The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Swimming Spots

We have to come clean, there aren't really any natural swimming spots inside the Houston city limits, so we've gone a little farther looking for places to take a dip. These spots might not be in Houston, but they are the most popular with Houstonians. Some are just 30 minutes away, one requires more than six hours drive, but most are just an hour or two away, easily doable in one day. We've got beaches, rivers and lakes on our list. See if your favorite spot made it into the top 10.

10. Garner State Park / Rio Frio
234 RR 1050, Concan

The furthest destination that makes our list is Garner State Park / Rio Frio, some six hours drive away. There's lots of traffic at Garner, so plan your trip accordingly. But even with the crowds, the ice cold water of Rio Frio is too tempting to resist. Swimmers and inner tube riders share the river, while canoeing is also popular.

9. Village Creek State Park

Village Creek State Park is a low-key destination and perfect for families. Along with swimming, there's fishing, hiking, camping, picnicking and bird watching. Canoe and kayak rentals are nearby. Check with the ranger's station for info on activities, including night hikes.

8. Porretto Beach
10th and Seawall Blvd, Galveston

A privately owned beach that's open to the public, Porretto Beach has on-the-sand parking making it especially convenient for families who want to spend the day swimming.

7. Port Aransas

The pretty beaches of Port Aransas make for great swimming. On the tip of Mustang Island, some 30 minutes from Corpus Christi, the beaches are also known as great places for sea shell hunting. Locals call Port Aransas "the best kept secret on the Gulf Coast." It's not exactly unknown, but even during the busy season there's plenty of space on the beach for visitors.

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WestSideBob topcommenter

Hmmmm .... "Houston's Top 10 Swimming Spots" ? ? ?   Perhaps "Houston's Top 10 Road Trips to Swimming Spots" would have been more appropriate ? 

Hanabi-chan topcommenter

If you are going to include Port Aransas, you won't remiss in adding Malaquite Beach at the Padre Island National Seashore, North Padre Island. 

Chase Thorn
Chase Thorn

all of your lists suck and this proves it. these spots arent in Houston...Common sense isnt very common anymore.


Ahhh, but what of the elusive and mysterious cliffs in Katy, Tx.

Google map "Raintree Village Katy, TX"


Great list! I've lived near Manvel for a long time and still haven't been to Twin Lakes, but I hear it's nice. FYI...the link to Twin Lakes in Manvel is incorrect. The one included is for a Twin Lakes park near Round Rock, TX. Here's the correct link:

Nicole Ponder Bradford
Nicole Ponder Bradford

This article confirmed Houston doesn't HAVE any swimming spots (natural ones, anyway) since they are all a pretty good haul away. A list of the coolest pools would be nice if you can get away from overpriced hotels with pools that are just basically, well, pools with expensive poolside service. There are some really good well kept secrets around town that are way cheaper than a full-on water park.

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