The Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire

Emerald Pool, New Hampshire
© Micha Weber/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: June 3, 2023

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Interested in cooling off in the warm summer months in New Hampshire? Check out these awesome swimming holes!

Diana’s Baths

Diana's Baths, New Hampshire

Part of the White Mountains is Diana’s Baths, a popular destination in New Hampshire.

©Allard One/Shutterstock.com

Diana’s Baths is a well-liked White Mountain destination, particularly throughout the weekends and holidays because of its brief climb and straightforward access from town. It makes a great substitute for the resort pool. Further, it’s only a few minutes from downtown North Conway, which is a must-visit location in and of itself.

The youngest swimmers will particularly adore this location. Parents can relax knowing that their little children won’t slide off a cliff. But there is a waterfall… in fact, there are several. 

The area’s 75 feet of vertical height is home to several levels of soaking pools and stunning scenery that will please just about every visitor. Just ensure to use your American the Beautiful card or pay the $5 daily fee at the entrance.

Mill City Park at Franklin Falls

Mill City Park at Franklin Falls is currently only being built, yet it was worthwhile to include it on our list. Although the entire project was completed in late 2022, it did open in the summer of 2022.  The Park is the initial whitewater park in New Hampshire and is located in a former mill town. 

It promotes New Hampshire as a destination for paddlers and lovers of whitewater. Wading pools and children’s play area facilities will eventually be added to Mill City Park. In addition to bike lanes, an amphitheater, and camping areas, there will also be hiking routes. There are also whitewater waves and characteristics all along the river.

Emerald Pool

Emerald Pool, New Hampshire

The location of Emerald Pool is widely disputed, but maps show it as being in New Hampshire.

©Micha Weber/Shutterstock.com

While the location of Emerald Pool has been disputed over the years, it is evident from a map that it is in New Hampshire. The pool, which is well-known for its stunning green hue, is located only 0.8 miles from the Baldface Circle Trail’s beginning. The water in the pool is chilly but oh-so-nice because it is fueled by winter runoff. 

This place has previously gained a reputation as a “no apparel” swimming spot (but that’s illegal). You should probably stay away from this place on a crowded summer day due to its modest size. Choose a midweek or morning swim to avoid the crowds and the weather.

Swift River

Swift River at New Hampshire

Plunging down several falls and slides, the Swift River is a great place to swim in New Hampshire.

©Jon Bilous/Shutterstock.com

The Kancamagus Highway’s most frequented destination is Lower Falls. The Swift River plunges several feet over slick granite boulders into a sizable pool in this stunning location. Swimming, picnicking, and sunbathing are all perfect activities there. 

There are restrooms, tables and chairs with charcoal grills, and an 80-car parking lot. The rocks can be exceedingly slippery, therefore visitors should take utmost caution when viewing the falls and the river during high water. Alcohol is not allowed at this location, per Town of Albany law.

Here, the Wild Ammonoosuc River plunges twice, with both drops resembling block-style waterfalls. The bottom slab is the largest, measuring around 45 feet in width and 8 feet in height. You’ll see that the last waterfall has very uneven whitewater that barely covers the bottom half of the waterfall. 

A unique waterslide that is ideal for anyone confident in their swimming abilities is created by the Wild Ammonoosuc River, which slides for the first half before rippling into rapids and continuing into the pool.

Franconia Falls

Franconia Falls Trail, New Hampshire

The Franconia Falls Trail is part of the Lincoln Woods Trailhead in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

©Jason Heid/Shutterstock.com

Franconia Falls requires a relatively short, picturesque stroll from the Lincoln Woods Trailhead to a well-liked series of waterfalls. This is one of the simplest walks in the White Mountain National Forest and is ideal for families and beginners because it only gains about 300 feet of elevation over 6.4 miles round trip.

The East Branch of the Pemigewasset River is followed by a wooded trail that periodically opens up to reveal breathtaking mountain views. In the springtime, the trail is covered in a sea of wildflowers. The Franconia Falls Trail departs from the Lincoln Woods Trail on the left and follows the water until it reaches the falls. 

There are boulders and sizable flat granite slabs where you can relax in the sun, take a break, or have a picnic. Franconia Falls is renowned as a swimming hole in addition to being a fantastic location for photography and enjoying nature. When the water levels are sufficiently low to allow for safe swimming, it is a lovely place to cool off in the summer. It features chutes that create natural waterslides as well as a succession of cascades and pools.

Saco River

Saco River in New Hampshire

Flowing through southwest Maine and northeast New Hampshire is the Saco River.

©Jon Bilous/Shutterstock.com

The Saco River flows through southwest Maine and northeastern New Hampshire in the United States. The Saco is a well-liked leisure river that draws between 3,000 and 7,000 visitors every summer weekend, mostly along the section from Swan’s Falls, a nearby campground. 

When the Saco is not in flood stage, there are numerous sandy beaches there, and free camping is permitted on some of them. Numerous beaches now have signs and are under surveillance due to misuse, which includes excessive amounts of trash left behind by visitors, unauthorized fires, and disrespect for landowners. 

Any campfires on unmarked river beaches in the Maine portion require a permit from the state. For paddlers, the Saco is a big draw. Walker’s Rip is a sequence of rapids on the river that can be safely traversed but has caused less experienced canoers to capsize. 

There are numerous canoe rentals available along the entire length of the river. Despite the Saco River’s fish population drastically declining over time, it is nonetheless well-known for sport fishing.

Summary of The Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire

RankSwimming Hole
1Diana’s Baths
2Mill City Park at Franklin Falls
3Emerald Pool
4Swift River
5Franconia Falls
6Saco River

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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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