There’s nothing like whiling away long, hot summer days in the great outdoors. This is especially true if you can find a swimming hole where you can take a dip and escape the heat in its cool, inviting waters.
Even better, if you have children to keep entertained, this is a great solution that can be fun for the whole family. And if you’re hesitant to swim in nature, you can still reap the benefits of being near a cool body of water. Not to mention, swimming holes give off some serious retro summer vibes, and who doesn’t love a bit of nostalgia?
Here are 10 of the best swimming holes in the country.
Blue Hole Regional Park | Wimberley, Texas
Go for a swim in Texas’s blue hole — Photo courtesy of robert thigpen/flickr
It doesn’t get more picturesque than this southern hot spot. Texans get their kicks at the spring-fed oasis sprinkled with shady cypress trees and two teasing rope swings. Don’t forget your picnic basket – find the perfect plot on the park’s 126 acres for a post-swim feast.
Havasupai Falls | Supai, Ariz.
You’ll need a permit to access this gorgeous Arizona spot — Photo courtesy of Jon Roig/flickr
Hawaii in Arizona? You’ll believe it when you see this majestic, remote waterfall. But you’ll have to earn it: the breathtaking natural beauty is only accessible by helicopter, a 10-mile hike or on a pack mule. But with views like this, it’s worth going the extra mile.
Sand Harbor | Incline Village, Nev.
Enjoy a genuinely soft beach on the otherwise coarse shores of Tahoe — Photo courtesy of Don Graham/flickr
Crystal-clear water, panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and 55 acres of sandy beaches makes this an ideal swimming and scuba destination. And while most of Nevada’s beaches are tough on the feet due to coarse sand, this stretch of land gets its namesake from the fine white grains brought in by breezes. Sand castle competition, anyone?
Meadow Run Natural Waterslide | Ohiopyle, Pa.
Get carried away (literally) by the natural currents on this Keystone State waterslide. After checking with a park ranger to ensure safe water levels, swish down the slick sandstones to make a splash into the natural pool. We have a feeling you’ll want to try this more than once.
Little River Canyon National Preserve | Mentone, Ala.
This Alabama canyon is a hidden gem — Photo courtesy of Brent Moore/flickr
Jump into this Appalachian favorite that boasts a 12-mile, 600-foot deep canyon in Northeastern Alabama. Speckled with waterfalls, bluffs, sandstone cliffs and natural pools, there’s plenty of reasons to beat the heat at this haven.
Sliding Rock | Brevard, N.C.
Fun-seekers line up for their turn on the rocks — Photo courtesy of Lincolnh/Wikimedia Commons
This natural waterslide in the Pisgah National Forest will have the young (and young at heart) lining up to slip down the 60-foot smooth rocks into a seven-foot deep cool pool. Not your speed? Sunbathe on the rocks or picnic at the observation decks.
Lake Macbride State Park | Solon, Iowa
Have an idyllic summer day on an Iowa beach — Photo courtesy of Chun-Hung Eric Cheng/flickr
Who said Iowa isn’t known for its beaches? (Don’t answer that.) The Hawkeye State’s largest park offers surprisingly sandy beaches along Lake Macbride, as well as picture-perfect spots for picnicking and hiking. And, attention anglers – it’s also an acclaimed fishing hole!
Peekamoose Blue Hole | Denning, N.Y.
In the heart of the Catskill Mountains, Rondout Creek rushes through a rock gap, creating a very deep (and very cold) pool that’s perfect for summer dips. Named because its frigid temps feel like it could turn your skin blue, this Hudson Valley hideaway is perfect to escape a New York heat wave. Bonus point: it has a rope swing!
White Rock Park | St. Paul, Ind.
Your weekend just got booked. From a 10-meter diving platform, zipline and scuba diving to tan-enticing banks, volleyball courts and shady lawns, this beer-friendly park makes for one hot American summer!
Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park | Middle Brook, Mo.
Soak-in or explore the rocky shallows of the Black River’s East Fork in Reynolds County. More of an adventurous type? Shoot through the waterfall-like rivulets (known as shut-ins) that stream above and around igneous rocks.