9 Reader-recommended US Swimming Holes Worth a Road Trip

From cliff jumping in Alabama to waterfalls in Arizona, there’s still plenty of swimming to do this summer
July 21, 2019Words by Miranda Smith

We’ve long been collecting recommendations for the best swimming holes in the country, and this summer, we opened it up to you—our readers. We asked you which lakes, rivers, and ponds are worth a detour on your US road trip, and you delivered. From a sinkhole in Florida to an alpine lake in California, we’re ready to take a dip. 

Cherokee Sink
Photo: Brian Stroh

Cherokee Sink in Florida

“Cherokee Sink in Tallahassee, Florida. Legend has it, there’s an ol’ VW Bug at the bottom”

Will A. 

Just 20 miles south of Tallahassee, the Cherokee Sink Trail runs just over a mile through Wakulla Springs State Park to reach Cherokee Sink. The water-filled sinkhole, 77 feet deep and surrounded by laurel oak trees and limestone bluffs, is a local favorite when it comes to cooling off in the Florida heat. 

Peekamoose Blue Hole in New York
Photo: See / Swim

Peekamoose Blue Hole in New York

“Peekamoose in NY!”

Zak S. 

Once the best-kept secret of the Catskills, Peekamoose Blue Hole is now a can’t-miss spot in New York—and for good reason. The deep turquoise waters, partly shaded by the surrounding oaks and elms, give the Roundout Creek oasis an otherworldly feel, even if word has gotten out. 

Laurel Lakes
Photo: Mammoth Lakes Trail System

Laurel Lakes in California

“Laurel Lakes at the base of Bloody Mountain near Mammoth.”

Ryan H. 

Ten miles south of Mammoth, Laurel Lakes sits just below 10,000 feet at the edge of the John Muir Wilderness in the Sierra Nevadas. The alpine swimming hole is accessible by a rocky, historic mining road, so be sure to make your approach with an overlander (or by foot, if you’re up for the hike). 

Trash Can Falls
Photo: Waterfalls Hiker

Trash Can Falls in North Carolina

“Trash Can Falls, North Carolina.”

Britt C. 

Officially named Laurel Creek Falls, Trash Can Falls earned its nickname because there was once a trash and recycling convenience site on the highway that served as a reference point for those searching for the unmarked trailhead. Now you need to use mile markers to find the swimming hole, but the 15-foot waterfall is well worth it. 

Grouse Creek Falls

Grouse Creek Falls in Idaho

“Grouse Creek Falls, Idaho”

Nathan K.

Twenty miles north of Sandpoint, Grouse Greek Falls sits at the edge of Kaniksu National Forest in northern Idaho. The multi-step waterfall offers a series of sunken plunge pools and plenty of boulders and bluffs that make ideal platforms for jumping into the cool, clear Grouse Creek water. 

Chimney Rock Island
Photo: Rebecca Hagen

Chimney Rock Island in Alabama

“Chimney Rock, Lake Martin, Alabama”

J.P. C.

Central Alabama’s Lake Marin is a 44,000-acre reservoir with plenty going on (fishing tournaments, eagle nests, fire towers), but the best reason to visit is the 60-foot jumping rock in the middle. Chimney Rock Island and Acapulco Rock rise straight out of the water, creating can’t-miss cliff jumping opportunities for adrenaline seekers. 

Black Rocks
Photo: Michigan Overland

Black Rocks in Michigan

“Marquette Black Rocks, Lake Superior Cove, Pictured Rocks, Tahquamenon Falls, Pyramid Point, anywhere in Traverse City, Empire, Sturgeon Falls... all are in Michigan!”

Jacob H.

Usually, we wouldn’t consider the biggest Great Lake a “swimming hole,” but this icy plunge into Lake Superior is so special we had to include it. Located at the northern tip of the 323-acre, peninsula-shaped Presque Isle Park, the 15-foot jump from Black Rocks is a right of passage among Marquette locals and visitors alike. 

Lawson’s Quarry
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

Lawson’s Quarry in Maine

“Lawson’s Quarry in Vinalhaven, ME”

Evan D. 

On the island of Vinalhaven off the coast of Maine, Lawson’s Quarry is an old quarry filled with freshwater—the perfect place to take a break from the salty sea surrounding the state. And with big, flat stone steps leading to the water, you’ve got a perfect place to soak up the sun after a swim. 

Havasu Falls
Photo: Lee Render

Havasu Falls in Arizona

“I love Havasu Falls in USA.”

Shahan P.

Truly and otherworldly place, Havasu Falls is an aqua blue oasis tucked deep in the bright red rocks of the Grand Canyon on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. This swimming hole requires reservations well ahead of time and is only accessible via foot or helicopter, but the 98-foot waterfall is well worth the trouble. 

>>Next: 15 Best Men’s Swim Trunks for Summer


Trending Gear