McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls State Park is my nine-year-old’s favorite place to hang out in summer, so we headed over there yesterday, armed with his fishing gear (butterfly nets and buckets). His version of fishing can entertain him for hours. The rest of us were looking forward to a bit of swimming.
I was prepared for the water to be low due to the drought, but was surprised to find that the natural swimming hole at Lower Falls was actually quite deep. Much deeper than last year, in fact. After wading in about fifteen feet, I was already up to my neck in water and started to get a bit nervous about letting the kids swim. I was thankful that both of my little guys had Floaties, since there was not a lot of shallow water for them to play in. But, I may have gotten a little testy when the kids didn’t want to stick together. My daughter wanted to swim by the “falls,” which were barely a trickle of warm water, but I didn’t really want the little guys over there. The water is deep on that end, although there are several rocks in the water to sit on.
I was thankful that this year we came prepared with water shoes. The rocks on the shore get super hot, the rocks in the water are covered in slippery algae, and much of the ground underwater is gooey mud, which just feels gross with bare feet. Water shoes helped a lot!
McKinney Falls State Park is great spot because it feels very remote, but it’s actually just down the road from the airport. The Park is free for kids age 12 and under and only $5 for everyone else. I took my four kids for a few hours and it was $5 for the five of us. Ask for a map when you pay, and for directions to the two falls: Upper Falls and Lower Falls. You can swim in both, but Lower Falls is much more manageable with small children (just don’t forget those Floaties or life jackets!).
5808 McKinney Falls Parkway
Austin, TX 78744-6200