The Best Swimming Holes Near Los Angeles

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: July 9, 2023
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Some of the most famous spots in the world are accessible to people who live in or travel to Los Angeles, but few are aware of the city’s wealth of other amenities. There are many swimming holes close to the city where you may cool down from the Southern California sun if you want to expand your horizons and try a new body of water. You can even get in a quick workout while exploring Mother Nature’s hidden treasures, in typical Angeleno style!

1. Malibu Creek Rock Pool

Rock Pool at Malibu Creek State Park Near Los Angeles - Swimming Holes Near Los Angeles

The rock pool is one of the most popular attractions in Malibu Creek State Park.


At the mouth of a magnificent gorge in Malibu Creek State Park, there is a place called Rock Pool. This location is ideal for a picnic and some downtime by the reflected waters because sycamores and bays offer wonderful shade. A sloping gorge upstream with porous rock walls serves as a paradise for rock climbers and daring hikers.

The Rock Pool is a beautiful location that is simple to access for people of all ages and one of the most well-liked attractions in Malibu Creek State Park in Agoura Hills. The Grassland Trail, which is located on Mulholland Highway slightly west of Las Virgenes Road and offers street parking, is the quickest route to the Rock Pool. 

The Rock Pool can be perilous, thus California State Parks, which oversees the park, cautions visitors against diving or jumping in. However, the area is pretty lovely and exploring it is undoubtedly enjoyable. Many popular movies and television shows have been filmed here, including M*A*S*H and Planet of the Apes. 

2. Cooper Canyon Falls

Cooper Canyon Falls in Los Angeles - Swimming Holes Near Los Angeles

If you’re spending the night at Buckhorn Campground, make sure to check out Cooper Canyon.

©Steve Berardi/Flickr – License

Cooper Canyon offers a serene summer waterfall stop for those spending the night at Buckhorn Campground or heading into San Gabriel Mountains National Monument for a retreat or day trip. To get to the flowing falls in the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness area, visitors must hike a three-mile roundtrip route through a picturesque old-growth forest and into a mountain valley. 

Along the incline that leads to the creek, two paths diverge. Visitors should step slowly down the route to the waterfall and can lower themselves the last 10 feet with the aid of a rope fastened to a tree near the bottom.

There are rocks to relax on and a wading pool below the falls. The water is calm, knee-high and home to little trout. While Cooper Canyon Falls won’t dazzle you with its majesty as it is only a little over 30 feet tall, you will enjoy its tranquil surrounds.

3. Hermit Falls

Hermit Fall in Los Angeles - Swimming Holes Near Los Angeles

A pair of cascades above Hermit Falls create a natural water slide when there is enough flow.


The stream above Hermit Falls in Monrovia makes a fantastic swimming place in the summer. There are smooth stones that are ideal for lounging and ledges from which to jump. A pair of cascades above the falls create a natural water slide when there is enough flow. 

There is no genuine path to the bottom of the waterfalls, but those up for a tough climb can down a sheer rock wall beside the falls. Like the separate trip to Sturtevant Falls, the trail starts from Chantry Flat. 

Despite being closer and shorter than Sturtevant, Hermit Falls is frequently less busy. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have it all to yourself. Hermit is still a popular destination, especially with younger audiences that come to the beach to swim.

4. Silverwood Lake

Silverwood Lake Near Los Angeles - Swimming Holes Near Los Angeles

Silverwood Lake in San Bernardino County is a popular spot since it’s close to Los Angeles.

©Kit Leong/

Angelenos frequently travel to the Silverwood Lake Recreation Area, which is located in the San Bernardino National Forest north of San Bernardino, to climb, fish, swim, and paddle in Silverwood Lake’s cold waters. 

The recreation area offers a wide range of fun things to do, like campgrounds for camping out, boat ramps and rentals for fun on the lake, swimming beaches, and multi-use paths for horseback riding, cycling, and mountaineering. Silverwood Lake Recreation Region in San Bernardino County is a great weekend getaway because it is so close to the Los Angeles metropolitan area and only 80 miles from the city center.

The Cleghorn Swim Beach on Silverwood Lake’s southernmost tip is a terrific area for kids and is staffed by lifeguards during the entire summer. Children can swim in safety here because the water is shallow and not accessible to motorboats. Additionally, there are picnic tables here that make a good spot for an afternoon snack. Similar to Silverwood Lake Swim Beach, powerboats are permitted there. 

5. Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake Near Los Angeles - Swimming Holes Near Los Angeles

Big Bear Lake makes a cool, relaxing place to swim in for many Angelenos during summer.

©Sahani Photography/

People in Los Angeles love to travel to Big Bear to get away from the bright lights and busy life of the big city. Many enjoy swimming in San Bernardino County’s Big Bear Lake in the summer as the waters are cool and relaxing. Meadow Park is the ideal location for parents looking for a family-friendly swimming area.

The swimming area has sand, a lifeguard, a dock with floating toys, a snack bar, and public facilities. The most daring swimmers can locate all sorts of swimming and wading locations throughout the lake, but note there are no lifeguards and Lake Management (MWD) mandates that visitors swim within 50 feet of the shore.

Another well-liked swimming spot is the region surrounding China Island, also known as Garstin Island. Here, you may swim close to the rocks and the brave can scale the rocky outcrop behind China Island to make an exhilarating leap into the ocean below.

Summary of 5 Best Swimming Holes Near Los Angeles

Here’s a recap of the five top swimming spots situated close to Los Angeles that we took a look at.

NumberSwimming HoleLocation
1Malibu Creek Rock PoolAgoura Hills
2Cooper Canyon FallsPleasant View Ridge Wilderness
3Hermit FallsMonrovia
4Silverwood LakeSan Bernardino County
5Big Bear LakeSan Bernardino County

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Kit Leong/

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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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