The best swimming holes feature abundant clean cold water, bucolic surroundings, minimal trash, and a friendly atmosphere (if you happen to meet other people there, and regardless of whether you or they are wearing bathing suits). Many such gems exist, but you aren’t likely to read about them on the Internet. The places listed below below aren’t perfect gems, but they’re nice places to take a dip–that is, they meet one or more of the above criteria.
The Quarries, Vinalhaven, ME
Bristol Dam, Bristol, ME A nice little town-run park, on Route 130 in Bristol Village.
Emerald Pool in Evans Notch, NH Not to be confused with the Emerald Pool along Route 16 in Pinkham Notch, this Emerald Pool is a short distance off the Baldface loop trail, an easy three-quarters of a mile from Route 113. A scenic little cascade dropping into a deep pool between rock ledges.
Beede Falls on the Bearcamp River, Sandwich, NH Parking close to the falls is limited to town residents, but the walk through the woods is very pleasant from the Mt. Israel trailhead at the old Mead Base Camp.
Jackson Falls on Wildcat Brook, Jackson, NH
Emerald Pool, Peabody River, White Mountain National Forest, NH Not to be confused with the Emerald Pool in Evans Notch, this one is just off Route 16 near Pinkham Notch. When I was a teenager, we used to go skinny-dipping there pretty regularly. The water is cold but very clean.
Garnet Pool, Peabody River, White Mountain National Forest, NH At the confluence with Nineteen-Mile Brook.
Sculptured Rocks, Groton, NH A roadside geologic site where a small river runs through a glacially-carved gorge. Some parts of it are only safe in the low water of late summer.
Bartlett’s Falls, Bristol,VT A scenic and popular waterfall with a large pool, on the New Haven River beside Lincoln Road just off State Route 116.
Dorset Quarry, Dorset, VT A former marble quarry just off Route 30
Stanley Street swimming hole, Fort River, Amherst, MA Just down the path from the ballfield parking pulloff.