13 Incredible Swimming Holes in America
From the pristine Madison Blue Spring in Florida to an amazing natural waterslide in North Carolina, these secret swimming holes are hidden and hard to reach but well worth the adventure.
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Madison Blue Spring
Cascading over piles of limestone boulders, this first-magnitude spring on the west bank of the Withlacoochee River is one of Florida’s newest and most awe-inspiring swimming holes. Dive deep into the cool, crystal-clear waters that descend almost 25 feet into the earth’s surface, but make sure to get there early; this once-hidden gem is becoming more and more popular by the day.
Located in the Grand Canyon near the Havasupai Indian village of Supai, AZ, Havasu Falls has an average water temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. One of the most extraordinary swimming holes on the planet, it features spring-fed water that cascades 100 feet into an iridescent turquoise pool all day long.
Looking for the best place to escape the sweltering summer heat in the heartland of America? For more than 100 years, Cummins Falls, a scenic, 75-foot waterfall located in Jackson County, TN, has been a gem for Tennessee natives … but now, the secret is out! Although it’s a bit of a hike to get to once in the park, the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River provides unmatched beauty on your way to taking a dip in Tennessee’s eighth-largest waterfall.
Chena Hot Springs
Only in Alaska can you find a secret swimming hole that’s accessible only by dogsled. Known by many as nature’s hot tub, Chena is filled with water that’s a constant 106 degrees and is also good for your skin because it contains sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Known for its high cliffs and deep waters, Aztec Falls is the perfect getaway for those looking to escape the hot Los Angeles sun without heading to the crowded beaches. Deep in the San Bernardino Mountains, the falls are accessed via a 6-mile loop that runs mostly along the Pacific Crest Trail and offers jumps of 20, 40 and 60 feet.
The Blue Hole
At a depth of 80 feet with clear blue water, the Blue Hole on Route 66 in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, attracts divers and plenty of others looking to cool off on a hot day.
Located deep in the jungle on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Hali’i Falls is a multitiered waterfall that is accessible only by hiking through bamboo forests, deep marsh and former sugarcane pastures. The falls feeding this pool are named Hali’i, which means “to spread out,” and the cascading water does just that, creating the ultimate swimming experience.
A popular place to cool off during those hot North Carolina summers, Sliding Rock waterfall is located in the Pisgah National Forest in Transylvania County. About 60 feet of flattened rock dumps into a nearly 7-foot-deep pool at the bottom, making this natural waterslide a great place to visit with kids of all ages.
Half a mile north of Havasu Falls in Arizona stands the tallest water feature in the Grand Canyon, rising 190 feet above the surface. Named after a prospector in the 1800s, Mooney Falls is accessible only by crawling through 2 tunnels and then climbing down a sheer cliff face with just a couple of dangling chains to hold on to. Although tough to get to, the view alone makes it worth the trip.
Just a short drive south from Salt Lake City, UT, is Homestead Crater, a family-owned local attraction. Inside the unassuming mound of dirt is a hidden gem 12,000 years in the making. The giant pool is a soothing 96 degrees, and the water is said to have high levels of calcium and magnesium that can make you look and feel younger.
Deep within the sinkhole capital of the United States is the crystal-clear swimming hole known as Wekiwa Springs, just 15 miles from Orlando. One of the shallower swimming holes in Florida, it has a water depth of just 5-7 feet, but it offers a perfect 72-degree temperature year-round.
A private swimming hole at the old Lihue Sugar Plantation on Kauai, HI, was transformed into an inner-tube water ride by Kauai Backcountry Adventures in 2003. The waters for this 2 1/2-mile journey, which originate near the top of Mount Waialeale — one of the wettest spots in the world — are channeled through ditches and tunnels that were hand-dug by plantation workers over a century ago.
A beautiful swimming hole in the Grand Canyon, Beaver Falls is a free-falling fantasy that offers 40-foot cliffs and deep, aqua-blue pools.