Taking a dip in a cool swimming hole is a favorite North Carolina past time. With the weather warming up, the kids (almost) out of school, and that vacation mindset kicking in…it’s time to plan a fun day trip to a swimming hole. Looking for the perfect place for a romantic day, or a getaway with the whole family? These fifteen are worth checking out!
1. White Lake
This natural crater turned lake goes as far as 15ft. deep, but the kicker, you can ALWAYS see the bottom. For a slice of crystal clear water and white sand you'd think could only be found in the Bahamas, White Lake is a great destination. Cypress trees lend a beachy vibe and the water is just beautiful. It's no surprise that during the 1920's White Lake used to be a luxury resort/getaway...today it's more laid back but some of the houses still remain from its heyday.
2. Sliding Rock
This extremely popular, literal, sliding rock is a well loved swimming hole. Sliding down the rock into that crisp mountain water is just exhilarating. It's a great place to take the kids.
3. Looking Glass Falls
Two miles down U.S 276, past sliding rock, is Looking Glass Falls. This impressive waterfall makes for breathtaking scenery. The pool is perfect for dipping your toes in after a long mountain hike. While not the best swimming hole, young children will be able to splash and play next to an immaculate waterfall...what a fun experience!
4. Hooker Falls
For a swimming hole with plenty of swimming, Hooker Falls is your destination. Grab a tube and float along while enjoying the calm sound of a waterfall. Or live a little and try out the rope swing. Located in DuPont State Forest, Hooker Falls is a popular destination for a cool dip on a hot day.
5. Eno River
For a taste of the mountains west of Durham, check out Eno River. This state park offers swimming, hiking, and even a rope swing.
6. Deep Creek
Located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Deep Creek is a popular destination for tubing. Take a pit stop at Tom Branch Falls to take it all in.
7. Lake Lure
A sandy beach, blue water, and mountain views are waiting for you at Lake Lure. Located near Chimney Rock, you can hike in the morning and cool off in the afternoon. Sounds like a perfect day to me!
8. Deep Bottom along the Cape Fear River
For my easterners, Deep Bottom is a popular swimming hole along the Cape Fear River. Deep bottom got its name from the fact no one has ever swam to the bottom...so no one knows quite how deep it really is. Looking for some mischievous summer fun? Deep Bottom seems like a well kept secret.
9. Yadkin River
A swimming hole I frequented a lot growing up was the Yadkin River. For piedmonters, it's the perfect place to cool off. Ask a local and they'll tell you where you can find a rope swing and even some small waterfalls.
10. Shacktown Falls
I might be spilling the beans with this one, but this swimming hole in Yadkinville is awesome. The waterfall is small and gentle enough to sit right under. Large rocks make for the perfect place to relax and catch some rays. Not too far from everything, Shacktown is a great getaway.
11. Skinny Dip Falls
You'll probably want to keep your clothes on here, at least until you hike far enough to reach Skinny Dip. This waterfall has high rock outcroppings that are excellent for jumping off of. With several small pools Skinny Dip is the perfect swimming hole to spend a day at!
12. Nantahala River Beach and Jump Off Rock
Rafters love to park their raft, climb up the rock, and take a plunge into the water below. Just a few miles away is the river beach with an outdoor recreation area.
13. Cashiers Sliding Rock
For Sliding Rock, minus the crowd, hike on down to Cashiers and take a slip then a dip.
14. Elk River Falls
This gorgeous and safe swimming hole rests beneath Elk River Falls. A sandy beach leading into the water makes a great place to prop a chair or towel and spend the day relaxing.
15. Lake Glenville
Rent a canoe and go explore one of the many hidden waterfalls on Lake Glenville. Between mountain views and crisp water, Lake Glenville is perfect for a day of water sports, boating, and swimming.
Where are your favorite spots in North Carolina to take a dip and cool off? Tell us in the comments!