Public pools may be closed for the season, but H2O escapism isn’t out of the question. It’s still warm enough to take a swim in secluded swimming holes in Georgia and South Carolina. Just a short trip away from downtown traffic and suburban bustle, the following swimming holes and waterfalls offer plunge-worthy places. Remember, the water will likely be cold, so pack a towel and a change of clothes.
Edge of the World: Amicalola River Trail
Who needs a water park when you’re in the know? Head to Dawsonsville, located about sixty miles north of Atlanta, for this king among swimming holes. A section of the Amicalola River Trail—locals often refer to it as the Edge of the World— allows courageous visitors the ability to body surf or tube down the rapids. Feel free to brave the rock slides, but don’t forget to go feet first. Some folks simply splash about in the adjacent swimming holes. The nearby parking lot doesn’t include a pay station, so purchase a day pass online. At the parking lot, a set of stairs leads to the trailhead and a boardwalk. Venture approximately a half mile, and you’ll see the rapids.
Don’t feel like swimming? It’s also a great picnic spot. While in Dawsonville, visit Amicalola Falls State Park, home to an incredibly tall (over 700 feet!) cascading waterfall in the Southeast. Don’t try swimming underneath it; just climb the massive staircase and take a gorgeous picture.
High Shoals Falls
Allow thirty minutes to drive northwest from Lithia Springs to Dallas. Perfect for the warm autumn days and Halloween season, High Shoals Falls sits just beyond a vintage graveyard where Civil War vets rest eternal. Park there and take the trail next to the cemetery. Expect a quarter mile walk to the waterfall, a relatively reasonable distance to tote a picnic basket. Listen closely as you near it, and you’ll hear the rushing water. Towering trees with monstrous roots stand guard as explorers take a swim in the area directly in front of the falls. Open up that picnic basket and spread out your meal on the picnic table by the falls.
Riley Moore Falls
Bring both your hiking and swimming shoes for a trip to Riley Moore Fall. It takes a forty-five-minute hike to reach this waterfall and swimming hole on the Chauga River. Standing at about twelve feet, it may not be the highest waterfall you’ve ever seen. Yet, it’s one hundred feet wide, providing a natural play place and splash zone for hikers. Fans of flora should make sure and bring a camera. Patches of fern and daisy fleabane can be found and azaleas accent the falls during the spring.
Need more suggestions? Swimming spots are often found at or around state park, so check a few out before the weather officially turns.