The 5 Best Swimming Holes in Maryland

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: July 7, 2023
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Swimming holes are the epitome of a small-town summer, thanks to Maryland’s varied geography. These serene areas are wonderful for a day trip with your family and friends. On a hot day, Cunningham Falls, one of Maryland’s well-known summer swimming spots, is frequently filled with people. 

Why not check out a location that is a little more isolated, like a creek by a waterfall or a small beachfront on the Chesapeake Bay?

Let’s talk about Maryland’s top swimming spots and the amenities available there. Take precautions when swimming and be mindful of the quality of water before visiting any of these swimming holes in Maryland!

These are the top swimming hole spots in Maryland!

Kilgore Falls

Five miles north of the main entrance is where you’ll find the Falling Branch section of Rocks State Park. The second-highest vertical drop waterfall in Maryland can be found there. The parking lot is a tranquil one-and-a-half-mile hike from the swimming hole in this undeveloped, environmentally sensitive area.

If you’re a Disney fan, you’ve seen Kilgore Falls in the hit movie, Tuck Everlasting. Swimming in an area that looks as if it’s plucked out of a fairytale? Don’t mind if I do! 

According to the season or current rainfall, the height of the water varies. Be warned that there are no lifeguards present in this location, so swim at your own risk. You may not be aware that there are numerous natural swimming holes nearby, and one of them even allows you to stand directly beneath a waterfall. The stunning waterfall swimming hole at Kilgore Falls in Maryland is the place to go if you’re feeling daring and warm in the summer.

Kilgore Falls Maryland
Kilgore Falls offers one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state.

©Jon Bilous/

Greenbrier State Park

Greenbrier State Park, which is situated in the Appalachian Mountains, is a multi-use park that offers a variety of recreational activities. Many people come to the 42-acre artificial freshwater lake and white sand beach to swim, paddle, boat, and fish.

From the first weekend in May until the last weekend in September, swimming is only allowed when swim lines are present. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, lifeguards are on patrol at the lake’s swimming area from 11 AM to 6 PM. When there aren’t swim lines in place and no lifeguards on duty, swimming is allowed at your own risk.

Swimming is really safe here. The lake is relatively clear and has a sandy bottom. A small amount of seaweed is present, but it is not bothersome. The little swimming beach in Greenbrier is ideal for young children. It’s a great small swimming spot that’s close to Washington, D.C.

Greenbrier Lake Greenbrier State Park Maryland
Inside Greenbrier State Park is the lovely Greenbrier Lake where you can enjoy swimming and other water activities.

©Jon Bilous/

Lake Habeeb

Are you interested in taking a dip in the bluest water in all of Maryland? Pack your swimsuit and head to Lake Habeeb. Lake Habeeb, which is a part of Rocky Gap State Park, is the best place in Allegany County for lakeshore fishing, climbing, canoeing, and camping. 

It is said that the 243-acre Lake Habeeb has incredibly blue water. Rocky Gap Run, which flows through a striking mile-long ravine with sheer cliffs, overlooks, and a hemlock forest abundant with rhododendron and mountain laurel, feeds the lake. 

There’s a casino and resort nearby if you’re looking to make a weekend trip. Even the swimming areas at the campsite beach and the day-use area beaches are pet-friendly. Overall, this is a must-see place to visit when looking to cool off in the humid summer! 

Lake Habeeb Maryland
Lake Habeeb is gorgeous all year round.

©Hawkeye Aerial Imaging/

Deep Creek Lake

The penultimate spot on the list is Deep Creek Lake. Deep Creek Lake is a distinctive summer attraction that was carved out of the calm mountains of western Maryland. This region experiences four unique seasons with lots of excitement and action during each, thanks to the alpine environment. 

The waterways are sparkling as boats and other watercraft float through them during the summer. You’re in luck if you’re seeking less intense, more leisurely lake activity!

Deep Creek Lake’s several coves offer calm waters and a variety of topography that is ideal for rowing. Prominent water sports include stand-up paddleboarding, rafting, and kayaking. Early in the day is typically the ideal time for these sports because the waters are calm and there are fewer boats on the water. 

The best way to soak up the sun and have a peaceful day is, of course, to go swimming during the sweltering summer months. The waves of Deep Creek Lake may soothe any problems, whether you jump off the pier or lounge on a tube.

Deep Creek Lake Maryland
Deep Creek Lake can get fairly busy, especially during the summer months!

©Infinitum Imagery/

Cunningham Falls State Park

The lovely Catoctin Mountains, where Cunningham Falls State Park is situated, are breathtaking. It is organized into two distinct yet complementary halves. The lake area, waterfalls, and camping reserve are in the William Houck Area, which is three miles west of Thurmont on Route 77. 

Water activities include cliff jumping, swimming, fishing, and canoeing. After Labor Day Weekend, swimming is not permitted. The rest of the area is still accessible for activities including camping, hiking, fishing, and picnicking.

Summary of the 5 Best Swimming Holes in Maryland:

1Kilgore FallsRocks State Park, northeast of Baltimore1.5 mile hike from parking; no lifeguards
2Greenbriar State ParkIn Appalachian Mountains, near Washington, DCSummer lifeguards; other recreational activities
3Lake HabeebRocky Gap State Park in Allegheny County (northwest Maryland, near state border)Other recreational activities; striking scenery
4Deep Creek LakeNorthwestern corner of MarylandCalm waters for rowing, paddleboarding, rafting, etc.
5Cunningham Falls State ParkCatoctin Mountains in northcentral MarylandBeautiful scenery, other recreational activities

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Tara Ballard/

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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