The Best Swimming Holes in South Carolina

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Published: December 8, 2022
© Minnie Imagery/
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All summer long, be cool, delighted, and inspired at these breathtaking natural pools in South Carolina! View the must-see swimming spots in South Carolina.

Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls at Cedar Falls Park, South Carolina Swimming Holes
Cedar Falls Park in Greenville County, South Carolina, is where hopeful swimmers can find Cedar Falls.

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This park’s 90 acres are ideal for a wildlife adventure! 2.2 miles of concrete and natural paths are available in the park for bike riding and strolling. A recreational area with two play sets, a swing set, and numerous benches is also present. 

Even a sand volleyball court is there in the park. Also, don’t overlook the actual falls themselves! The Reedy River cascades calmly down a succession of rocks and boulders at Cedar Falls, a waterfall that is more than 200 feet wide, producing a stunning natural scene. 

The expansive, welcoming riverbanks that surround the falls provide a wonderful view of the calm waters. The Fountain Inn neighborhood in Greenville has historical significance for Cedar Falls Park. A dam was constructed along the river by early entrepreneurs to power a sawmill, textile mill, and cotton gin.

Chauga Narrows

Over a 200-foot run, the Chauga Narrows has a 25-foot plunge. The Narrows is a challenging location. The straightforward 20-minute trail is equally enjoyable for both fishermen and tourists because it features both choppy whitewater and serene flat water. 

It is a creek with plenty of trout. An easy 0.6-mile stroll leads to the falls along an unmarked path. Beginning on an old roadbed that is fairly simple to follow, the trail initially follows the Chauga River as it flows downstream for the duration of the trek. The Chauga River may be seen quite well because the area is calm and serene.

There may be occasions after torrential rainfall when it is just unsafe to be on the rocky bank, therefore you must pay close attention to the wet sections that are slick and the river’s water level. Make wise decisions and avoid taking unwarranted chances.

Lake Keowee, Keowee-Toxaway State Park

Keowee-Toxaway State Park, South Carolina Swimming Holes
Keowee-Toxaway State Park is in Pickens County in South Carolina. It was built along the shores of Lake Keowee in 1970.

©Minnie Imagery/

Swimming is allowed in Lake Keowee, although there are no dedicated swimming sites or lifeguards in Keowee-Toxaway State Park. You might cool yourself in the water in the park’s modest parking space near the boat ramp. 

Instead of swimming in the lake, we think it would be better to trek the Natural Bridge Trail circle and find a location to cool off in Poe Creek. There are access locations on the Raven Rock Trail that allow you to swim in the lake. For some aquatic fun, there are a dozen little pools and rapids. There is no cost to enter this park.

High Falls County Park and South Cove County Park near Seneca both offer access to Lake Keowee for swimming. There is a beach area in both parks, but no lifeguards are present. There is a $2 parking charge. Another excellent choice is Mile Creek County Park, which has a tiny beach and a $5 parking fee. 

Chau Ram Falls

Chau Ram Park, South Carolina Swimming Holes
Oconee County in South Carolina is host to Chau Ram Park.


Oconee County’s “Best Kept Secret,” Chau Ram Park, is situated where Ramsey Creek and the Chauga River converge. Almost three miles of hiking paths, 26 campsites with water and power, and over a mile of the Chauga River meandering through the park are all available to tourists. 

The river features rapids such as the pumphouse rapids, the can-opener rapid, and the V rapid. The park’s two primary draws are a 160-foot suspension bridge over the Chauga River and a wheelchair-accessible 40-foot waterfall that cascades over big boulders as Ramsey Creek empties into the river. 

Visitor favorites include tubing, climbing, angling, picnicking, camping, and sightseeing. Take Highway 11 North Exit 1. Take the Seneca & Westminster exit after traveling about 13 miles. Cross the bridge, then make the first right. 

Turn right onto North Highway 123 at the stop light. The City of Westminster is reached after four miles. through the stop sign. At the fork, keep left and proceed through the following three traffic lights. Take a right onto West Highway 76 at the fourth intersection. 2.5 miles away. Turn left onto Chau Ram Park Road at the bottom of the hill and you’ve made it! 

Riley Moore Falls

Riley Moore Falls is a rural Westminster landmark that rises 367 feet above sea level. Despite the fact that you might anticipate waterfalls to be considerably taller, these are just approximately twelve feet tall but stretch the whole Chauga River’s width or 100 feet! It is common to go fishing or see otters playing in the wide plunge pool that the falls pour into.

Due to its remote position, visitors have observed that you could devote the whole day here and probably never see another person. The falls are located in Oconee County, however, the signage is small and difficult to read.

After you get to the parking lot, it will take you just over a mile to walk to the falls via the Sumter National Forest. These trails, which are accessible year-round, provide wonderful possibilities for seeing birds and other local animals. Leashed pets are welcome as well as primitive camping.

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Keowee-Toxaway State Park, South Carolina Swimming Holes
Keowee-Toxaway State Park is in Pickens County in South Carolina. It was built along the shores of Lake Keowee in 1970.
© Minnie Imagery/

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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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