Splash across Texas! The Definitive Guide to Swimming in Central Texas


Did you know that there are over 150 places to swim in Central Texas? Whether you prefer the heated comfort of the manmade pool or the old-fashioned swimming hole, this book covers it all. Detailed and informative chapters help you easily locate pools, hours and fees, plus hundreds of other useful tips.

This book goes beyond the usual facts and figures of a guidebook and teaches history lessons while exploring our aquatic resources. Read fascinating anecdotes about historical ...

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Did you know that there are over 150 places to swim in Central Texas? Whether you prefer the heated comfort of the manmade pool or the old-fashioned swimming hole, this book covers it all. Detailed and informative chapters help you easily locate pools, hours and fees, plus hundreds of other useful tips.

This book goes beyond the usual facts and figures of a guidebook and teaches history lessons while exploring our aquatic resources. Read fascinating anecdotes about historical characters such as Sam Houston, Robert E. Lee, Santa Fe, Coronado and the El Camino real, Bonnie and Clyde, and outlaw Sam bass. Visit historical sites along the Chisholm Trail while staying cool. Learn about the dramatic flooding of the Colorado River and the construction of the Highland Lakes. With hundreds of historical and contemporary photographs, this book is an excellent resource for all ages.


  • Municipal Swimming Pools
  • The Highland Lakes
  • Army Corps of Engineers Lakes
  • Water Theme Parks
  • University Facilities
  • Rivers, Springs and Swimming Holes
  • Health Clubs
  • Directories of Swimming Instructors, Camps and Aquatic Events
  • And much, much more!
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Editorial Reviews

Clay Smith
Chandra Moira Beal must have stuck her toe in every waterhole throughout Central Texas. And then hunted down every morsel of information she could about each one of them to compile this thorough, informative, and loving dedication to the joys of swimming in Central Texas. Each Austin municipal pool has its "statistics," like maximum depth, minimum depth, length, months of operation, and phone number and address meticulously listed, with photographs, too. For anyone yearning to get wet beyond city limits, Colorado River access points are covered in depth, as are natural springs, water parks, "ghost pools," and state parks.
Austin Chronicle
Steve Labinski
Wow! Chandra Moira Beal has given us a new fascinating reference book to add to our Texana book selection. Splash Across Texas!
Crams everything possibly related to swimming in Central Texas into a blue paperback book of 392 pages. Splash Across Texas! weds over 150 pools, lakes and parks in Central Texas with many pages of interesting historical and anecdotal information. Many of the areas famous parks like Barton Springs and Deep Eddy Pool are presented with interesting information regarding their history and origin. The reader soon draws a correlation with the way Texas developed through history by its relationship to the water supply.

The bulk of the book chronicles every public swimming and wading pool in Austin and the surrounding
suburbs. This information is enhanced with literally hundreds of photographs of almost every pool, park and monument.

The book contains much information beyond Austin as well. Central Texas lakes like Lake Belton, Lake Marble Falls and Lake Buchanan are covered. Rivers and natural springs in towns like Salado, Wimberley are covered. Natural pools like Hamilton Pool outside Austin are discussed.

Beal does not leave out state parks either. Texas state parks contain much hidden history, and many are very underutilized. Learn about the little-known McKinney Falls State Park just minutes from downtown Austin. Or about the "lost pines" in Bastrop State Park, which was part of a prehistoric pine forest that now grows over a hundred miles to the east.

The book also includes complete visitor information on water parks around Texas, like Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, SeaWorld in San Antonio, Six Flags in Arlington, etc. Even the area's university pool facilities are exposed. We learn the little known secret that on the University of Texas campus lies a world-class 50-meter by 25-yard competition pool. If you are a competitive swimmer, Beal describes how the public can take advantage of these facilities.

So despite the fact that I've not been much of a swimmer, I have found plenty of interesting information about central Texas. If you live outside Austin, this book makes a great travel companion if you plan to visit Austin or central Texas for its parks. Beal extensively uses first-hand interviews with long-time residents about how the area was created and evolved over the years. These are the things that make Austin life and visiting Austin so interesting.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780967160405
  • Publisher: La Luna Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/1/1999
  • Pages: 400

Meet the Author

Chandra Moira Beal lives and writes in Austin, Texas. Chandra grew up in Santa Cruz, California and moved to Austin in 1991 after falling in love with the area. She has a bachelor's degree in music theory from Concordia University. Although she has no formal education in writing, she has been writing since she can remember. She bases most of her work on her life experiences. After obtaining her music degree, Chandra abandoned it and began to freelance non-fiction articles for national and international clients. Splash Across Texas! The Definitive Guide to Swimming in Central Texas is her first book, and is self-published.

Although she grew up swimming in the Pacific Ocean, Chandra did not become really interested in swimming pools and springs until she visited Texas. "I visited Barton Springs on my first trip to Austin in 1988, and I was immediately smitten. I observed a spirit in Austin that transcended the people and buildings, and Barton Springs embodied that feeling. When I returned to California, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I decided to move to Austin permanently and spent summers at the local pools trying to stay cool. I learned more about Austin's character and make-up by hanging out at the pool than I did reading the local paper. This concept intrigued me and prompted me to learn more about Austin's history.

Splash Across Texas! began as a short, descriptive essay about the neighborhood pool, that evolved into the preface. I wanted to learn more about the Austin parks system and began researching the history. The more research I did, the more places I found throughout Central Texas. Eventually, I decided I had enough material for a book. It was one of those moments when the figurative light bulb went off over my head. I was fascinated by the history surrounding our aquatic resources and how it was tied to the development of our community. Every time I swam, I overheard someone asking about the pool system. I realized that no other book quite like it existed, and with so many people moving to Austin I thought it would fill a niche."

Chandra has also worked as a staff writer for law firms and a public relations firm. She has assisted in running a nonprofit animal rescue organization, and has held a variety of odd-jobs from janitorial to banking. She enjoys staying busy through volunteering.

Chandra lives with an extraordinary house rabbit named Maia, and enjoys spending time with her partner Stan, an architectural and graphic designer. She has numerous hobbies such as film noir, brewing, yoga, daydreaming, and big band music.

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Read an Excerpt

City of Austin Neighborhood Pools

Reed Pool

This tucked-away neighborhood pool is named for Roberta Reed, an Austin citizen, and her daughters. It is located deep in the old Enfield neighborhood on the shores of Lake Austin. Set back from the street, you'll have a nice stroll through the grassy park past Taylor's Lime Kiln as you approach the pool.

The pool, built in 1954, has an irregularly-shaped main swimming area and a separate wading pool. There is one designated lap lane. There is no bathhouse but an outdoor shower and rest rooms are provided. Shade can be found under some oak trees which hang over the fence, and willow and elm trees surround the park. Reed Pool is a quiet, neighborhood swimming spot, but very popular with local residents. It is completely wheelchair-accessible. Reed Pool also has a swim team.

The six-acre park has a playground, picnic tables and grills, and large grassy areas. Lake Austin is a very short walk down a trail in the back of the park. There is parking on Pecos Street, and in a small lot next to the pool. Soda machines provide concessions.

A vestige from Austin's history, Taylor's Lime Kiln still stands in Reed Park. The lime manufactured in this kiln was used in the building of the original Austin capitol building. Peter Calder Taylor (1829-1895) moved to San Antonio from the Orkney Islands in Scotland in 1851 with fifty cents in his pocket. He built a kiln in San Antonio in 1860, then when the railroad came to town in 1871 he moved to Austin. Construction projects were sprouting up everywhere, and land in Austin was selling for fifty cents an acre! The construction of Taylor's kiln cost $5,000. This original kiln was built in 1871. Taylor later built a second kiln about one mile south of Reed Park. Taylor was so successful because he devised a way of keeping the fire inside the kiln going while the lime burned continuously. This allowed more control over the process. The quarry where he extracted limestone is now submerged under Lake Austin at Taylor's Slough. However, the wagon trail he used to haul materials back to the workshop still exists between Reed Park and the submerged quarry. The wooden braces on the present day kiln have deteriorated, and some modern repairs have been made. Taylor patented his braces because they contained the walls while expanding with heat. The original firebox entrance has been closed with cement since children began playing inside. It originally had a burning well thirty feet deep and ten feet in diameter. At its peak, the kiln produced up to one hundred barrels of lime per day that was sold as far south as Galveston. Horse stables, carpenter and blacksmith shops, and wheelwright and paint shops surrounded the original kiln. If you look hard at the present-day Reed Park, you can easily imagine what a bustling scene it was. Taylor's Lime Kiln was designated a historical landmark in 1974, affirming Taylor's integral role in the development of Austin's economy and architecture....

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