1. Barton Springs is free in the morning
You may think when the temperature rises over 100 degrees in Texas, it’s best to hit watering holes like Barton Springs in Austin. Bad news — everybody else has the same idea, but the pool is free at 5 AM for a few hours and after 9 PM. Admission is only $3 other than those times.
2. The Ballpark in Arlington
Every small town in Texas from Paris to Marfa has a baseball diamond suitable for summer fun, but for me, it’s always the Texas Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington. Get a $5 hot dog, holler and feel the camaraderie.
3. Hotter’N Hell Hundred
Head to Wichita Falls in August and cheer on thousands of cyclists willing to brave the sun in exchange for free Powerade and bragging rights.
4. More chances for the weird to come out in Austin
Austin’s concentration of weird is more obvious without winter coats. Skinny dipping at Hippie Hollow can be followed up with Chicken Shit Bingo at The Little Longhorn Saloon and eventually some late-night people-watching at Kerbey Lane Cafe.
5. Frozen margaritas at San Antonio Riverwalk
If there’s one takeaway from Texas, it’s that we often love our Tex-Mex more than our families and pets. Every city offers quite the selection of Mexican food, but if you’re looking for a scenic stroll near a center center, nothing comes remotely close to the San Antonio Riverwalk.
6. Balmorhea State Park
Not many Texans go to this state park to cool off in the summer because it’s almost as remote as Big Bend. Nevertheless, it puts Barton Springs to shame as the largest spring-fed swimming pool in the world.
7. Float the river
Text your friends, grab a few six packs, and float the San Marcos River. Hire a shuttle to pick you up at the end — there are more than a few shuttle companies capitalizing on Texans’ desire for sunlight and alcohol.
8. Watching fireflies at dusk
Firefly-watching is practically a rite of passage in the south, but where there are fireflies and heat, there are also mosquitoes.
9. Freak out over Jacob’s Well
Jacob’s Well is well known as an excellent place to cool off in crystal clear water, but you might hesitate to jump off the high rock over the 100+ foot deep hole — on the other hand, that’s exactly what makes it so much fun.
10. Kayak Lady Bird Lake
A lot of Texans are biased in favor of an Austin summer because many of the outdoor concerts and music festivals are held there at Auditorium Shores and Zilker Park. In addition, Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) is a respite close at hand after work downtown.