Summer's Best Swimming Holes [Slideshow]

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Olivine Tide Pools
©Mike/Flickr, Creative Commons
2 / 11
Olivine Tide Pools
©Mike/Flickr, Creative Commons
Olivine Tide Pools

Where to Find It: West Maui

These black lava reefs are picturesque but can be deadly when waves crash across the tide pool walls, sweeping quickly back out into the ocean. This spot gets crowded quickly in peak summer months.

3 / 11
Blue Hole Santa Rosa New Mexico
©Deborah Lee Soltesz/Flickr, Creative Commons
Blue Hole

Where to Find It: Santa Rosa, New Mexico

This New Mexico gem clocks in at more than 100-feet-deep and a constant 62 degrees Fahrenheit, fed by a natural underground water source. Blue Hole is part of the Santa Rosa Dive Center and visitors are just as likely to dive down into her depths as they are to enjoy the surface life.

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Queen's Bath, Kauai
©opacity/Flickr, Creative Commons
Queen's Bath

Where to Find It: Kauai

This lava rock tide pool is a beloved attraction famed for its beautiful views. Queen's Bath is the size of a large swimming pool after a 10-minute hike out of Princeville

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Hamilton Pool, Texas
©Dave Wilson/Flickr, Creative Commons
Hamilton Pool

Where to Find It: 30 miles outside Austin, Texas

This popular splash must be booked in advance during summer but it's well worth the hype. The giant rock overhang and plunging waterfall are the result of a river collapse thousands of years ago.

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Enders Falls, Connecticut
©Rick Schwartz/Flickr, Creative Commons
Enders Falls

Where to Find It: Enders State Forest in Granby and Barkhamsted, Connecticut

The five waterfalls that are right off the main path of this state forest entice families for an easy hike and wading in the pools under the falls. All five are within a half mile of each other.


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Hooker Falls in North Carolina
©mrnoy9n/Flickr, Creative Commons
Hooker Falls

Where to Find It: DuPont State Park, North Carolina

Paddle around underneath a 12-foot waterfall in this classic state park. The swimming is prime in the summer and the fall colors aren't too shabby either.

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Midnight Hole, Great Smoky Mountains
©Will McElwain/Flickr, Creative Commons
Midnight Hole

Where to Find It: Big Creek Trail section, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Take an easy hike to find a deep pool under a six-foot waterfall. The large rocks right around the falls are a popular ledge for teens wanting to jump into the water. Shallower waters around the edge of the pools provide entertainment for younger swimmers.

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Skinny Dip Falls, North Carolina
©Jenn Deane/Flickr, Creative Commons
Skinny Dip Falls

Where to Find It: Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

This cascading waterfall is a half mile from the trailhead and has a pool underneath perfect for wading in a hot summer day.

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Warren Falls in Vermont
©Jeff Myers/Flickr, Creative Commons
Warren Falls

Where to Find It: Warren, Vermont

The Mad Rivers in this area shored up an impressive collection of swimming holes and falls. Warren Falls is particularly good for cliff diving into the deep, green-hued water below.

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Peekamoose Blue Hole in New York
©Lea Monroe/Flickr, Creative Commons
Peekamoose Blue Hole

Where to Find It: Grahamsville, New York

Grab onto the rope swing hanging above the deepest part of this natural swimming pool and go for a swim in this Catskills forest pool.

By Jamie Jackson on 07/18/2017

Long, summer days call for one thing above all; a dip in cool water and, maybe, a bit of a splash. 

While beaches and lakes are packed with loungers, these swimming spots offer a cool retreat from the majority of the crowd and the heat. Tucked in national parks, on the coasts of America's islands and more, these are the United States' best swimming holes for a quick dip or a lazy afternoon.