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Havasu Falls | © Sean Hagen / Flickr
Havasu Falls | © Sean Hagen / Flickr
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Epic Secret Swimming Holes in the United States and Where to Find Them

Picture of Leena Kollar
Updated: 6 June 2017

If you’re adventurous and looking for somewhere to take a dip that isn’t a traditional swimming pool, check out these amazing swimming holes. Whether you just want to cool down from the heat or go on a scuba diving trip, these pools are lots of fun.

Jacob’s Well

In Texas, where summers can be brutally hot, it’s great to have places such as Jacob’s Well, which allows for a dip in the water to cool down. Located between San Antonio and Austin, Jacob’s Well is Texas’ longest underwater cave. The well, which pumps thousands of gallons of water per minute, was once a sacred meeting place for Native Americans. While it is a popular place for cooling down, Jacob’s Well is also one of the most dangerous diving spots; several fatalities have occurred due to divers squeezing through the thin openings of the caves and getting caught or drowning. However, today, swimmers and cautious scuba divers who are looking for a place to enjoy the natural wonders of Texas should visit this well.

Jacob’s Well, TX, USA

Havasu Falls

Located on tribal lands in the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls is a waterfall on Havasu Creek. The main chute drops over a 90-foot (27.4-meter) vertical cliff into several plunge pools, which are a vibrant blue-green color due to the high concentration of calcium carbonate. Because of flash floods, the pools have switched between one flowing stream to multiple streams. It is difficult for hikers to get reservations for visiting Havasu Falls, and there are two 10-mile (16-kilometer) hikes each way to reach this beautiful locale.

Havasu Falls, AZ, USA

Madison Blue Springs

On the west bank of the Withlacoochee River in Florida is Madison Blue Springs, a swimming hole with a limestone basin that runs 24 feet (7.3 meters) deep. The spring flows just 100 feet (30.4 meters) and cascades over limestone boulders before reaching the Withlacoochee. There is an underwater cave for divers and swimmers, and there are also canoe and kayak rentals available.

Madison Blue Springs, 8300 FL-6, Lee, FL, USA, +1 850 971 5003

Santa Rosa Blue Hole

Once known as Blue Lake, Santa Rosa Blue Hole is one of seven lakes connected underground. It’s located halfway between Albuquerque and Amarillo in New Mexico. The water maintains a temperature of 62°F (16.6°C), and the visibility is 100 feet (30.4 meters). The Santa Rosa Blue Hole renews itself every six hours and is known for its clear, pure water that appears like a blue gem in the middle of the desert. Many who visit the swimming hole enjoy climbing the rocks that surround it, before jumping into the 82-foot-deep (25-meters) water.

Santa Rosa Blue Hole, Santa Rosa, NM, USA

Sliding Rock

Sliding Rock waterfall gets its name from the fact that you can slide down (in sitting position only) a large rock into a plunge pool. The slope of the rock, located in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina, is about 60 feet (18.3 meters) long and has a pool of water between seven and eight feet (2.1–2.4 meters) deep at the bottom. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, lifeguards and rangers are on duty. When there is high water or lightning in the area, the rock is closed to sliders.

Sliding Rock, US-276, Pisgah Forest, NC, USA, +1 828 877 3265

Hamilton Pool Preserve
Hamilton Pool | © Brandon Lord / Flickr

Hamilton Pool | © Brandon Lord / Flickr

Hamilton Pool Preserve

Thousands of years ago, the dome of an underground river collapsed, forming the natural pool known as Hamilton Pool Preserve, located approximately 23 miles (37 kilometers) west of Austin, Texas. It consists of 232 acres of natural habitat, featuring a green pool surrounded by slabs of limestone. A 50-foot (15.2-meter) waterfall flows into the non-chemically treated pool, and large stalactites grow from the ceiling, where moss, maidenhair fern, and cliff swallows are also visible. Due to the natural water of the pool, officials monitor the water quality, restricting swimming if necessary.

Hamilton Pool Preserve, 24300 Hamilton Pool Rd, Dripping Springs, TX, USA, +1 512 264 2740

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Outdoors, Instagrammable, Touristy

Homestead Crater

Within the Midway Utah Resort is the Homestead Crater—a geothermal spring that was formed over 10,000 years ago when the earth’s interior heated the water, which picked up minerals as it moved upward, depositing them on the surface. It is hidden within a 55-foot-tall (16.8 meters) limestone rock and has a hole at the top that lets sunlight in, and the mineral water keeps the interior warm, approximately 90–96°F (32.2–35.5°C). At ground level is a tunnel that provides access to an area that allows guests to swim, scuba dive, snorkel or to take a paddleboard yoga class.

Homestead Crater, 700 Homestead Dr, Midway, UT, USA, +1 435 657 3840

Juniper Springs

Locals from Ocala, Florida refer to Juniper Springs as “the Springs,” located in the Ocala National Forest. The oval-shaped spring forms the headwaters of Juniper Creek and sits in a subtropical forest with limestone caves at the bottom. It is about 135 feet (41.1 meters) long, with a basin of rock and concrete surrounding it. At 21 feet (6.4 meters) deep, 13 million gallons of crystal-clear water flow from the springs every day.

Juniper Springs, FL, USA