Due to the many underground fed springs, a good portion of the swimming holes in the Hill Country boast water temperatures around 65 to 70 degrees. In the hottest season of the year, this is particularly refreshing. For those that are a bit too susceptible to bouts of chill, the lower temperatures can preclude extended water breaks. The best antidote? Rivers.
Unlike their subterranean-fed brethren, these waterways are a bit larger and absorb more of the Texas heat. That creates water temperatures closer to 75 degrees (or higher) in spots like the Blanco State Park in Blanco, TX. Though still refreshing in these warm months, it's enough to stave off water induced shivers.
Though the drought has taken a toll on the river's flow, it hasn't stemmed the swimming. There are several access points along the shore that are worth exploring, but the main swimming area appears along a dam just beyond the park entrance and to the right. Here you'll find fellow water revelers floating in the river and perched atop the damn. In wetter months, walking along the dam can be a bit of a task, but at the moment it's quite dry and offers a nice spot to survey the scene. Just below the dam there is a man-made pool that offers a much more domesticated experience.
Along the shore, there is plenty of shade to be had, but the drought has taken its toll on the grass. There are a few decent spots, but much of it is quite patchy and discolored. Despite this, Blanco State Park is one of the better spots for shore-based activity. With numerous charcoal grills and picnic tables along the shore, it's certainly a food-friendly spot. There is a burn ban in effect, so only charcoal grilling is allowed in the park.
Though perhaps counter-intuitive to the above note, a day trip out to Blanco can afford much more than aquatic pleasures. The state park is just a few blocks from the historic town square. So, just a quick jaunt from the river, you'll be able to find several quality eating establishments like the Redbud Cafe Market. This particular restaurant features great sandwiches and has a full slate of Real Ale brews on tap, a perfect way to cap your day at the park.
Blanco State Park is open year-round seven days a week. Entry to the park costs $4 per adult for the day. Pets are allowed in the park. For information on camping, tours and more, check out the Blanco State Park webpage here.