Summer in North Carolina goes hand in hand with soaring temperatures and devastating humidity. Luckily the riveting scenery of the state is teeming with rivers, streams, and mountain springs that equate to refreshing swimming holes where you can find refuge from the blistering heat.
Skinny Dip Falls, Pisgah National Forest, Canton
Conveniently located off the Blue Ridge Parkway is a deep pool at the end of a short cascade that allows for dipping and even jumping from boulders for a bigger splash. Named for adventurous locals, it is still a public place, and pants are required.
Elk River Falls, Pisgah National Forest, Elk Park
This impressive 50ft waterfall drops into the mouth of a swimming hole bordered with flat rocks for tanning and a strip of beach. This easily accessible gem brags plenty of space so bring the whole family and stay all day.
Hooker Falls, Dupont State Forest, Cedar Mountain
A giant pool tucked away in the DuPont State forest, visitors come for the swimming rather than the small waterfall. The lush green surroundings and lack of current make it a formidable summer heat contender.
Lake Lure, Town of Lake Lure
If you enjoy beautiful mountain scenery, Lake Lure is a fun spot to swim. Part of the Hickory Nut Gorge, the lake is lined with a large beach and speckled with popular attractions including The Flowering Bridge, Golf Club, and Adventure Company.
Once an overrun resort town, this lake is now a peaceful offering to swimmers. The feature is shallow the entire way across, layered in soft, pearly sand and covered with sparkling clear water, very much unlike its murky comrades.
Sliding Rock, Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Forest
Near Brevard, Sliding rock is a small waterfall on Looking Glass Creek. Visitors flock to slide down the 60-foot slope into the cool plunge pool below.
Turtleback Falls, Pisgah National Forest
Turtleback falls is another quintessential North Carolina swimming hole deep in Pisgah National Forest. It’s about a 3-mile hike from Gorges State park to the falls. Strong swimmers will take an adrenaline fueled ride down the slippery rocks down 20-foot drop into the cool waters below.