Nothing says summer like “CANNONNNN BALLLL!” With some tips from the outdoorsy folks at RootsRated, we’ve put together a list of our favorite summer watering holes around the country. So lather up the sunscreen and get your water shoes on – we’ll meet you in the splash zone.
A quintessential example of Central Texas aquifer and spring formations, Jacob’s Well Natural Area gives visitors the unique opportunity to swim directly in an artesian spring. About 40 minutes from Austin, outside Wimberly, it’s close enough but far out too. The spring’s cool, clear water surrounded by rock ledges and lots of trees represent what all Texas swimming holes used to be, and should be. Read more about it before you go to get a better appreciation of its history and beauty, and help keep it beautiful. Open 9am-9pm. Admission is free.
This trail boasts the “most photographed view in Arizona” (Cathedral Rock), but Red Rock Crossing has much more to offer than just a few photo opportunities. Start at a paved parking lot with a picnic area, and hike out on an easy, sandy trail, crossing the river several times, until the trail peters out (or keep going to reach other, more strenuous, Sedona trails). The whole area is ripe for swimming and wading, and there’s even a vortex nearby for the curious. Just remember to purchase a parking pass – a day pass is $5.
This may come as a disappointment for some and a relief to others, but Skinny Dip Falls is not actually a clothing-optional swimming hole. This rugged and serene pool is located at the headwaters of the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River. Waterfalls, jumping-off rocks, a deep plunge pool, and shallow areas for wading make it a perfect swimming spot. If you’re determined to go au naturel, there are plenty of secluded spots to be found by exploring upstream. Located just a half mile off the Blue Ridge Parkway on the Mountains-to-Sea-Trail, Skinny Dip Falls is a great place to cool down after hiking in nearby Graveyard Fields or Black Balsam Knob.
Located at Lookout Mountain north of the actual park lies one of our favorite spots to swim. Water spills over a rocky ledge, falling 104 feet into a deep and wide pool straight from the set of The Goonies. The climb down to the pool can be difficult; we recommend only confident scramblers attempt to access this pool. A cave cuts into the cliff behind the waterfall, a perfect place to hang out while mist from the waterfall cools you off. Although still part of DeSoto State Park, it’s not technically in the park, but located 7 miles north, towards Mentone, AL, near the small town of Valley Head. Take route 117 out of town turn right onto 613 which should dead end into a viewing platform of the falls.
Once a popular hunting ground for Native Americans roaming the waterways, there’s a beauty at Cummins Falls that transports you back in time. You cant help but marvel at the serenity, then dive right into the green water with a good holler. And you’ll have earned it by the time you get there – the trail itself is 2.5 miles out and back with changes in terrain and slight elevation gain. Through the rolling hills along the Blackburn Fork River, you’ll finally end where the stream gives way to a majestic 75 foot cascading waterfall that feeds the perfect swimming hole at the base. Spend a few hours experiencing the trail in its entirety and branch out on smaller trails to get a different glimpse of the gorge.