The following article is a paid collaboration with Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.
If you’re looking for secluded swimming holes surrounded by forests, head to West Virginia.
With an abundance of both mountains and rivers, the state is a prime location for picturesque swimming holes that look like they belong on a postcard. From bustling state parks to more remote waterfalls and sparkling emerald waters, the Mountain State has so many natural swim spots to choose from that the only problem you’ll have is deciding where to go first.
Oh yeah—and remembering sunscreen. Never forget sunscreen.
1. Glade Creek
You’ll usually hear about the hiking trails surrounding Glade Creek, but the swimming there is top notch, too. After a long day of hiking in the New River Gorge NationalPark, Glade Creek is right there, with a photo-worthy option for relaxing at the end of the day. The best part? Listening to the sound of waterfalls in the background. This place is truly hard to beat if you’re looking for solitude.
2. Audra State Park
Audra State Park has several excellent spots for a refreshing swim, but the best location, according to the locals, is underneath the bridge just below the rapid. There is also a main swimming hole if you’re looking for company— Audra is popular with local college students and campers working on their tans.
3. Wonder Falls
Wonder Falls is a 15-foot cascade into Big Sandy Creek below, and one of the most impressive waterfalls in West Virginia. It’s fairly remote and you’ll probably need an SUV or a truck (plus a short hike along the creekbed) to get there from the nearby town of Bruceton Mills, but it is well worth the trip and not all that hard to find. Once you've spent some time splashing around the pool, Wonder Falls has a shady beach at the bottom to spread out a towel and relax the day away.
4. Seneca Rocks
You don’t have to worry about any falls or rapids here. If you came in search of a swimming hole so still that you could swear it was made of actual glass, this is your spot. While Seneca Rocks is better known as a rock climbing destination, its location along the Seneca Creek tributary of the North Fork South Branch Potomac River makes it wonderful for swimming, too.
For a different kind of adrenaline rush, check out the local via ferrata, complete with a suspension bridge— as long as you're not afraid of heights!
5. Babcock State Park’s Glade Creek
The picturesque swimming hole and mini-waterfall is nestled next to the iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill. The mill was completed in 1976, and is still in operation. You can even take home freshly ground cornmeal and buckwheat.
The best time to visit Babcock is on the occasional warm autumn day when the leaves along the falls have changed to vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow.
6. Shupe’s Chute
Shupe’s Chute is exactly what you would expect an east coast waterfall-and-swimming-hole combo to look like. These wooded, rocky cliffs give way to a turquoise-hued, deep swimming hole that you’ll never want to leave. If you find yourself wanting a break from swimming, you’ve got the entire 8,000-acre Holly River State Park to explore, with more than 42 miles of hiking trails, plus camping or cabins if you want to spend the night.
Originally written for West Virginia .