The 20 Most Magical Swimming Holes in the United States

Written by Lev Baker
Updated: June 7, 2023
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As the summer sun carries the promise of warm, sun-kissed days, there’s one irresistible way to beat the heat and enjoy the wonders of nature: plunging into a swimming hole. Across the vast landscape of the United States, these hidden gems await discovery, promising serene beauty, tranquil oasis-like settings, and a refreshing swim! So, pack your swimsuit, leave your worries behind, and join me as we venture to 20 of the most magical swimming holes in the United States.

1. Homestead Crater — Midway, Utah

Situated deep within a limestone crater resembling a towering volcano, Homestead Crater is a unique geothermal hot spring in Utah that maintains a comfortable water temperature of 90°F year-round. 

It serves as an ideal oasis for visitors seeking relaxation after a day of outdoor activities like hiking or skiing at nearby resorts such as Park City and Deer Valley. Over a span of 10,000 years, the crater gradually formed due to the melting snow from the Wasatch Mountains, which then permeated the valley floor. This natural process has resulted in a pristine pool, rich in minerals and renowned for its crystal-clear waters. 

Notably, Homestead Crater stands apart as the only warm-water scuba diving destination in the continental United States, offering divers depths of up to 65 feet. 

Whether you prefer swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, therapeutic soaking, or even paddleboard yoga, this remarkable swimming hole has something for everyone.

2. Havasu Falls — Lake Havasu, Arizona

Havasu Falls at sunrise.

One of the best swimming holes in the US is Havasu Falls.


Havasu Falls possesses a unique and captivating charm that is difficult to put into words. However, reaching this magical swimming hole in Arizona requires more than just booking a ticket. Visitors must secure a reservation for at least one night, either at the campground or “the Lodge” in Supai Village. 

The falls, situated within the Havasupai Indian Reservation, necessitate prior registration with the Havasupai Tribe. The journey, although challenging, is undeniably worthwhile for the opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant, mineral-rich spring-fed pools that boast their distinctive turquoise color. 

One thing is for sure, It is hard to find a more captivating and beautiful swimming hole than Havasu Falls in the US.

3. Diana’s Baths — Bartlett, New Hampshire

Diana's Baths, a series of small waterfalls in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, United States.

Diana’s Baths is a swimming hole in the White Mountain National Forest.

©Allard One/

Diana’s Baths in the North Conway area of New Hampshire is a must-visit destination, offering a splendid natural experience all year round. Whether you’re a child or an adult, the baths are a beautiful way to connect with nature. 

The area boasts an array of cascading falls, ledges, rocks, and pools in the brook, inviting exploration. A short half-mile hike from the roadside within the White Mountain National Forest will lead you to this swimming hole.

Originally the site of a family-operated sawmill, Diana’s Baths now holds historical significance, protected by the US Forest Service. Named after the Roman goddess of nature, locals have cherished these pools for generations. 

Please note that this popular scenic attraction tends to fill up quickly, especially during the summer and fall seasons.

4. Midnight Hole — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

The Midnight Hole waterhole in the Smoky Mountains.

The midnight hole is an amazing swimming spot in North Carolina.

©Betty Shelton/

Embark on a short 1.5-mile hike through the captivating Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and you’ll uncover the hidden treasure known as Midnight Hole. This enchanting oasis awaits, nestled amidst a lush forest and surrounded by massive boulders. 

Look out for a tree trunk marked with a small, white circle as your guide along the way. Midnight Hole welcomes you with its calm and serene emerald pool, enticing you to take a soothing plunge and find relief from the sweltering summer heat.

Take caution, though, as the spring-fed water remains refreshingly chilly year-round. Once revitalized, venture further along the scenic Big Creek Trail for two miles until you reach the magnificent Mouse Creek Falls, a cascading waterfall that will leave you in awe!

5. Jacob’s Well — Wimberley, Texas

Hiker at Jacob’s Well in Wimberley, TX

Jacob’s well is a captivating abyss-like swimming hole.

©Christian Perry/

Jacob’s Well is a natural wonder and one of the most Instagrammable swimming spots in the USA. Its surface appearance resembles a mysterious abyss reminiscent of a black hole that can be a bit daunting for some swimmers!

In truth, this remarkable spring plunges vertically for 30 feet before revealing a network of tunnels that extend an additional 90 feet underground. Unfortunately, the treacherous journey has claimed several lives, leading to a ban on diving. 

Nevertheless, Jacob’s Well remains a highly sought-after destination, offering respite from the scorching Texas summer heat. Visitors are drawn to its charm, seeking relief by taking a refreshing dip in its waters.

6. Little River Canyon — Fort Payne, Alabama

Little River Falls in the Little River Canyon National Preserve

Home to several spectacular waterfalls is Little River Canyon.

©George Howard Jr/

Little River Canyon National Preserve offers an array of outdoor activities suitable for individuals of all ages. One of its notable attractions is the Little River Falls, long recognized as one of Alabama’s finest swimming spots. 

On warm days, it is common to find a crowd gathered at this swimming hole within the canyon. The falls, standing at 45 feet tall, cascade down into the swimming area, and the river itself attracts experienced kayakers. 

Caution is advised, as the swift and powerful water can swiftly carry swimmers over the falls!

7. Madison Blue Spring — Lee, Florida

Madison Blue Springs State Park

One of the prettiest swimming holes in the United States is Madison Blue Spring in Florida..


Madison Blue Spring in Florida’s Madison Blue Spring State Park is one of the best swimming holes in the United States, with excellent swimming and cave diving opportunities. The spring is an impressive 83 feet wide and 25 feet deep, featuring pristine, transparent waters that flow over limestone boulders before joining the river.

Visitors can enjoy various activities like scuba diving, tubing, and paddling, while also taking the opportunity to have a peaceful picnic amidst the beautiful hardwoods and pines. The park’s abundant birdlife adds to the charm of the surroundings. 

Recognized as the top swimming hole in the nation by USA Today, Madison Blue Spring is an ideal destination for families and anyone seeking a memorable day out.

8. Sliding Rock — Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

Sliding Rock in Western North Carolina Near Brevard in the Fall

The waterfall at Sliding Rock is nature’s waterslide.

©Jill Lang/

Sliding Rock is a captivating and one-of-a-kind swimming hole in the United States. During the summer months, both children and adults eagerly partake in the thrilling experience of sliding down this natural mountain waterfall. 

With its 60-foot flat, sloping boulder, sliders patiently wait their turn to ride the chilly water, braving the 50-60°F. Upon reaching the bottom, they make a splash in the eight-foot-deep pool and then swim to the shore, ready to repeat the exhilarating journey. 

With approximately 11,000 gallons of water flowing per minute, this popular attraction offers ample spots to relax on rocks or observe from observation decks. To ensure safety, it is advisable to wear old shorts and sneakers while enjoying the slippery slide.

9. Bridal Veil Falls — Tallulah Falls, Georgia

Bridal veil falls on the Tallulah Gorge floor.  Local name, sliding rock.

In the summer, visitors can slide down the rock formations of Bridal Veil Falls.


Bridal Veil Falls, another Sliding Rock, is an incredible swimming hole in Georgia. During the summer, adventurous visitors can slide down the rock formations of the waterfall into a gorge below. 

Prepare yourself for an exhilarating adventure because Bridal Veil Falls’ natural waterslide is not for the faint of heart. Brace for an adrenaline rush as you glide down the slippery rock, reaching impressive speeds.

To access this remarkable site, a permit is required. However, it’s crucial to arrive early as only 100 free permits are available each day, and they tend to be quickly claimed. Stretching for two miles and plunging nearly 1,000 feet deep, the gorge offers an awe-inspiring experience.

10. Carlon Falls — Groveland, California

Hiking via the Carlon falls trail (Groveland), to the waterfall, a beautiful piece of nature at the Yosemite national park, California, USA

In Yosemite National Park is Carlon Falls, a spectacular swimming hole and waterfall in California.

©Hulshof pictures/

Carlon Falls is a one-of-a-kind waterfall situated within Yosemite National Park. What sets it apart is its exceptional characteristic of flowing all year round, unlike many other waterfalls in the park. 

The hike to reach this remarkable natural wonder spans approximately 4.5 miles round trip, but the journey is definitely worthwhile. 

Especially on a scorching summer day, the swimming hole offers a heavenly respite with its clean and refreshing waters. However, it’s important to exercise caution due to the potential slipperiness of the surrounding rocks. 

11. Queen’s Bath — Kauai, Hawaii

Long exposure of the calm waters of Queen's Bath, a rock pool off Princeville on north shore of Kauai

While Hawaii has no shortage of amazing places to swim, Queen’s Bath is one of the best.

©Steve Heap/

Queen’s Bath is undoubtedly one of the most stunning swimming holes in the United States, renowned for its natural beauty. The rocky coastline features numerous expansive tide pools and sheltered inlets that provide pockets of calm water shielded from the crashing waves. 

Its main highlight is a sunken tidal pool encircled by volcanic rock, creating a unique and mesmerizing setting. While the 10- to 15-foot lava shelf offers protection against rough surf, it’s crucial to remain cautious during the winter months when stronger waves can pose hazards. 

To ensure safety, it’s advisable to consult the daily surf report before heading out, as larger waves can occasionally arrive unexpectedly. With waves under four feet, swimming in Queen’s Bath is generally safe, allowing visitors to enjoy this natural wonder.

12. Peekamoose Blue Hole — Sundown Wild Forest, New York

Peekamoose Blue Hole Swimming Hole In the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York

Peekamoose Blue Hole is a great place for a swim in nature in upstate New York.

©Cory Seamer/

Located just two and a half hours from New York City, Peekamoose Blue Hole is one of the many delightful swimming holes surrounding the area. This hidden gem can be reached through a short hike in the enchanting Catskills region. 

Over the years, nature has sculpted this unique swimming hole, formed by swirling gravel and sand in an ancient whirlpool. Its cool, cerulean waters attract swimmers of all ages, who can enjoy cannonballs, jackknives, and headfirst dives.

For those seeking a quieter experience, downstream offers a tranquil spot to relax, stretch out, or wade with little ones. Don’t forget to try the classic rope swing for an extra bit of fun!

13. Warren Falls — Warren, Vermont

USA, Vermont, Fall foliage in Mad River Valley along trail to Warren Falls

Warren Falls is one of the most popular swimming spots in Vermont.

©Danita Delimont/

One of Vermont’s long-standing favorite swimming holes, Warren Falls provides a haven for cliff-jumping enthusiasts; renowned for its beauty, there are definite safety precautions to take when visiting this swimming hole. While cliff jumping inherently carries risks, Warren Falls remains a notably safe choice. 

The falls, comprising several smaller cascades, may be overshadowed by the charm of the pools and the awe-inspiring gorge walls. Despite the inevitable crowds on summer weekends, there’s always ample space to relish this extraordinary natural attraction.

With a convenient parking area, there’s no reason to resist accessing this spot!

14. Lewis River Falls — Cougar, Washington

Middle Lewis Falls in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington

Lewis River Falls is a swimming hole with dramatic scenery.

©Png Studio Photography/

In the breathtaking Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Lewis River Falls is an incredible swimming hole with three distinct waterfalls: Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls. 

This scenic spot invites visitors to relax, swim, and savor the misty atmosphere amidst the moss-covered bedrock. Among the three falls, Lower Lewis River Falls is especially captivating, boasting a stunning cascade that spans 200 feet in width. 

Don’t be deceived by photographs—the falls appear even more magnificent in person. From various viewpoints, you can witness the powerful water flow concentrated in a swirling trough on the left side. For curious hikers, Taitnapum Falls awaits just a short distance along the trail.

15. Bull Pen — Camp Verde, Arizona

Camp Verde is home to Bull Pen, a highly acclaimed and easily accessible swimming hole in the Verde Valley. Explorers can reach this fantastic spot by taking a short hike and navigating through various forks along the way. It’s crucial to stay on track to avoid getting lost and prolonging the journey. 

Bull Pen offers a gradual transition from shallow to deeper waters, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for both children and adults. Those seeking adventure may come across occasional rope swings that come and go over time. Additionally, there are several cliffs ranging in height from eight to 15 feet, perfect for cliff-jumping enthusiasts. 

Sunbathing is possible on the top of the rocks, although space is limited. The water temperature is pleasantly mild, and the gentle current makes swimming a breeze.

16. Devil’s Punchbowl — Aspen, Colorado

Independence Pass snow area rocky mountain closeup view of grottos cave pool near scenic byway in morning near Aspen, Colorado

The Devil’s Punchbowl is a popular swimming hole near Aspen.

©Kristi Blokhin/

Thrill seekers stand at the edge, hearts racing and palms sweating, gazing into the abyss. Their anxiety dissipates as they take the 20-foot plunge into the icy depths of Devil’s Punchbowl. 

Devil’s Punchbowl is one of the most famous swimming holes in the USA. This natural wonder, with its steep cliffs, is a dream come true for adrenaline junkies seeking an exhilarating free-fall experience. However, for those who prefer to stay on solid ground, there are safe points across from the Punchbowl to witness these daring cliff jumpers. 

However, caution is vital for anyone considering taking the leap themselves. Devil’s Punchbowl offers a thrilling spectacle.

17. Three Pools — Lyons, Oregon

Three pools Waterfall, Opal Creek, Oregon

In Lyons, OR, Three Pools is a serene swimming hole.

©christopher sorenson/

Three Pools on the North Fork of the Santiam River is a top-tier destination for swimming and cliff-jumping in Oregon. Its distinct combination of basalt formations and emerald pools has solidified Three Pools as a beloved summer retreat. 

For thrill-seekers, cliff-jumping offers an exhilarating experience, while those seeking a more relaxed outing can leisurely float in the idyllic setting of Three Pools. 

It’s worth noting that this swimming hole tends to attract large crowds, so it’s wise to plan your visit accordingly.

18. Firehole River Swimming Area — Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Aerial view of the Swimming Area in the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, United States of America

Firehole River Swimming Area is a hidden gem in Yellowstone, WY.

©Harry Beugelink/

Discover the hidden gem of the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park! This stunning river boasts a breathtaking waterfall and a refreshing swimming hole, perfect for cooling off after exploring the park. Accessible via a rocky beach with limited off-road parking. Arriving early is recommended as the area can get very crowded.

What sets Firehole River apart is its naturally heated, mineral-rich water. Temperatures can reach 15 degrees higher than neighboring rivers, creating steam and giving it its name. 

Don’t miss the chance to swim in the warm 75°F waters of Firehole River. 

19. Cummins Falls — Jackson County, Tennessee

Cummins Falls At Cummins Falls State Park In Tennessee

With a 75-foot waterfall, Cummins Falls is a spectacular swimming hole in Tennesee.

©Jim Vallee/

Cummins Falls has been acknowledged as one of the top swimming holes in the US, as recognized by USA Today. It’s easy to understand why, given its impressive 75-foot waterfall that gracefully cascades into a refreshing swimming area. 

Cummins Falls provides a perfect escape from the summer heat, offering pleasantly cool waters for visitors to enjoy. The hike to reach this secret swimming spot adds an element of adventure, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a unique outdoor experience.

 Nestled within the breathtaking Tennessee landscape, Cummins Falls is a natural marvel that will undoubtedly leave every visitor amazed.

20. Aztec Falls Swimming Hole — San Bernardino National Forest, California

The view down Big Bear Creek Valley in the San Bernardino National Forest from Butler Peak

Among the stunning natural landscapes of San Bernardino National Forest, visitors can find the Aztec Falls Swimming Hole.

©Gestalt Imagery/

Tucked away in California’s San Bernardino Mountains, Aztec Falls Swimming Hole boasts a captivating combination of sandy beaches and rugged cliffs. To access this hidden gem, embark on a 6-mile hike that leads you to the falls. 

Upon arrival, you will be greeted by the awe-inspiring sight of the cascading waters, inviting you to immerse yourself in an unforgettable experience. With minimal presence of other visitors, you can enjoy a serene atmosphere, ensuring a peaceful and undisturbed time. 

For the adventurous souls, a daring 40-foot platform awaits, inviting you to plunge into the refreshing pool below. 

Summary of the Most Magical Swimming Holes in the United States

Swimming HoleLocation
Homestead CraterMidway, Utah
Havasu FallsLake Havasu, Arizona
Diana’s BathsBartlett, New Hampshire
Midnight HoleGreat Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Jacob’s WellWimberley, Texas
Little River CanyonFort Payne, Alabama
Madison Blue SpringLee, Flordia
Sliding RockPisgah National Forest, North Carolina
Bridal Veil FallsTallulah Falls, Georgia
Carlon FallsGroveland, California
Queen’s Bath Kauai, Hawaii
Peekamoose Blue HoleSundown Wild Forest, New York
Warren FallsWarren, Vermont
Lewis River FallsCougar, Washington
Bull PenCamp Verde, Arizona
Devil’s PunchbowlAspen, Colorado
Three PoolsLyons, Oregon
Firehole River Swimming AreaYellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Cummins FallsJackson County, Tennessee
Aztec Falls Swimming HoleSan Bernardino National Forest, California

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Png Studio Photography/

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About the Author

Lev is a writer at AZ Animals who primarily covers topics on animals, geography, and plants. He has been writing for more than 4 years and loves researching topics and learning new things. His three biggest loves in the world are music, travel, and animals. He has his diving license and loves sea creatures. His favorite animal in the world is the manta ray.

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