Natural Watering Holes NY, CA, AZ

I hope I get to make it to all these places but NY and AZ look the prettiest to me

Peekamoose Blue Hole, Sundown, NY

If this place doesn’t remind you of old Mountain Dew ads, you’re probably part of the Twilight generation. You know the ones—groups of beautiful young people playing in the summer sun, jumping into water, popping open a can of the electric yellow soda, while a singer reminds us that “being cool is a state of mind.” In the middle of a Catskills forest, Rondout Creek pours through a rock gap to create a deep swimming hole worthy of such rowdy camaraderie. Think jackknifes and cannonballs. The I-live-for-summer rope swing dangles over the deepest end and practically begs to be used. To find the Peekamoose Blue Hole (and your inner Brad Pitt), follow New York Route 28A to West Shoken.

Carlon Falls, Yosemite National Park,CA

En route to Hetch Hetchy, pull off winding Evergreen Road at the South Fork Tuolumne River for a mostly flat, two-mile hike to this rare year-round waterfall. Bordered by towering ponderosa pines, with meadows of purple lupine and small bright sunflowers nearby, this secret swimming hole is rarely visited by Yosemite pilgrims. The 35-foot falls cascades over wide granite ledges into a boulder-strewn pool, where, most of the time, the birds in the canopy and the whoosh of rushing water are the only other sounds you’ll hear. Exactly how a good swimming hole should be.

Havasu Falls, Supai, AZ

There’s off the beaten path. And then there’s Havasu Falls—located a mile and a half outside the Havasupai Indian village of Supai, on the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The only way to get here is to charter a helicopter, hike a steep 10 miles, or hire a pack animal. (The U.S. Post Office still uses mules to make mail deliveries to the village.) And you’ll need a permit ($20). But boy, is it worth it. A torrent of water streams across the sunburnt rock face of the Grand Canyon’s south rim, collecting in a pool 100 feet below. The water, so turquoise it looks like it’s on loan from the Caribbean, stays about 72 degrees year-round and is perfect for lazy floating or practicing your belly flop. And with such a schlep to get here, you don’t have to fight the crowds for a prime sunning spot. Yeah, it’s pretty much the best swimming hole ever.


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