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11 Best Natural Georgia Swimming Holes

There’s nothing better in the summertime than going for a refreshing swim on hot day. Sure, you could install a pool in your backyard or head to the public pool in town. But there’s just something adventurous and exhilarating about finding a natural swimming hole in the great outdoors. Fortunately, if you live in Georgia or are traveling here for vacation, there are lots of places to do exactly this!

There are many waterfalls, streams, lakes, and rivers across the state. And much of Georgia is still covered in lush forests that provide shade and protection for plants and animals. As you get to know the state of Georgia a bit better, check out some of these natural swimming holes. Many of them can be found along excellent hiking trails, which provides a refreshing reward at the end of your trek.

It’s always a good idea to check with the local rangers at the park you’ll be visiting to check the conditions for safety and make sure that swimming is still allowed. If so, these places provide an unbelievable way to cool off and enjoy the beautiful waters of Georgia!

Edge of the World, Amicalola River, Dawsonville Edge of the World, Amicalola
Credit: Edge of the World, Amicalola by Jeff Gunn

Edge of the World, Amicalola River, Dawsonville

Take a hike on the Amicalola River Trail to reach one of the best natural swimming areas in the state. You can wade in the water and hang out on the rocks. It’s easy to spend an entire day just relaxing and enjoying the warm weather here. Keep in mind that this area can get busy and crowded, so be prepared to be social. There have even been water slides and chutes to transport you from land to water in the most fun way possible. So, bring your kids and your dogs! You can hike a bit further down to find more privacy and quiet. If you’re visiting from out of town, you can stay in the town of Dawsonville for easy access about 25 minutes away.

Helton Creek Falls, Blairsville Helton Creek Falls Swimming Hole
Credit: Helton Creek Falls Swimming Hole by Jeff Gunn via Flickr

Helton Creek Falls, Blairsville

This is a great place to play in the pool of the falls and also take a break to have a picnic on the large boulders in the area. Unlike some outdoor swimming areas, the Helton Creek Falls pool enjoys both sun and shade, which is nice on particularly hot and steamy Georgia days.  Come here for stunning waterfall views and to slide down the rocks. At the lower falls area, many people have brought along yoga mats to slide down the rocks into the water. It doesn’t get much better than this for natural swimming! Blairsville is the nearest town if you want to make a whole weekend out of this swimming trip.

Sope Creek, Cobb County Sope Creek Swimming Hole
Credit: Sope Creek Swimming Hole by TimothyJ

Sope Creek, Cobb County

This Cobb County destination is great for taking a dip at Sope Creek. Like some other park areas in Georgia, you’ll find some mill ruins nearby to explore. You’re only about 15 minutes from Marietta when you visit this natural area, and Marietta is a great place to visit, dine, shop, and stay. Marietta has a nice town square that has local outdoor concerts in the summer. You can also check out the Marietta Museum of History, the Gone with the Wind Movie Museum, and the Earl Smith Strand Theatre when you’re in town.

Dicks Creek Falls, Dahlonega Dicks Creek Falls
Credit: Dicks Creek Falls by pookie_NY

Dicks Creek Falls, Dahlonega

Dicks Creek Falls is a multi-tiered waterfall that is very popular among hikers and natural lovers in-the-know in Georgia. There are actually several good swimming holes that you can explore on hikes to the falls and along the creek. Dahlonega is near this falls area and a historic gold rush town that’s worth checking out. This is also in Georgia’s wine region, so plan to stop by a couple local vineyards.

Raven Cliff Falls, Helen, White County Children playing at Raven Cliff Falls
Credit: Children playing at Raven Cliff Falls by Olaf Gradin

Raven Cliff Falls, Helen, White County

It’s not typically advisable to actually play in the falls here, but there’s an excellent trail that runs along a stream that’s nice to dip your toes in on a hot day. This is a bit of a longer hike than it is to get to other swimming areas, but it’s a nice moderate challenge for families. There are three drops into the deep pool of water, so you can go for a swim a little further away from the falling water. This swimming area is near Helen and in White County, Georgia.

Tallulah Falls, Tallulah Gorge State Park Tallulah Gorge
Credit: Tallulah Gorge by Rain0975

Tallulah Falls, Tallulah Gorge State Park

Another great place to play around on rocks and slide down them is Tallulah Gorge. This is a top spot to go to if you want to experience a natural water slide. Stop by the park office on your way in to obtain a free permit to get access to this exciting area. There are some really nice vacation rental properties in the Tallulah Gorge areas to stay at. Otherwise, there are some recommended hotels in Clayton, such as the Quality Inn & Suites Mt. Chalet and the Quality Inn & Suites Mt. Chalet.

Dukes Creek Falls, Helen Dog playing at Dukes Creek Falls
Credit: Dog playing at Dukes Creek Falls by Jeff Gunn

Dukes Creek Falls, Helen

A beautiful waterfall area near Helen is Dukes Creek Falls, and this is also a great swimming hole. There’s an out-and-back trail that’s two miles long that will take you to the falls, and the best place to take a dip is about halfway through that hike. Hike to the end and then go for a swim on the way back if you can. This is an awesome place to bring the kids and the family dog because the area is dog-friendly and loved by four-legged friends. The Riverbend Motel & Cabins and the Heidi Motel are nice getaway spots in Helen when you come to this area.

Sweetwater Creek, Lithia Springs Sweetwater Creek
Credit: Sweetwater Creek by Jeff Gunn

Sweetwater Creek, Lithia Springs

Sweetwater Creek State Park is just about 15 minutes from downtown Atlanta, so it’s easy to head here for the day to go for a swim. Hop on the Red Trail to follow the creek and head towards the ruins. This is one of the best areas to take a dip in the stream and a nice place for kids to play in. This creek is known for having some rapids, so keep an eye on the water level and intensity for your own safety. Unlike public pools and beaches, there are no lifeguards in state park swimming holes! The Sweetwater Creek State Park is in Lithia Springs, Georgia. There are quite a few accommodation options if you’re visiting for the first time, including the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta West/Lithia Springs and the Holiday Inn Express, which is also near the local theme park.

Mill Creek, Woodstock Mill Creek at Lake Irma Dam
Credit: Mill Creek at Lake Irma Dam by Michael Rivera

Mill Creek, Woodstock

Mill Creek is a natural swimming area near Woodstock that’s great for relaxing on a hot day this summer. There has also been a rope swing hanging that’s fun to try and splash into the refreshing water down below. Other fun things to do in Woodstock include outlet mall shopping, the trails at Olde Rope Mill Park, and a family night out at the Dixie Speedway. Recommended places to stay in Woodstock to check out this swimming area include the Microtel Inn & Suites and the Hampton Inn Atlanta/Woodstock.

Blue Hole Falls, Hiawassee Blue Hole Falls
Credit: Blue Hole Falls by Jsfouche

Blue Hole Falls, Hiawassee

In the Hiawassee area of Georgia you’ll find Blue Hole at Pigeon Mountain. This is an excellent natural swimming area to bring the kids to because it’s a small area that’s nice to splash around in. The water is fresh and clear, so definitely remember to bring your swimsuit. It’s also near the beloved town of Helen, so Blue Hole Falls makes a nice side trip from your weekend trip to the Bavarian-themed village. Be careful of the currents, but the High Shoals Trail is a great one to take to reach the waterfall and the swimming hole at the bottom.

Banning Mills, Whitesburg Stream at Banning Mills
Credit: Stream at Banning Mills by Ed Schipul

Banning Mills, Whitesburg

To enjoy one of the most blissful wooded areas in Georgia, head to Banning Mills. There are lots of trees and rocks to bring you peace as you take a dip in the water. Historic Banning Mills is an adventure resort that has a bed and breakfast and 300-acres of wooded beauty. It’s only about 45 minutes west of Atlanta and perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway. Zip lining is really popular at this place, and the lodging is very highly rated. It’s a perfect place to take a break from reality and go back home refreshed.

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