8 Georgia swimming holes that have just as much splash as the pool
With simmering weather in Georgia the norm in spring and summer, you’ll need a way to keep cool. The state’s swimming holes offer a wet and wild option that lasts sometimes late into the fall or even year-round.
Grab your suits and some sunscreen and get ready to play in the water at these eight Georgia swimming holes:
High Shoals Falls and Blue Hole Falls
A swimming spot for the hikers, where a 2.4 mile walk yields a view of a waterfall tumbling over a 50-foot cliff and a creek to splash in. The pool can reach depths of more than 10 feet, so you can really swim here, but you should also observe all the swimming precautions necessary in natural water (like strictly adhering to the buddy system.) The creek is a refreshing 40-something degrees even in the summer, so plan this for a hot sunny day.
Location: Chattahoochee National Forest near Helen - 1333 Indian Grave Gap Rd, Hiawassee, GA 30546; Website: atlantatrails.com
While this spot is wildly popular with mountain bikers, it’s also a welcoming place for hikers and families. To reach a clean, fairly shady spot to splash around, follow the easiest trail to the far left along the creek.
Location: 2261 Sixes Rd. Canton GA 30114; Website: sorbawoodstock.org
Edge of the World
A moderate 2.3-mile hiking trail along the Amicalola River Trail offers year-round wading and rock lounging at one of the best natural swimming areas in the state. It’s not exactly undiscovered, though, so plan to share your time with some other families and their pets at a distance. You’ll also need a current hunting license, fishing license or GORP (Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass) to enter. If you want to build a full-day trip or weekend around the swimming hole adventure, Dawson County has lots of fishing, shopping and eateries.
Location: Amicalola River Trail - 7000 Hwy 53, Dawsonville, GA 30534; Website: destinationdawsonville.com
Helton Creek Falls
A swimming hole with a bonus: falls. While you can’t swim in the waterfalls themselves, the pool at the bottom is a great place to paddle and maybe have a picnic on the large boulders. Be super careful of the slippery rocks, though!
Location: US HWY 129S, Blairsville; Website: atlantatrails.com
A favorite of the 365 Atlanta Family blog, this is an old-style county swimming hole off a back road in Ballground and Canton. The parking is there for people putting in kayaks on the Etowah River, but you can just stay in place and enjoy the shallow water and rocky beach spot. Cherry on top: Dogs are welcome.
Location: East Cherokee Drive, Ball Ground (near Woodstock)
Take a dip amidst history just 15 minutes from Marietta. You can wade into the creek from rocky banks, before or after a visit to the park’s towering stone ruins of a paper mill destroyed during the Civil War.
Location: Sope Creek Park, Cobb County; Website: atlantatrails.com
Red Clay Resort
This attraction provides an intermediate step for those who love to swim but are new to the natural swimming concept. A mile south of Red Clay State Park, the site,
formerly known as Farmer’s Lake, has a large, spring-fed swimming pool, bath house, restrooms and even an arcade. Admission is $8 Monday through Wednesday; $9 Thursday through Sunday; and $10 on all holidays. It’s not open much past Labor Day, just by about a week, but it will let you sneak in a little extra summer.
Location: 5510 Red Clay Rd, Cohutta, GA 30710; Website: redclayresort.com
Dukes Creek Falls
A majestic waterfall located just north of Helen creates a great swimming hole and place for waders.
Location: 1699 Richard Russell Highway, Helen; Website: exploregeorgia.org
This story was first published in 2018 by Rose Kennedy, and has since been updated.