As the temperatures continue to rise, people are seeking out getaways to cool down for these remaining summer days. Summer and swimming go hand-in-hand, so escape this intense heat and cool off by taking a dip in one of the many swimming holes, lakes or rivers in the gorgeous Western North Carolina mountains. Whether you prefer to slide, wade or swim, the area is abundant in ways to take a dip that the whole family will enjoy.
Come on In, the Water’s Fine!
The joy of swimming in the North Carolina mountains comes not only from the cool waters but from the scenic beauty that serves as the backdrop to these pools, as well. Take a dip before retreating to your home base at one of Jackson County’s many cozy accommodation options.
Cashiers Sliding Rock: Visitors to this locally loved swimming spot will find a natural ledge where the water flows down into a shallow pool. A family favorite, this is a great place to cool off on a hot summer day. Just remember the rocks are slippery, so keep an eye on the kids.
Panthertown Valley: Grab a map and prepare for a 2.5-mile roundtrip hike that ends at the 18-foot Schoolhouse Falls. The waters here start in Greenland Creek before cascading down into a pool that is perfect for a crisp summer dip.
Lake Glenville: A great spot for swimming, this large lake answers the call for summertime activities and entertainment. Here, you can explore three hidden waterfalls or rent a boat, kayak paddleboard to explore the calm waters. Along 26 miles of shoreline, you’ll also find a swimming area with a sand beach and multiple wheelchair accessible picnic areas. While you’re in the area, check out the picturesque views at Cullowhee Falls. While you can’t wade in this particular pool, the sight is quite spectacular and worth the visit.
Tuckasegee River. This spot in the river is ideal for wading, and the covered picnic shelter is perfect for al fresco dining. Plus, you’ll find a basketball court and a volleyball court for a little friendly competition.
Oconaluftee Islands Park: A great place to spend a summer day, this swimming spot in Cherokee offers the perfect retreat from the heat for all ages. Splash around in the river, enjoy a picnic in the shade, or feed the ducks that share these waters.
While playing in nature’s swimming holes provides hours of summer entertainment, visitors should always keep safety in mind. To avoid any accidents, refrain jumping or diving into the holes. The rocks around swimming holes tend to be slippery, visitors should take steps with caution. Wearing water shoes are a great way to add traction to protect against slipping. Regardless of how well they can swim, children should always be supervised around the swimming holes.
To ensure ultimate safety and the most enjoyable swimming experience possible, visitors should follow all posted rules along trails and in parks and should remain on recognized and marked trails at all times.
When swimming near or around waterfalls, stay wary of currents and moving water. Flowing water from the falls can be strong than you think. Stay away from the edges of the falls and follow all posted signage to ensure a safe and relaxing dip.
Dive Beneath the Surface
Although Jackson County offers many water-filled ways to cool off in summer, dip into more than just water while exploring the area. Covering 494 square miles, come experience the natural beauty that surrounds you. For instance, you can hike some of the many trails that traverse Jackson County’s 185 named summits, more than anywhere else in the state, with a great selection for all skill levels.
Another way to take in the great outdoors is to enjoy a meal outside on one of our restaurant’s patios. In fact, we’ve compiled a full list of patios perfect for outside dining here.
And what’s a great meal without a great beverage? Check out what’s flowing from more than 120 taps along the Jackson County Ale Trail, which features six breweries in three Jackson County communities.
Jackson County couldn’t be more perfect for that last summer weekend getaway. With relaxing accommodations ranging from cozy mountain cabins to popular branded hotels to full-service resorts, you’ll find the perfect spot to call home during your visit. Retreat to your home base to rest up before a day swimming or wading in Jackson County’s many sparkling swimming spots or uncovering all the adventure that the area has to offer. Whether you’re in the mood to try fresh, locally sourced meals or hike to stunning waterfalls, kayak your way down the Tuckasegee River or follow the Blue Ridge Parkway, Jackson County’s roster is full of enough adventure to craft the perfect mountain getaway. To help you start planning, request a free visitor guide today.
Header photo of Schoolhouse Falls by Tom Moors