We had decided to spend the 4th at Hamilton Pool. Unfortunately, we got a somewhat later start than we intended and didn't arrive until just before 11am.
We pulled up to the entrance only to find the driveway full of cars and a park ranger waiting to inform us that there was currently a two hour wait - and the waiting list (read: driveway) was full, so we'd have to move on.
Taking a quick glance into the back seat with K and L all decked out in swim suits, swim noodles, masks and snorkels, we quickly decided we'd have to find another swimming hole... quick!
I had heard about Reimer's Ranch before, and had always wanted to check it out. But not necessarily enough to make our top 50 list. But given that it was minutes from Hamilton Pool and did not have a wait, it quickly moved up in line!
The beach area, as viewed from the Upper River Trail
Reimer's Ranch is a Travis County park and charges the same $10 entry fee as Hamilton Pool. It is mostly known for its rock climbing and mountain biking trails. But it is also situated on the Pedernales River, and has a "beach" area where swimming is allowed.
So, we took the long driveway into the park, and followed the ranger's explanation of how to find the trail to the beach area. The trail takes a "T" with the left going to the upper river area, and the right going to the Beach. We spent most of our time on the "beach".
The boys spent the whole afternoon swimming, trying to catch fish and collecting rocks. Afterwards, we hiked to the Upper River area and found another swimming beach, far less populated than the area we were on, but a slightly longer hike.
The upper river area
All in all, I will definitely add this to our top 50, as the boys had an awesome time. For future visits, I would make the following notes:
There is a drive down drop off turnaround, which allows you to drop off coolers and other stuff close to the beach area. You still have to return your car to the parking area and hike down to the beach, but it saves a lot of hauling.
Also, I would definitely bring an easy-up tent next time. There is absolutely no shade on the river, and it got really hot!
There is no water in the park, so bring lots of bottles!
We brought some noodles with us, but next time we would probably bring along some rafts or tubes to hang out on!
Also, it looks like dogs are allowed. The ranger walked past at least two dogs off leash and didn't say anything, so I'm guessing as long as the dogs are well behaved, and you can probably bring them along!
The park is currently under a lot of construction, putting in new roads, pavilions and bathrooms. And while it is already a really nice park, I think it will be even nicer when it is done. All in all, I'd say this park is definitely worth being a destination, and not just an alternative if Hamilton Pool is full!