Say goodbye to skiing, snowboarding, and iceskating, and say hello to sweaty nearby hikes followed by refreshing dips in natural swimming pools. Lucky for us here in the Old North State. North Carolina is home to some of the most beautiful state parks like the Smoky Mountains and Pisgah National Forest and with that comes beautiful hikes surrounded by nature, waterfalls, and swimming holes. We rounded up 5 of our favorite natural pools to go swimming at in North Carolina for you to enjoy this summer.
1. Midnight Hole
Midnight Hole is a scenic and deep (6 feet to be exact) natural pool that’s the perfect place to take a swim on a hot summer day. Not to mention, it also got a waterfall. The pool is part of the Big Creek section of the Smoky Mountains 1.4 miles into the hike, making it the ideal pitstop near cities like Asheville, and it’s still not too far outside of Charlotte! Midnight Hole is quite popular with adults and teens alike so be prepared for crowds.
2. Sliding Rock
Sliding Rock Falls is a great, natural swimming hole to enjoy with the whole family. Popular and safe enough that kids can do it while thrilling enough that you’ll feel a surge of adrenaline course through you as you slide down into refreshing pool waters below, all surrounded by beautiful Pisgah National Forest. Be warned, this is quite a popular pool so make sure to head out early or be ready to wait in a line.
Just around the corner in Pisgah National Forest is the beautiful and often photographed, Looking Glass Falls. What the swimming pool lacks in breadth, it makes up for in impressiveness. Take in this 60 feet waterfall, let the kids splash about in the surrounding natural pool, and be one with nature after a long and challenging hike near you.
The perfect swimming pool to stop and take a dip, Bust Your Butt Falls can be seen from the US 64 West while driving through Highlands and makes the perfect pitstop. If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, you can actually jump into the Cullasaja River from a boulder. After you’re done swimming, take a hike to one of the nearby waterfalls.
5. Sennett Hole
Rounded by rocks, Sennett Hole is a natural swimming hole just a bit smaller than a community pool. Dive into these cool waters as a reward for the 0.6 mile hike you embark on prior. A popular way to hike this trail is as a 3.8-mile out-and-back from West Point on the Eno River if you’re so inclined. Once you reach your destination, this pool, you’ll be met by Sycamores and rocks to relax before taking a dive up to 8 feet below into refreshing waters.