TIPS FOR VISITING NEW ENGLAND’S SWIMMING HOLES

    • BEWARE OF WHITEWATER – if a swimming hole is full of whitewater, you may not be able to determine how deep it is or how strong the current is. Remember, many people have died in the whitewater portions of swimming holes.
    • SCOUT FIRST, JUMP SECOND – Never jump into a swimming hole without first scouting it. Even if you see somebody else jumping, you should make sure that you know how deep the water is and where you shouldn’t jump.
    • ELEVATION & WATER TEMPERATURE – the higher the elevation, the chillier the swimming hole is likely going to be. For example, the swimming holes fed by water drainage from the slopes of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire are brutually cold, even when the outside temperature is in the 80s or 90s.
    • WATER SHOES – You won’t see too many people using them, but watershoes are fantastic pieces of equipment for enjoying swimming holes. Merrill makes some fantastic watershoes (here’s one example: womens / mens).
    • CLIFF JUMPING – Cliff jumping is dangerous. Like, seriously dangerous. Understand the risks before you partake in this activity.
    • LEAVE NO TRACE – When you visit swimming holes, you’ll see some trash and clothing left behind by others. It’s really, really sad, and it irks the heck out of us. Won’t you consider carrying out some of trash and clothing left by others when you leave? That would leave the place more beautiful for the next person.
    • HELP KEEP THE ULTRA-SECRET SWIMMING HOLES A SECRET (FOREVER) – If you find some ultra-secret swimming holes, please do your best to keep them a secret. Do not post their locations online or wildly share directions or photos with others. All of the swimming holes that are included in my New England Waterfalls guidebook and on this website are the well-known swimming spots. There are many more holes that are much further off the beaten path, but they deserve a chance to stay wild and pristine.
    • QUARRIES – There are several old quarries in New England that are now popular and extremely fun swimming holes. The most famous of these swimming holes is the privately-owned Dorset Quarries in Dorset, Vermont (visitors are welcome here currently, but that could change in the future).
    • PRIVATE PROPERTY – Many swimming holes are located on private property and we are truly fortunate that many landowners allow us to enjoy them. If you want to ensure that they stay open to the public, please do your best to leave no trace. If you see a sign that says ‘Private Property’, turn around and find another place to swim.
    • SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS THAT PRESERVE SWIMMING HOLES – There are some organizations that work diligently to conserve and maintain swimming holes. Please consider supporting these organizations, either with trail maintenance projects or monetary donations. Here are two excellent organizations engaged in such important work: the Vermont River Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy.
  • SWIMMINGHOLES.ORG – You can find more swimming holes on www.swimmingholes.org, but always, always, always remember to treat these places with respect (make sure you leave no trash, clothes or towels behind when you leave).