The mercury is rising, which means we’re all looking for fun ways to beat the summer heat! Skip the crowded community pool this weekend and choose a more natural way to feel refreshed and renewed when the temps start to soar by taking a dip in a swimming hole! Known as Mother Nature’s swimming pools, swimming holes can be found in almost every state across the country and offer an eco-friendly way to fizzle the sizzle. Cool off this summer by visiting some of the best swimming holes in the U.S.
Cummins Falls, Tennessee
Located within Cummins Falls State Park, the Cummins Falls swimming hole is among the most gorgeous around! A 2.5-mile hike will get you to the river gorge and then you head upstream to the falls. With a vertical drop of 75 feet, Cummins Falls creates a magnificent scene with a large curtain of water that descends past ledges that look like rock gardens. The pool below is deep and wide, making it a great place to cool off on a hot Tennessee summer day. Voted one of the 10 best swimming holes in the U.S. by Travel & Leisure a few years ago, the secret is out!
Jacob’s Well, Texas
Not for timid swimmers just looking to cool off in the Texas heat, Jacob’s Well is actually the largest underwater cave in Texas! Holding a cool 68° temperature year round, I can see how taking a dip in it would be enticing on a sweltering day in Texas’s Hill Country, but beware that the hole is extremely deep. If you’re not a strong swimmer, a life jacket is recommended. This swimming hole is filled from an aquifer that’s 140 feet below ground and it releases thousands of gallons of water per minute that eventually flows out of the hole and into the Cypress Creek. For those of you looking to stay on the surface, you’ll enjoy the stunning landscape that includes cliffs and lush, green banks surrounding it, making it feel otherworldly. If you’re a thrill-seeking diver, there are at least 4 chambers in the cave that can be explored. However it’s advised that only experienced divers give it a try as at least eight divers have died trying to find their way around in the cavernous chambers.
Havasu Falls, Arizona
Hop aboard a mule, helicopter, or put on your hiking shoes and venture 8 miles (each way) into the Grand Canyon to experience Havasu Falls. Located in Supai Village, an occupied Native American settlement, Havasu Falls has a main chute that drops over a 90-100 foot cliff into a series of plunge pools below. The stunning blue-green waters contain calcium carbonate that forms natural travertine dams near the falls. Guided tours are available, or you can try it on your own.
Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
Mush, mush! Don’t forget your swimsuit when you hop on a dogsled and head over to the Chena Hot Springs, about an hour northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska. Discovered over 100 years ago by two gold mining brothers, these hot springs are a soothing 106° year round, perfect for thawing out on a chilly Alaskan day (even though July sees temps near 70!). Although it may smell a little like rotten eggs because of the sulfur in the rocks, the water contains sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, perfect if you want to return home looking and feeling younger!
Homestead Crater, Utah
If you’re looking for the Fountain of Youth, we might be able to point you in the right direction. Homestead Crater near Salt Lake City is known as having high levels of calcium and magnesium. A dip in this 96° pool might just reveal a younger you! This swimming hole is a family-owned attraction and you can swim, scuba dive, snorkel, or just soak. Reservations are required!
Sliding Rock, North Carolina
If you’re looking for a slip ‘n slide waterfall experience, Sliding Rock is it! Located in western North Carolina near Brevard, this 60-foot mountain waterslide is like a water park on steroids! Nearly 11,000 gallons of water per minute rush down the layers of rock (this kind of puts using your garden hose on your slip n’ slide to shame, doesn’t it?) as you slide down it on your bum into the large pool below it. The pool is 8-feet deep, so only those who know how to swim may enjoy it! It’s recommended to wear pants since the rocks can tear swimsuits or cut skin. And it’s noted that the water is definitely refreshing (aka cold!), but it feels good on a hot summer day. This is definitely a Bucket List item, even if you do end up with a few raspberries on your tush.
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