Best Swimming Holes on the Frio River in Concan TX

Concan, Texas is a haven for those who appreciate the natural beauty of the outdoors and the refreshing thrill of a good swim. This tranquil, picturesque locale in the Texas Hill Country is home to a variety of swimming spots, including the renowned swimming holes on the Frio River.

From the crystal clear waters of the river to the cool, shaded pools hidden among the region’s scenic trails, Concan offers a multitude of options for swimmers of all ages and skill levels.Whether you’re seeking a tranquil spot to float and relax, or an adventurous getaway on the river, you’ll find your perfect aquatic retreat in Concan!

Does the Frio River Have Water?

Especially in 2024, a lot of people are hesitant to visit. Does the Frio still have water? The short answer is yes!

The longer answer, the Frio is experiencing drought. Large part of the river are dry making it unsuitable for floating the river. However, there are so many swimming holes that are filled with water. In fact, this is quite possibly the best time to go to Concan. Usually Concan is so popular that places but a 3 night minumum on stays and the area gets so crowded. Due to people spreading rumors that the Frio is completely dry and failing to mention all of the places WITH water, many people have been scared away.

Now vacation rentals are cheaper and there are less crowds. Even more so, the small businesses that rely on Summer tourism desperately need the business. It’s projected to be one of their worst years (and last year was already bad). Your trip to Concan supports so many small businesses who desperately need it. And thanks to the region, they regularly test the water so you can be assured that the water is also safe to swim in.

All the rumors are NOT true. The river does have water. It might not be a great idea to go tubing, but you can definitely visit some clear river water and swimming holes. We are sharing all of the places that do have water.

For more great ideas check out our other top blog posts

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Things to Note About Concan Swimming Spots

With the Frio River being miles long, it can be hard to know which spots you should, or can, visit. Each one is a little different. Some swimming spots are more popular, others have amenities like slides, great rocks to jump off of, or make great spots for a rope swing. Some spots are more affordable and some cost more. There are areas with clearer water and places where it can be murkier.

It’s important to note that the Frio River is constantly changing so it’s possible the water will look different when you visit. 

Of course, swimming in Concan is fun, but there are other exciting activities in Concan you should try; embark on a Frio Bat Flight Tour, stay in colorful cabins at the Inn Between, go horseback riding, and more, so be sure to read our full list of things to do in Concan!

Tips for Swimming in the Frio River

  • Free spots tend to be more crowded, while paid ones are usually less crowded. Unfortunately, littering is a common problem in these areas, with cans and lost shoes scattered everywhere. I even witnessed someone throwing a can near a garbage can and missing it by 5 feet. It’s not enough to simply avoid littering; we should strive to leave the place better than we found it by bringing a bag to collect trash.
  • Don’t forget to bring river shoes to avoid extra expenses. Your feet will thank you, because those river rocks hurt and it will also help prevent falls. Purchase them ahead of time to save money. Trust me. You don’t want to be overpaying for cheap shoes that don’t even last your trip. We visited many of the stores and much prefer if we had brought our own. 
  •  If you plan on visiting areas that are not accessible by tube rental, bring your own inner tube. Places like Josh’s will sell you them, but you can save money by purchasing one ahead of time. 
  • Also, bring your own life jacket if necessary.
  • Dress in layers and apply river-safe sunscreen (check out our blog post for recommendations) to protect both your skin and the river’s ecosystem.
  • The summer season is their busy season and when it’s the most crowded, so arriving early or staying late is a good idea to avoid crowds. Additionally, if you can go on a weekday after Labor Day, there are still plenty of hot days in Texas, but you’ll have the place much more to yourself.
  • Be prepared for people drinking, being rowdy, and playing loud music. If you prefer a more secluded experience, consider renting a cabin in a less crowded part of the river or choose a location like Frio River Private Access, which limits the number of people they allow to enter.
  • Some people like to set up canopies in the water, which can be inconvenient for tubers. If you’re tubing, be mindful of this, and if you’re setting up a canopy, try to consider the tubers’ experience as well.
  • While the river offers a picturesque avenue for public use and enjoyment, it’s important to remember that most of the land beyond the actual bounds of the river is private property.  Avoid any potential conflicts or legal trouble by ensuring your activities are confined within the river’s boundaries. Regardless of whether you’re tubing, swimming, or simply strolling along the banks, stay in and on the river to ensure a trouble-free experience.
  • Help Protect the River: If you read nothing else, please read this. Our Texas rivers are easily affected by drought and over consumption of water (as you will likely see when visiting). Make sure to still limit your water use to only what you need to help areas like this.

Additionally, our river is full of sensitive wildlife and plants. Just like tropical destinations want you to use reef-safe sunscreen, we should be using the same in order to prevent our sunscreen from polluting the water. “Reef-safe” is not a regulated phrase so make sure to do your research beforehand.

We’ve also shared some that we have found:

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Where to Stay in Concan Texas

I may be biased, but I absolutely love staying at The Inn Between! These colorful cabins are owned by a couple Jake and Leah who have put so much heart and soul into creating a space that is fun! They have a wide range of cabins that include affordable options, pet friendly options, large family friendly options, and ones with kitchens for cooking!

They gave us a code MYCURLYADVENTURES24 so you can save 5% on your booking!

Best Swimming Holes & Spots: Where to Swim in Concan TX

Gravel Bar

Gravel Bar is one of the great places that many people like to enjoy staying cool in Concan. They offer parking for $30 per car, although you can sometimes find free parking along the side of the road (please pay attention to signs).

On one side, the water runs deep, while on the other side, it’s shallow. They’ve created a path with rocks to make a little stream that takes you down the river. You can put your tube in, ride it for a hundred yards or so, and then get out and walk back up to start again.

For those interested in booking a cabana, Frio River Cabanas is also conveniently located there, making it an ideal choice for larger families. It’s popular because a lot of cars will drive through the crossing, causing some of the water to cascade down. 

Rock Island

Rock Island Parking is a hidden gem in Concan, likely named for all the rocks at the bottom that create some of the clearest waters!

For just $5 per person, you can access this stunning part of the river with some of the clearest deep water you can find. At four feet, you can see straight down to the bottom, reminiscent of the Caribbean.

To find it, turn on FM 1120 past Garner State Park and continue until you spot flags and signs for Rock Island Parking. No exact address yet, so make use of the provided GPS link. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem in Concan!

Camp Cold Springs

Newly opened in May 2023, Camp Cold Springs is a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Day pass admission is priced at $10 per person and $5 per vehicle, allowing you to enjoy the facilities until 9pm. The campsite can accommodate up to 50 people on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Camp Cold Springs offers excellent amenities, including a bathhouse with showers and a game area featuring activities like corn hole, pickleball, ping pong, and basketball. Camp Cold Springs also offers stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals. You can enjoy half a day of paddleboarding for $25 or a full day for $35. 

If you’re interested in staying overnight, there are camping options available, including cozy cabins. Be sure to check the website for more information.

The water at the camp is truly unique, with its deep sections and large rocks. There’s even an area where you can enjoy jumping into the water. As you explore further along the river, you’ll come across a charming little waterfall. Just keep in mind that beyond the river, the area belongs to another property.

Frio River Private Access

This hidden gem is perfect for those seeking tranquility and a more peaceful place to cool off. Nestled at the end of the river, far from the bustling crowds, Frio River Private Access offers a serene experience unlike any other.

View of Frio River

Known as a “Blue Hole,” its crystal clear waters allow you to see all the way to the bottom, teeming with vibrant fish. The area also boasts a charming river where you can wade and a scenic hiking path that offers breathtaking views of the Texas Hill Country.

With limited daily capacity, only 30 people are allowed in, ensuring ample space for exploration. Additionally, you can enjoy various swimming holes, embark on a hidden staircase hike, or even rent kayaks and paddleboards.

For a serene and idyllic retreat on the Frio River, this private access spot is a must-visit. Don’t forget to marvel at one of the oldest trees in Texas while you’re there! Read all about the Frio River Private Access here.