The Best Swimming Holes in Virginia

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Published: November 14, 2022
© Shawn Mitchell Photo/
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A traditional swimming hole is what you’ll want if you’ve had your share of beaches and swimming pools and are looking for something a little more soothing and reviving. These are the locations you visit to cool off after a climb, soak your body after a long week of work, or simply be alone in nature. 

There are literally dozens of these locations in Virginia and we’ve discovered the best ones to share with you! Let’s take a look at what awaits you when the temperatures are scorching during summer in Virginia. 

Saint Mary’s Falls

By visiting Saint Mary’s Falls, you’ll get to swim under a gorgeous waterfall! Both the swimming hole underneath the falls and the main swimming area are about a third of a mile hike from the parking area. 

The region is lovely and less congested than some of Virginia’s other swimming areas. Nevertheless, because the paths are unlabeled, it is simple to veer off the main path. Prior to beginning this hike, make sure you carefully read the guidelines. 

However, once you locate it, you will never want to leave. It’s close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and has numerous breweries and wineries as well. Take a full-day excursion and see some other sights! The brewery we suggest is Devil’s Backbone

Mountain Run Swimming Hole

The Mountain Run Swimming Hole is situated east of Harrisonburg, close to Fridley Gap. Even though it’s a little off the usual road, the Fridley Gap Parking Area is a short walk away. The six-mile Fridley Gap Trail is strenuous but rewards hikers with the beautiful landscapes of the Massanutten Mountains. 

Fortunately, visitors can visit the swimming hole without making a long journey. The Fridley Gap Swimming Hole, also known as the Mountain Run Swimming Hole, is a naturalistic creek-fed pool that is the appropriate size and depth for paddling. 

Despite the hottest summer days, this swimming hole would be regarded as a welcome local gem. The pool is barely six feet deep at its maximum depth and about twenty feet across. The pool’s little, shelf-like waterfall brings a sense of calm and keeps the waters pure, fresh, and quite invigorating.

Devil’s Bathtub

Even outside of Virginia, people are aware of the Devil’s Bathtub. Although this swimming hole trip is short, you will traverse over 12 creeks and rivers on the two miles to Devil’s Bathtub. 

The area’s shimmering streams can grow in size and resemble roaring rivers if there has been rain in the past three or four days. In Stony Creek Park in Duffield, Scott County, in southwest Virginia, one can find Devil’s Bathtub.

When you arrive at the initial swimming hole, a cascade and a sparkling pool greet you and tempt you to plunge in for a swim. There are also two rope swings. According to the county’s tourism department, Explore Scott County, it is purportedly named Devil’s Bathtub since it’s the “only water cold enough to squelch the fires of hell.”

Devil's Bathtub in Virginia
When you arrive at the Devil’s Bathtub, a cascade and a sparkling pool greet you and tempt you to plunge in for a swim.

©Latino Photoguy/

Nottoway Falls Reservoir

Even though it would surprise some people to learn that the Piedmont area of Virginia has waterfalls, Nottoway Falls is a great site to explore! Well, it isn’t much of a waterfall in regards to height, but it has a huge flow of slides and little showers that will have you and the kids occupied for hours while getting you and them wet! 

A 60-acre impoundment known as Nottoway Falls Lake can be found in Lunenburg County, Virginia. The Town of Victoria owns the lake, which provides a water supply for the region. The greatest opportunity to visit is in the spring or early summer when the upstream reservoir is high and the water is overflowing the dam. 

Start driving on VA49, also known as Falls Road, in the direction of the city of Victoria. Take a left onto Marshall Town Road just before the Nottoway River bridge, then park close to the dam. A sizable unpaved parking space is there.

Big Falls on Cedar River

Big Cedar Creek Falls, sometimes known as Big Falls, is not your usual high waterfall. Instead, it spans Big Cedar Creek’s breadth, making it a gorgeous area for professional landscape pictures!

The trail is rather flat and straightforward, with a small elevation change at the bridge and shortly before Big Falls. Visitors take a left upward toward Big Falls about a mile into the hike. Just before the picnic area, if you go straight, you can rest at Spring Falls. 

Despite being a little cascade, it is nevertheless a great place to take a dip! If you’re looking for a swimming hole that you can enjoy alone, this is a perfect location! 

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Devil's Bathtub in Virginia
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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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