EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated on Aug. 3, 2020, to meet current statewide regulations.
Trade in a trip to the pool with a road trip to a Virginia swimming hole this summer. Located outside of Northern Virginia, their stunning vistas, scenic hiking trails and natural topography will create a cheap yet fun and unique alternative family trip, date or escapade with friends.
Experience an exquisite geological phenomenon by swimming in the warm rapids of Blowing Springs on the Back Creek. The water remains at a constant temperature of 58 degrees year-round, and the springs are an ideal destination for trout fishing, camping and tubing. // The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests Blowing Springs Camping Ground: SR 39, Warm Springs
Recognized as the most pure waterfall and one of the best swimming holes in the state, Cascade Falls creates a picturesque pool at its base that is cool to the touch but refreshing. Two scenic 2-mile trails will take you to the 66-foot falls. You can choose between the moderately challenging Lower Trail or the more difficult Upper Trail. // The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests: 2068 Cascade Drive, Pembroke
An urban escape on the edge of Virginia’s capital, Pony Pasture is the perfect getaway for swimming, snorkeling, bird watching and inner tubing. Pony Pasture is located on the James River, and it’s characterized by an abundance of massive boulders sticking out of the water that are ideal for sunbathing and relaxing. // Pony Pasture Rapids Park: 7200 Riverside Drive, Richmond
Otherwise known as Red Hole, Buzzard Rock Hole is home to gentle rapids and deep pools. However, this swimming hole is extremely rocky, so don’t jump in. A large, flat rock slants into the creek, making it a prime location for sunbathing and enjoying a picnic. // Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area: Fort Valley Road, Strasburg
But before you go, don’t forget these essential safety precautions: Don’t jump into the water until you are sure that there aren’t any harmful rocks or obstructions obscured by the seemingly tranquil waters, never swim alone, and don’t put yourself in harm’s way for the thrill.