So, what exactly is a swimming hole?
A swimming hole is a spot in a spring, river, stream, creek, or any similar body of water that’s deep enough for a person to swim in. In some areas, it’s called “wild swimming” since these places are unconventional venues for taking a dip. These unusual swimming destinations offer a more tranquil experience and provide swimmers with an exclusive connection with nature.
The catch? Some of these swimming holes are hidden at the end of a forested trail or are only accessible by foot. After a sweaty hike, the reward is a cool and refreshing dip (and IG-worthy pictures). Most hikers savor the opportunity to drift gently in ponds, swim in dams, or chill under a majestic waterfall.
We’ve compiled seven swimming holes and falls to check out this summer. Get your SPF ready for the weekend!
Hamilton Pool Preserve: Dripping Springs, Texas
If you’re in Texas, you’re lucky to have access to Hamilton Pool. This majestic spot is in Dripping Spring, around 23 miles west of Austin, Texas. It was designated as an official preserve in 1990 and has been a favorite swimming hole destination ever since.
Hamilton Pool contains a majestic fifty-foot waterfall and a pretty constant water level throughout the day, and is surrounded by lush greenery and wildlife. It is accessible from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and visitors need to pay a minimal entrance fee of $3-8 per person.
Queen’s Bath: Princeville, Hawaii
Dreaming of taking a dip in a basin-like pool with crystal-clear water? Queen’s Bath in Hawaii is a unique tide pool - a sinkhole surrounded by igneous rocks near the sea. It was formed after a lava tube collapsed, and the cavity was filled in with fresh water. True to its name, the swimming hole was indeed a bathing place for Ali’i (royalty). It is said that the water in this pool is known to wash off the stress of anyone who bathes in it.
Opal Pool: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Opal Pool is a fairy-tale-like swimming hole that is surrounded by lush forest vegetation and emerald green water. It’s located just outside Lyons, Oregon, and starts at Opal Creek Trailhead.
The hike to this swimming hole is about 10.5 miles with a moderately difficult path. You can visit any time of the year, but it’s advised to check conditions in the winter first. Be sure to head out early as Opal Pool tends to get crowded in summer.
Falling Water Falls: Ozark National Forest, Arkansas
Falling Water Falls is a 10-foot waterfall and famous swimming hole in Ozark National Forest, thanks to the beautiful rock overhang from which the fall sprouts. Visible from the side of the road, the hike to the falls is just a couple of miles.
Sliding Rock Falls: Asheville, North Carolina
Sliding Rock is a 60-foot natural water slide that ends in an 8-foot deep pool of water. This unique natural water slide in the mountains is a must-see when visiting North Carolina. The slide ends up in a cool pool of water, making it a sought-after summer destination. Visitors need to pay a minimal fee to access this swimming hole.
Cummins Falls State Park: Cookeville, Tennessee
Cummins Falls State Park is a rugged 282-acre park with a swimming hole that local residents frequently visit. If you want to visit Cummins Falls, you need a Gorge Access Permit. Visiting the falls involves a strenuous hike and crossing slippery rocks, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes when hiking to the falls. Kids 5 and under are not recommended on this hike, and kids 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult and wear a life jacket while at the falls.
Diana’s Baths: North Conway, New Hampshire
Diana’s Bath is famous among locals as well as visitors, mainly because of its family-friendly features. Diana’s Bath has several small waterfalls that end in little pools that kids can swim in, and is an easy hike that even children should be able to handle. Aside from the small pools, the main attraction of Diana’s Bath is its 75 feet high cascading falls. Since Diana’s Baths is popular, it can get very busy during the summer. Therefore, we suggest that you plan your day early to get ahead of the crowd.
No matter how exciting it is to spend time outdoors this summer, always remember to be responsible and take care of yourself and your family. Respect nature and practice caution.