The Best 10 America’s Best Swimming Holes


Summer is in full swing and there is no better way to beat the heat than these awesome – and beautiful – natural pools. Whether out for an adventure with your kids or with your best buds, these swimming holes featuring waterfalls will be sure to stun…and cool you off. Let’s jump in!

1) Falling Water Falls — Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

A ten-foot waterfall that spills into a refreshing swimming hole. This popular summer spot is easy to access and perfect for a dip and a picnic with the family.


Access: Roadside
Difficulty: Easy

2) Cummins Falls State Park – Cookeville, Tennessee

Tucked away on the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River, this spot is worth the hike to get to. The waterfall is 75-feet high and cascades over several rocky platforms that visitors can explore while being cooled off in the fall’s mist. This swimming hole gets busy in the summer so get there early to avoid a congested path.


Access: Half-mile hike
Difficulty: Moderate – Not suitable for small children

  • Bring sneakers or sturdy water sandals

3) Hamilton Pool – Dripping Springs, Texas

This gorgeous pool is set in a cove with 50-foot waterfalls pouring over a limestone overhang. This underground river fed pool is a favorite spot for sun-soaked locals and travel-weary folk alike, making reservations a requirement during the summer months. Don’t let that dissuade you, this historic spring is not to be missed.


Access: Quarter-mile hike
Difficulty: Moderate – Kid friendly

  • Bring sneakers or sturdy water sandals

4) Sliding Rock – Brevard, North Carolina

A 60-foot natural rock waterslide into a 7-foot deep plunge pool! This unique, family-friendly haven in the Pisgah National Forest will definitely create some lasting memories.


Access: Roadside
Difficulty: Easy

5) Jump Creek Falls – Marsing, Idaho

Just an hour outside of Boise, Idaho in the Owyhee Wilderness, Jump Creek Falls provides a welcome reprieve from a hot summer’s day. The quarter-mile hike will not disappoint as it takes you through the short canyon. Pack a lunch and enjoy the 60-foot falls after cooling off in the pool.


Access: Quarter-mile hike
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate (depending on temperature)

*Be prepared for high temperatures. Bring water.

6) Devil’s Punchbowl – Aspen, Colorado

For the adrenaline seeking spirit, we bring you Devil’s Punchbowl. This au natural swimming hole, carved out of the stone by the Roaring Fork River, is a popular hangout for cliff divers. Not your style? That’s okay. There is plenty of room to swim in the cold water clear of any jumpers.


Access: Close to parking
Difficulty: Easy

*Use extreme caution if cliff jumping.

7) Mooney Falls – Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The hike down to Havasupai Indian Reservation is a trip you won’t want to miss, but with a 10-mile hike one-way to the waterfall, you will want to give yourself a few days to truly soak in this experience. Mooney Falls is just downstream from the campground and the tallest of the several waterfalls in the area at 200 feet. If you are interested in a more serene experience you can continue down Havasu Creek three more miles to find Beaver Falls — a great option for folks looking for a more serene experience. These pools will leave you breathless and refreshed.


Access: Minimum 20-miles round-trip
Difficulty: Intermediate

*Reservations for the Havasupai campground must be made in advance and are required to stay overnight.

8) Enfield Falls – Ithaca, New York

Enfield Falls, also known as Lower Falls, is located in the Robert Treman State Park outside of Ithaca, New York. This waterfall swimming hole has it all. A large plunge pool, a diving platform, plenty of space to sunbathe and picnic. There is even a lifeguard on duty in the peak season.


Access: Close to parking
Difficulty: Easy

9) Little River Canyon – Little River Canyon National Preserve, Alabama

Little River flows over Lookout Mountain to create a stunning waterfall and pool to cool off in in the hot summer months. The drive through the canyon will supply you with gorgeous views before you reach your destination. Take your time and enjoy this hidden treasure in the Southern Appalachians.


Access: Close to parking
Difficulty: Easy

10) Potem Falls – Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California

Pouring 70-feet into the Pit River arm of Lake Shasta is Northern California’s Potem Falls. With temperatures regularly above 100 degrees in the summer, this beautiful pool will be just what the doctor ordered — just don’t forget to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.


Access: Quarter-mile hike
Difficulty: Easy

*Watch out for poison oak