Where You Can Go, to Cool Off
The summer of 2020 is a season of uncertainty. With COVID-19, people and governments are playing it “cool” when it comes to opening outdoor parks and attractions. So, unless you have your own pool, you may have to travel a bit to fnd places to swim.
“Frio” means ”cold” in Spanish, and that is why the Frio River is popular for swimming, tubing, and all manner of chillin’.
Some visitors park a chair in its refreshing waters and dip their toes in. The Frio spans several counties west and southwest of San Antonio, including Uvalde County. Here, Concan is a nice stop with a cluster of lodgings and shops serving tourists. Annabel McNew, the executive director of the Texas Hill Country River Region, enthuses about what visitors will encounter in the area.
“They will see the crystal clear waters of the Frio River, and a winding county road with vacation homes, and Neil’s Dining Room, open since 1924.” A great- grandson of the original owner still runs this quaint eatery, so you know Concan must be a Texas favorite!
“For generations, people have been coming out to the Frio,” McNew says. And, they are visiting this summer.
“People are anxious to get outside. They’re excited to get fresh air and be in the water. There is a lot of room to spread out, and the early and mid-week visits are so quiet.”
Concan outfitters rent flotation devices, and Garner State Park is right up the road with trails and picnic tables and “… with a beautiful stretch of the river,” McNew adds.
If you want to swim where it’s just you and a river bend, visit the quiet landscape of James Kiehl River Bend Park in tiny Comfort, or stop by Joshua Springs Park and Preserve. In Boerne is Kreutzberg Canyon Natural Area for water recreation. These serene parks are nestled along the Guadalupe River.
North on 281, Canyon Lake is just west of Spring Branch, and it’s open! The Canyon Beach Park on the north side of the lake has a swim beach open weekdays 1-6 pm and weekends / holidays 8 am-6 pm (starting fee at $5 a car). W.O.R.D. Comal Park is open on the south side of the lake and has a swim beach open 10 am-7 pm daily limited to the first 200 cars (starting at $10 a car).
Northwest of San Antonio is Bandera County, home to Medina Lake Park. The lake offers light sandy beaches for swimmers, and it’s RV campground has a big pool.
Tucked inside of the city of New Braunfels is Landa Park, the perfect place for anyone with a hankering for the water. Swimmers can dive into the Springfed Pool.
“This historic body of water is fed by the Comal Springs and stays a constant 72 degrees year-round. Built in the early 1900s, it is one of the oldest and most historic bathing pools in Texas,” says the city website.
If a pool is not your thing, you can slide your feet into the meandering little waterways that roam the park or rent a paddleboat to cruise the lake.
Landa Park has two other swimming pools, but this summer, they’re closed. Springfed Pool will have a limited capacity.
A nostalgic San Antonian may wonder: “What ever happened to the old public swimming pool, in Alamo Heights?”
Built in the 1940’s, The Heights Pool now offers admission with the purchase of a season pass.
They don’t offer day passes, but this oasis, with its crepe myrtles, and lounge chairs, is open daily through early September. So, if you get a membership, (singles passes start at $300.00), you will enjoy a huge Olympic pool, a deep blue diving pool, a snack shack, showers, and changing rooms.
The country’s oldest park is San Pedro Springs Park founded in 1630! They have a gorgeous, massive old pool. But, the City’s reopening plan includes the limited opening of 11 outdoor pools from July 3 – August 9. The website does not list which facilities, so check before you go.
For directions on these road trips, go to AAA.com. They’ve mapped out routes like, “Texas Hill Country Trail Scenic Drive”.
Before you go anywhere this summer, research their opening hours and COVID-19 restrictions, which may mean a limited number of visitors. In this environment, things change fast.
“The pandemic has disrupted travel worldwide,” says spokesperson Daniel Armbruster of AAA Texas/New Mexico. “It has impacted all facets of the travel industry, and will likely lead to changes in all segments of the industry.”
This summer, COVID-19 will be traveling alongside us, no
matter where we go.
BY BERIT MASON