: Are more sensitive to extreme heat. Be sure to monitor their overall health during activities.
  • Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, as they can dehydrate your body.


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