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Top 7 Swimming Holes in Virginia

Virginia, home to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park, is an oasis for outdoor lovers. During the hot summer months, swimming in fresh water is the only way to deal with the heat. Luckily for Virginians and travelers alike, Virginia is home to a number of great swimming holes. Cool of this summer at one of these 7 best swimming holes in Virginia.

Dismal Falls  Dismal Falls
Credit: Dismal Falls by Virginia State Parks/Flickr.com

Dismal Falls

Don’t let the name fool you, a day at Dismal Falls will not be dismal. With views of a 40-foot waterfall that drops into a lovely pool of water, this swimming hole is a popular place to cool off during the summer months. Hikers and climbers will enjoy exploring the rock ledges in the area too. However, if you’re just looking to chill under a canopy of trees while you watch the falls, Dismal Falls is the perfect place. Another perk to this watering hole is that it is free, and if you visit during a weekday you’re bound to find solitude here as well. Since the short walk to Dismal Falls doesn’t require too much energy, this swimming spot is accessible to many.

Goshen Pass Goshen Pass
Credit: Goshen Pass by VSPYCC/Flickr.com

Goshen Pass

Goshen Pass is not only known for its swimming holes but also its outdoor recreation opportunities to fish and hike. This mountain gorge is three miles long with a number of large swimming holes found along the canyon. Visitors to Goshen Pass will enjoy tubing the gorge as well. Since there are a number of access points from Route 39, you will definitely be able to find a nice spot to cool off this summer.

Belle Isle Belle Isle
Credit: Belle Isle by Virginia State Parks via Flickr

Belle Isle

Take a dip in the James River in Richmond. Belle Isle along the James River offers a large body of water perfect for swimming. Other areas along the James River are more suited for kayaks due to rapids. Therefore if you’re looking for a soothing dip, Belle Isle is highly recommended. So no matter if you want to swim or kayak, the James River will please all water lovers. Even if you don’t feel like getting wet, Belle Isle is still a wonderful spot to explore, as there are biking, walking and climbing spots here too.

Whiteoak Canyon Whiteoak Canyon
Credit: Whiteoak Canyon by Shenandoah National Park/Flickr.com

Whiteoak Canyon

The Shenandoah Valley is a Virginia gem, and therefore this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Whiteoak Canyon, a Shenandoah favorite. There are plenty of waterfalls found along the Whiteoak Canyon Trail, and all of which have pools below them for swimming. To reach the pools there is around a 1.5-mile hike from the trailhead. However the trail here is just as popular as the pools, so you may as well soak up some great Virginia hiking while you’re here too.

Cascade Falls Cascade Falls
Credit: Cascade Falls by Alex Ford/Flickr.com

Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls is one of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls, which offers a big pool of water perfect for swimming. There is a scenic hike to Cascade Falls with a trailhead that has bathrooms. The falls are also a popular spot for photographers too, so don’t forget to bring a camera when you visit this Virginia oasis.

Sherando Lake Sherando Lake

Sherando Lake

You might as well spend a weekend enjoying Sherando Lake since the area is home to campsites, picnic tables, hiking trails, fishing spots, and of course, a swimming hole. Sherando Lake is actually the only swimming hole on this list that has a sandy beach. So if you don’t feel like to driving out to the Virginia coastline to feel sand between your toes, then hit up Sherando Lake instead.

Passage Creek Blue hole at Passage Creek
Credit: Blue hole at Passage Creek by Taber Andrew Bain/Flickr.com

Passage Creek

Front Royal, Virginia is home to a few incredible swimming holes along Passage Creek. Located in Washington National Forest, a popular swimming hole in the area can be found by the Elizabeth Furnace campground. This swimming spot fills up fast during a hot summer day. But don’t worry, Blue Hole swimming spot is nearby and typically sees fewer visitors. Blue Hole is also one of the deepest spots of Passage Creek. Along with Blue Hole, you should also consider visiting the swimming hole below Buzzard Rock. Buzzard Rock cliffs are well known among the climbing and hiking community, however just below the cliffs is Buzzard Rock swimming hole.

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