Vacation season has arrived. Instead of lazing on sandy beaches among a sea of sweaty bodies, visit America’s stunning natural swimming holes. A myriad of exciting adventures await amidst impeccable scenery. Dive off mesmerizing canyons. Slide down beautiful waterfalls. Explore pure freshwater springs. Marvel at intriguing underwater caves.
To encounter all that and more, check out special sites alphabetically by state.
Where to Go
Alaska — Chitina’s McCarthy Swimming Hole: Hike to this breathtaking swim spot by the Kennicott River. Admire the mountains with majestic glaciers gracing the background.
Arizona — Sedona’s Crescent Moon Ranch: Escape Sedona’s crowds to discover this historic locale east of the Red Rocks campground and south of Slide Rock. Natural formations make the backdrop phenomenal.
Colorado — Crested Butte’s Devil’s Punch Bowl: This spectacular panorama adds an elevated dimension to thrill seekers’ fun. Climb up and leap off towering cliffs into this refreshingly cool water hole.
Florida — Silver Springs’s Juniper Springs: Many generations have flocked to this dipping hole’s oasis-like atmosphere in the Ocala National Forest. Your turn has come to snorkel sparkling waters under shade trees.
Hawaii — Kauai’s Queen’s Bath: Princeville’s seaside offers an inviting tide pool in a picturesque setting. Soaking in turquoise salty water makes the descent from surrounding rocks worth your effort.
Minnesota — Duluth’s The Deeps: Lester River’s impressive fan favorites include the tree-lined stream’s various swimming holes. Cliff diving into The Deeps is a rush for the daring.
Mississippi — Mendenhall’s D’Lo Water Park: Discover this secret paradise’s peaceful wooded park along the Strong River. Soothing dips in calm waters will cool off everyone on hot summer days.
Missouri — Middle Brook’s Johnson’s Shut-Ins: A billion plus years ago, volcanic activity formed igneous rocks around this pool. Mother Nature’s ultimate playground delights swimmers and hikers by pairing enlightening history lessons with enticing environmental wonders.
New Mexico — Santa Rosa’s Blue Hole: Scuba divers can drop down 200 plus feet to explore this artesian spring’s depths and incredible underwater cliffs.
New York — Ithaca’s Robert Treman State Park: An upstate visit to the Finger Lakes wine-making region encourages relaxing at a stream-fed pool while viewing a succession of delicate waterfalls.
North Carolina — Brevard’s Sliding Rock: This all-natural Slip ’n’ Slide promises 60 feet of unique thrills. Riding down the rocky yet oddly smooth ramp is a pain-free blast. Splash into crisp mountain waters at the end.
Oklahoma — Sulphur’s Travertine Creek: Chickasaw National Park hosts this popular swimming destination with cold, clear water running over rock ledges. Hikers will enjoy meandering the creek-side trails.
Pennsylvania — Montrose’s Salt Springs State Park: Amazing cascading waterfalls and green foliage highlight swimming locales such as the Fall Brook Natural Area. Extend your stay at a park campsite to discover scenic trails.
South Carolina — Sunset’s Long Shoals Wayside Park: Venture into Poe Creek State Forest to enjoy this trendy swimming hotspot with locals and tourists. Even on the hottest days, leaping off rock formations into the water is a chilly surprise.
Tennessee — Carter County’s Blue Hole: Take a short hike to gape at four exquisite waterfalls and well-worn rocks flanking this striking swim gem’s teal pool.
Texas — Wimberley’s Jacob’s Well: Much more than a swimming hole, this site boasts elaborate underwater caves. National and local divers jump off the surrounding rocks to explore spectacles 200 plus feet below the surface.
Virginia — Fort Blackmore’s Devil’s Bathtub: Are you brave enough to plunge into this bathtub-shaped attraction? Getting there can be tricky. Hiking experts deem that task extremely challenging but rewarding.
What to Wear
Today’s bathing suit cover ups offer fashionable versatility. They can conceal your bikini-bared body on land, supply barriers to protect your skin from sunshine and other weather conditions, and double as appropriate public attire for popping into shops and restaurants. Like towels, cover ups absorb moisture and provide shielding layers between wearers and seats, rocks, and sand. Some styles are suitable for in-water use, ensuring modesty and sun protection.
To find the right type, decide if you want to obscure just certain body areas or block out your swimsuit completely. Front-opening kimonos allow semi upper coverage. Loose-fitting tunics are sheer or transparent long tops popular for design variety and versatility. Substitutes for regular clothes start with hoodies and shirts covering torsos and sometimes arms. Ponchos vary in lengths with some extending to thighs. For partial to full leg coverage, choose shorts, skirts, or pants. Rompers and dresses hide trunks while concealing legs partly or entirely.