8 of America’s best watering holes

Swimming and summertime go hand-in-hand. Take a break from the pool scene and touristy beaches to give your family a taste of good old-fashioned fun. (Cannonballs entirely optional.)
  1. Sliding Rock, Brevard, N.C.

    Wear a pair of old shorts (to prevent snagging your swimsuit on the rocks) and get in line to plunge down this popular 60-foot natural slide. Situated inside Pisgah National Forest, Sliding Rock staffs lifeguards from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

  2. Cummins Falls, Cookeville, Tenn.

    The idyllic swimming hole at the base of the state’s eighth-largest waterfall has been a favorite among locals for more than 100 years. A 35-minute drive from Edgar Evins State Park, Cummins Falls is best-suited to older children and teens, who won’t have a problem navigating the adventurous trek down to the gorge.

  3. Madison Blue Springs, Lee, Fla.

    Families flock to the crystal-clear, 25-foot-deep spring, located within one of Florida’s newer state parks on the west bank of the Withlacoochee River. After swimming in the limestone basin, top off your afternoon with canoeing, kayaking, tubing or picnicking throughout this hidden gem of a park.

  4. Falling Water Falls, Hector, Ark.

    Camping in the Ozarks? Plan to make a stop at Falling Water, a beautiful waterfall that can be seen from the road. It’s worth exiting the car, however, for a peaceful dip in the large swimming hole. With no hiking required, this is an ideal watering hole for families with younger children.

  5. Slide Rock State Park, Sedona, Ariz.

    Sedona’s red rocks create an 80-foot-long natural waterslide that spills into a massive pool for swimming and wading. The 43-acre historic apple farm located in Oak Creek Canyon has no shortage of other activities available, from several hiking and nature trails to wildlife viewing.

  6. Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs, Texas

    Drive just 45 minutes from Austin to visit one of the most beloved swimming holes in Texas. Featuring a 50-foot waterfall, collapsed grotto and canyon, this historic spot has become increasingly popular, so advance registration is required during peak summer months.

  7. Firehole River Swimming Area, Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.

    If your kids prefer their pool water to feel more like bathwater, they may never want to leave Firehole and its 70-to-90-degree temperatures. One of the rare opportunities in Yellowstone to take a dip, this mostly shallow watering hole is fed by the park’s famous geothermal springs.

  8. Warren Falls, Warren, Vt.

    Vermont’s Mad River boasts quite a few swimming holes, but Warren Falls is a favorite for its range of offerings. Younger swimmers enjoy splashing in the shallow (one-foot-deep) section of the chilly pools, while older daredevils can be found waiting in line to jump from one of the cliffs.

  9. Safety reminders
    • Instruct children not to drink the water.
    • Always wear water shoes to prevent injury from rocks and shells.
    • Inexperienced swimmers should always wear life preservers, and parents should closely supervise children, staying within arm’s reach at all times.
    • Avoid diving, as you never know if rocks are lurking beneath the water’s surface.


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January 18, 2018 09:48 AM