Great Swimming Holes Across America

usa best swimming holes

The USA is a beautiful land. And it contains some wonderful waterways, beaches and splashy destinations, whether for a day trip, a weekend getaway or the full-blown family vacation with three or four generations all onboard for the adventure. When you just gotta swim, here are some notable spots to consider.

Barton Springs Pool, Austin, Texas

This natural spring-fed swimming pool in Zilker Park, Texas is a favourite spot for locals and visitors alike. The water temperature stays relatively constant year-round, making it perfect for a refreshing dip on a warm spring day.

Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs, Texas

This natural pool, formed by a collapsed grotto, offers a stunning backdrop of limestone cliffs and a waterfall. It's a popular spot for swimming, hiking, and picnicking in the springtime.

Fossil Creek, Arizona

Located near Camp Verde in central Arizona, Fossil Creek offers crystal-clear waters fed by natural springs. It's a great spot for swimming, snorkelling, and sunbathing amidst the lush vegetation.

Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon, Arizona

It's not your typical swimming hole, but the turquoise waters of Havasu Falls are irresistible for a refreshing plunge. Spring is an ideal time to visit before temperatures soar in the summer months.

Blue Hole, Santa Rosa, New Mexico

This natural artesian spring is a popular destination for scuba diving, snorkelling, and swimming. The clear blue water stays cool year-round, making it a refreshing spot to beat the springtime heat.

Sliding Rock, North Carolina

Sliding Rock is a natural water slide located in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, North Carolina. Visitors can slide down the smooth rock face into a refreshing pool below, making it a fun and popular destination for families and thrill-seekers alike.

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, Missouri

Johnson's Shut-Ins features natural rock formations and cascading waterfalls along the East Fork of the Black River. Visitors can swim in the cool, clear water and explore the unique geological features of the park.

McKenzie River, Oregon

The McKenzie River is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and scenic beauty. Popular spots for swimming and relaxation include Blue Pool (Tamolitch Falls) and Carmen Reservoir, where visitors can enjoy the beauty of the river and surrounding wilderness.

Devil's Pool, Pennsylvania

Devil's Pool is a natural swimming hole located in Wissahickon Creek within Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. It's a popular spot for locals looking to cool off in the spring and summer months, with rocky ledges for sunbathing and jumping into the water.


Tennessee offers more than moonshine, with abundant waterways and many fantastic watering holes. Here are a few worth exploring.

Cummins Falls State Park

Located near Cookeville, Cummins Falls State Park features a stunning waterfall and swimming hole that are particularly inviting in the spring. Visitors can hike along the scenic gorge trail to reach the base of the falls, where they can swim in the cool, turquoise waters.

Ozone Falls State Natural Area

Ozone Falls is a 110-foot waterfall with pools and streams downstream where visitors can cool off and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

best swimming holes usa

Cherokee National Forest

Throughout this national forest you'll find numerous creeks, rivers, and swimming holes - Tellico River, Citico Creek, and the Bald River Falls area are popular spots for swimming, picnicking, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

America's favourite national park offers thousands of miles of flowing water, with waterfalls and pools in abundance. The Sinks, Mouse Creek Falls, Grotto Falls and many other places (including the insider favourite at the Townsend Wye) are great for a dip. For a bonus, stay in one of the affordable luxury Gatlinburg cabins and the kids will never be bored.

Rock Island State Park

Situated on the Caney Fork River, this park offers opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and picnicking amidst scenic waterfalls and rock formations. The Great Falls area, in particular, is a popular spot for swimming and enjoying the beauty of the cascading water.


Florida is known for its abundance of water, from pristine beaches to hidden springs and rivers. Try some of these.

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Close to Orlando, this park offers crystal-clear springs surrounded by lush vegetation. Swim in the refreshing 72-degree water, canoe or kayak along the Wekiva River, and explore the park's hiking trails.

Emerald Coast

At the northern end of Florida, this gorgeous stretch of beach and funky seaside towns also hosts some of Florida's most pristine state parks, with trails to walk and bike, and swimming holes pooling up in many spots.

Ginnie Springs

Located near High Springs, Florida, these are a collection of seven natural springs just begging for swimming, snorkelling, and diving. The clear blue water and sandy bottom make a fun place to swim.

Rainbow Springs State Park

This park near Dunnellon features a beautiful spring-fed river perfect for swimming, tubing and picnicking. Slow down and enjoy the scenic hiking trails and historic gardens.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

It's worth pronouncing the name - get to Fort White and ask around. Famous for its crystal-clear river, perfect for tubing, snorkelling, and swimming, the Springs lets you float down a pristine waterway surrounded by lush vegetation and abundant wildlife.

Blue Spring State Park

Near Orange City, this is a designated manatee refuge offering swimming, snorkelling, and wildlife viewing. During the winter, the largest gathering of manatees occurs as these creatures seek refuge in the constant 72-degree waters.

Devil's Den

Near Williston, this is an underground spring inside a prehistoric cave. Visitors can swim and snorkel in the crystal-clear water, surrounded by ancient rock formations and fossils.

What about you, what are your favourite swimming holes in the USA? Feel free to share any tips & advice below!

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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