Water Spots in Central Texas + Ways to Keep Cool AND Have Fun This Summer


It’s getting hot, hot, hot. And even though the outside temperature is rising, your body temperature doesn’t have to, with these fun, water-based ways for you, your friends and the kids to keep cool in the out-of-doors.

Central Texas is one of the most water-replete areas of the state, and with all the rivers and lakes in and around the Hill Country, there are countless watering holes to explore. In Wimberley, Jacob’s Well is one of our favorites. One of the longest underwater caves in Texas and an artesian spring, Jacob’s Well has been a beloved swimming hole for generations, and is a source of water for recharging the Edwards Aquifer. The water stays at a constant 68 degrees throughout the year, so it’s a wonderful place to cool down in the summer, too. There isn’t too much room for wading or actual swimming, but there is a rock face on the side of the well that makes a great diving board. And the hole goes 30 feet deep, so there’s no chance of diving too far.

Plum Creek, TX

Photo courtesy of Visit Wimberley

Also in Wimberley is Blue Hole, a more traditional swimming hole with changing rooms and restrooms, stone walkways in and out of the pool, and ladders for the deeper areas. The hole is shaded by mature Cypress trees, and there is a nice, grassy area across from the water that is perfect for a family picnic or for drying off in the sun. There’s a $7 entry fee – but it’s well worth it. Both Jacob’s Well and Blue Hole are less than 20 minutes away from Kyle, making them a perfect afternoon excursion for cooling off with the family or friends.

Up north in Austin, there’s the Barton Creek Greenbelt, an urban oasis of trails for running or biking and great watering spots like Campbell’s Hole, Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls. They’re really popular places for Austinites to explore, and some of them are a bit of a hike, but they’re magical natural spaces, and are great for people watching. Here’s a PDF map of the Greenbelt with details about trails, water spots and access points, courtesy of the Austin Parks & Recreation Department.

Plum Creek, TX

Photo of Sculpture Falls courtesy of Flickr

For at-home water fun for the family, there’s a lot that can be done with sprinklers, ice and the outdoor hose. Games like water limbo, splash tag and musical sprinkler freeze are great games for a crew of kids, and there’s always a traditional water balloon or water gun fight. Here’s a pretty robust list of some great water-based outdoor games for summer parties or those afternoons where your house is the place to be.

You can also have your kids play outside with ice to keep cool in the summer. Freeze action figures in blocks of ice for an icy excavation game, or make an art craft out of ice by sprinkling salt in a block of ice to melt the cracks and tunnels. Then drip liquid watercolor paint into the tunnels and see the beautiful patterns that the salt created.

Plum Creek, TX

 

Then there’s always the traditional pool action. Plum Creek has two in the neighborhood – Fergus and McNaughton – each with their own distinct personalities, and the City of Kyle’s public pool is open throughout the summer. Plus they have fun programming going on this summer, too.

So whether you want to stay in the neighborhood, in the city, or do some exploring, there’s so much to do to keep cool this summer in Central Texas. For more watering holes in the area, check out some of our past posts here.

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Summer Activities in the City of Kyle


Plum Creek TX

Ahhh summertime. Lightning bugs. Lemonade. Later and later sunsets. It’s the time of year for family reunions, having fun and enjoying the great outdoors (in a pool of nice, cold water that is). The last day of school for Hays CISD students is June 5th, and, for a couple months, kids in the community are free to expend their energies playing games, exploring and having fun instead of studying for those pesky spelling tests. To help keep you and your kiddos entertained this summer, the City of Kyle has a number of fun activities available for the whole family.

The Kyle Parks and Recreation Department is the master-mind behind many of the city’s summer activities. They have youth and teen day camps available throughout the summer, to help keep the kids away from the TV and the ever addicting video games. Instead, they’ll explore new places and ideas, and will engage with other Kyle area kids through physically and mentally exciting field trips and on-site activities. Field trip destinations include Blazer Tag, Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, rollerskating, bowling and more. Breakfast and lunch will be provided at the camp too, through the Hays CISD summer feeding program. Camps run from Monday to Friday each week of the summer, from June 10th to August 9th, with the exception of the week of the Fourth of July.

Plum Creek TX

Photo courtesy of Peter French

In addition to Parks & Rec summer camps, the department is also offering special programming at the Kyle Pool this summer. The pool is open daily from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, offering times for free swim and swimming lessons. Special night swims occurring throughout the summer including Teen Night at the Pool June 7th, Family Night June 21st, the Dive in Movie at the Pool July 26th and a Back to School Swim and Supply Drive August 9th. Each of these events takes place from 8:30 – 10:30 p.m.

Another special summer feature from the Parks and Recreation Department is the city’s monthly Movie in the Park. Four times throughout the summer, the city will erect its 282” inflatable movie screen at Gregg-Clarke Park to show a G or PG-rated movie 30 minutes after sunset for the Kyle community. The 2013 schedule includes Here Comes the Boom June 14th, Madagascar 3 July 12th, Finding Nemo (at the Kyle Pool) July 26th and Jumanji on August 16th. The movies are free and open to the public, and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and snacks.

Plum Creek TX

Photo courtesy of the City of Kyle

The Kyle Library is also offering summer activities, including their Summer Reading Program which will take place in June and July. Registration begins Monday, June 3rd. In addition to the traditional summer reading log, the Summer Reading Program features fun, family-friendly events and activities such as the Kay Cassidy Book Scavenger Hunt, Zombie Day, Science Rocks and more. More information is available on the Kyle Library website.

We can’t forget, of course, the City of Kyle’s annual Fourth of July Firework Show, taking place at the Plum Creek Golf Course in Plum Creek. The golf course will host a golf tournament after lunch on the big day, and from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. live music, hot dogs and snacks will be available at the golf course clubhouse before the firework display.

With all these activities at your disposal from the City of Kyle, plus all the things available in Plum Creek and Central Texas in general, there’s no limit to the fun you can have this summer. Enjoy it!

Barbecuing in Central Texas


You may or may not have heard, but May is National Barbecue Month; and rightly so, as May is one of the best months of the year for enjoying the great outdoors and cooking outside. AAAAND we live in one of the best places for enjoying the food genre. In fact, Texas Monthly recently released their list of the Top 50 BBQ restaurants in Texas, and guess what? Nine on the list are located around Kyle – in Austin, San Marcos, Lockhart and Luling. So, whether you want to cook it yourself, or if you prefer a professional to do it, there’s lots of BBQing to go around in Central Texas.

Plum Creek, TX

Photo courtesy of Youth Leader Stash

The all-time favorite Texas BBQ place on Texas Monthly’s list was Franklin Barbecue in Austin. The famous restaurant is notorious for its long waits and for selling out of food every day at noon, but it is one of the most highly-regarded barbecue spots in the country. Other Texas Monthly favorites include four others in Austin, Black’s Barbecue and Kruez Market in Lockhart, City Market in Luling and Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering in San Marcos. But that’s just the official list – there are many more to be enjoyed. And Texas Monthly doesn’t know everything!

The City of Lockhart – located less than 30 minutes away from Kyle – is the official Barbecue Capital of Texas, as pronounced by the Texas Legislature in both 1999 and 2003. (Now that’s official!) They have four BBQ restaurants in town, with an estimated 5,000 people visiting their restaurants each week.

Plum Creek TX

For those of you who prefer to do your own grilling, or have big plans for Memorial Day this weekend, Delish.com has great resources for your grilling experience, from safety tips and tricks, to main dish recipes and marinades, to expert grilling tips no one ever teaches you. Men’s Health has a BBQ Center as well, complete with an “8-week BBQ Master Class” that promises to make you “the best grill man on the block.”

Even though it’s the end of May and the official National BBQ Month is winding down, summer is on its heels, giving you plenty of time to stretch those grilling muscles.

Plum Creek TX

Photo courtesy of Backyard Simple

 

Summer Crafts for Kids


A few months without school can be trying for little minds and no one wants zombie children wasting hours in front of the television. To keep those munchkins stimulated and having fun, bust out the craft supplies and charge your creative side! We’ve got a few ideas to get your juices flowing.

Secret Gardens

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

(Credit: Richard Shilling)

You’ll need:

  • Fallen leaves
  • Thin sticks or string/thread

Here’s how:

  • Gather a variety of leaves – larger sizes work well.
  • Thread them onto a thin stick to create a little totem pole of different backyard leaves – create several and you’ll have a little fort or large work of art!
  • Or thread them onto a string and create a garland to hang indoors or outdoors for a little garden party or backyard affair.

Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Fun

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

(Credit: Ben Partridge)

You’ll need:

  • Cotton or polyester batting (quilting kind)
  • Pliers
  • Heavy-duty scissors or wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Clear fishing line or thin string
  • Paperclips or pliable wire
  • Scotch tape
  • Pencil or pen

Here’s how:

  • Tear away a section of batting roughly the size of the cloud you’d like to make.
  • Pinch and pull at the batting to stretch out the material, and create a billowy effect by patting and rolling around the batting between your hands until you’ve gotten a shape you’re happy with. Cloud sculpting is an imperfect process and an ideal activity for munchkins.
  • Snip a short length of paperclip and wrap it around a small dowel or pencil to create a spiral shape.
  • Use the pliers to form a small loop at one end of the wire for attaching your fishing line.
  • Press and twist your spiraled wire into the batting, securing it as you would a corkscrew.
  • Fasten your clouds to the ceiling with a piece of Scotch tape.
  • Get creative on where you hang your cloud collection!

The Monster of Plum Creek Lagoon

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

(Credit: a bird and a bean)

You’ll need:

  • Empty tissue boxes
  • Duct tape
  • Paint, tissue paper, glitter, or any other decoration item you desire
  • Sponge(s) or cardboard
  • Glue – hot glue is recommended
  • Scissors

Here’s how:

  • Adjust the tissue box opening to your desired size and use the duct tape to reinforce the opening.
  • Decorate as desired and leave to dry.
  • Cut triangles out of the sponge or cardboard material to glue to one end of the tissue boxes.
  • Have fun!

Brighter Than Batman

Plum Creek, Homes for Sale in Kyle TX

(Credit: Belinda Graham)

You’ll need:

  • Paper
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Piece of thin cardboard
  • Plastic cling wrap
  • Rubber band
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Flashlight

Here’s how:

  • Design a symbol (it could be your initials, favorite shape, etc.) in the paper making sure it’s no larger than the circumference of the toilet paper roll. Cut out your design.
  • Glue your symbol to the back of the thin cardboard and cut it out. If using letters, remember to glue them backwards!
  • Stick your superhero symbol onto a piece of plastic wrap.
  • Place the symbol (with the plastic wrap on the outside) onto the end of the toilet paper roll and pull the plastic wrap tightly around the roll. Secure it with the rubber band.
  • Trim the plastic wrap close to the rubber band and secure it down by winding on a piece of tape around the role, covering both the plastic wrap and the toilet paper roll.
  • Find a blank wall to begin marketing yourself as the new superhero in town!

If you’ve got more ideas, we’d love to hear them! Share your favorite kid craft here and if you can, include a picture of your little one with the finished product. Happy crafting!