These are some of the best swimming holes in New York that you can find. Plan your hike here and cool off at the end with one of these natural wonders.
Get away from the crowds and the chlorine and enjoy the exhilaration of diving into one of New York State’s natural stream-fed lagoons.
There are plenty to choose from if you know where to look and this is the place to start. The best part: the seclusion and the mystery of what you will find when you get there.
Pack some sunscreen, an extra pair of socks, and set off into the unknown; the water awaits!
Caution: Most of these swimming holes in the State of New York are unguarded, so swimming and diving is at your own risk.
1. Stony Brook State Park
One of the few swimming options here that is considered semi-natural due to the high quality masonry repairs to the swimming area. It’s also one of the few here that offers a full-time lifeguard staff. Look for Stony Brook off of Rt. 36S in Dansville, New York.
2. Esopus Creek
This world famous natural trout stream is also a well-known watering hole. The sleepy village of Phoenicia, New York is a tubing destination in the Catskill region. Take a GoPro if you have one. This area of Ulster County has one of the highest black bear populations in the state and tubers on this section have reported seeing them in the creek.
3. Shanty Brook
You’ll have to work for this one. Shanty Brook is part of the Sacandaga River system and getting there means wading a shallow part of the river to find the falls and swimming hole. Find Rt. 8 in the town of Wells and follow it east for nine miles.
4. Millstream Swimming Hole
Found in the town of Woodstock, New York -yes that Woodstock- this subtle and overlooked spot is a nice pit stop before taking on this historic rock and roll village. I’ve personally swam in this one and it’s a great cooling off area in the month of July.
5. Zoar Valley
Near the confluence of the Genesee River and Cattaraugus Creek in Cattaraugus County, the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area offers hiking, paddling/swimming, fishing, and many other outdoor opportunities.
6. Boiling Pot
A part of the pothole and gorge formation in Canajoharie, New York this refuge from the summer heat has everything you would want in a watering hole. The cliffs can be dangerous, but you can relax in the stream and let the running water surround you. Take Exit 29 off I90 towards Canajoharie to Rt. 10S; east on Rt. 5S and find Cunningham Rd.
7. Peekamoose Blue Hole
Found on the Roundout Creek in the Catskill region, this iconic swimming hole has that beautiful blue water that beckons a dive the second you see it. It takes just under a five-mile hike to get there, but all the better when you arrive. Find the Peekamoose Trail off of County Rt. 42 in the town of Grahamsville, New York.
8. Enfield Falls
The lower falls in the Robert H. Treman State Park, which has nearly 10 miles of hiking trails, is known as one of the best swimming holes in all of NY. It’s also excellent as a family destination due to the fact that it is a lifeguarded swimming area. Ithaca, New York is easy to find and you can’t go wrong by visiting the town’s many gorges and waterfalls.
The summer is starting and it’s starting now! Plan a hike to one of the best swimming holes in New York now and you won’t regret it.
Getting there is half the fun, and when you can hike to your destination it makes you work a bit for the reward. Remember that these areas can be unguarded and potentially dangerous, but with good planning you’ll only go home with the best of memories.
One last reminder: carry in/carry out. If you brought it with you, take it home with you. Leave the great State of New York better than we found it!