Hamilton Pool just might be the most magical place in all of Texas-- this collapsed grotto, which is surrounded by shady forests, has been turned into a swimming hole, complete with refreshing waterfall.
It's also a short, 20-minute drive from Austin-- perfect for hipsters who want a swimming solution that's a little less mainstream.
The grotto has a long history. It was once an underground river, until the dome collapsed due to erosion, forming the canyon-like pool we see today.
Before the pool was owned by Morgon C. Hamilton, the area was inhabited by the Tonkawas and Lipan Apaches. Then, Hamilton bought the land in the 1860s, and he and his brother, Texas governor Andrew Jackson Hamilton, would frequently visit the grotto.
After that, the land was purchased by the Reimers, a family of German immigrants who planned to use the land to raise cattle. According to legend, their 8-year-old son rediscovered the pool. While such a feature could pose problems for cattle-raising, the Reimers recognized the pool's potential as an attraction for public use.
It wasn't until the 1960s, however, that the pool's popularity really took off.
In 1985, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Association bought the pool with the intent to restore the area's natural plant and wild life that had been disrupted by years of cattle ranching. Currently, the ecosystems are recovering nicely.
Such an incredible area hasn't gone unnoticed by Hollywood location scouts either. Hamilton Pool has been featured in films like 1990's "The Hot Spot," 2010's "Predators" and 2011's "The Tree of Life."
If you want to take a dip in the magical pool, plan on getting there early in the day: its popularity hasn't subsided.
Since the pool is a protected area, there's a limit to how many people are allowed in at once, and it fills up FAST, especially on hot Texas summer days.
According to the Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau, 21 million people visited in 2012. It's 100% worth any potential wait, though-- I mean, just imagine how good it'll feel to swim underneath that waterfall!