Best Hikes for a Swim in New England
Before embarking on your camping adventure, please check local Department of Parks and Recreation websites for information and updates regarding the status of park openings.
Is there any better way to end an epic hike than with a swim? In New England, there are plenty of opportunities to take a refreshing dip after your trek. Here are our favorite spots in New England to cool off with a much-needed swim.
This little-known curiosity in Baxter State Park is a natural wonder where Katahdin Stream spills down a series of gently sloped granite ledges to form natural waterslides and potholes. Chances are you’ll encounter thru-hikers at the ledges, cooling off and celebrating their soon-to-be-completed pilgrimage north.
In coastal Maine, most roads (and trails) lead to the Atlantic, but Acadia’s famous Ocean Path begins at Sand Beach, where you can take an invigorating dip in one of the prettiest coves in the Pine Tree State before or after your oceanside hike.
Bridal Veil Falls
The ovular pool at the base of Bridal Veil Falls is vast and brimming with ice-cold White Mountain water from the falls themselves—and the Coppermine Trail literally delivers you to the rocky brink of this grade A swimming hole.
Take the Bemis Brook cutoff trail to Coliseum Falls, where you can follow the flow of the brook a short distance to arrive at Fawn Pool—an idyllic little swimming hole that’s guaranteed to shock you back to life on a stupefyingly hot day.
Owl’s Head Town Forest
Though there isn’t any swimming directly off the trails of Owl’s Head, you’ll want to follow up your hike with a plunge in the famous Dorset Quarry.
Swimming in the falls themselves is discouraged (too dangerous), but there is a great swimming hole right at the trailhead where hikers can cool off in the West River.
Falls of Lana
These impressive falls form pools all the way down the mountainside where you can relax in the cold waters after a jaunt to Rattlesnake Cliffs.
The sun-scorched trails of Castle Neck get hot during summertime, but hikers can cool off in the Atlantic post-hike while enjoying one of the finest stretches of sand in New England.
Great Island Trail
Explore Jeremy Point at low tide, then revitalize your legs with a dip in Cape Cod Bay.
When in New England, do as the transcendentalists did and follow your stroll around Walden Pond with a dunk in a kettle-hole lake that stays warm well into fall.
Enjoy the solitude of a quiet Nantucket beach by hiking the Ocean Walk trail through Sanford Farm.
The pond at Mashamoquet Brook State Park is a nice spot for hikers (especially families with kids) to splash around in a scenic setting.
Steep Rock Preserve
Keep an eye out for swimming holes as you hike along the Shepaug River—you may find your new favorite spot to cool off in Connecticut.
Clay Head and the Maze
After wandering “The Maze” and capturing the incredible views from the top of Clay Head bluff, you can descend through the dunes to a pristine beach and watch the ferries come in while you float.
The best part about the Walkabout Trail is that it begins and ends at the beach of Bowdish Reservoir—a gorgeous body of sparkling blue water.
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