Just because Labor Day weekend is over, it doesn’t mean summer has to stop! In the Southeast the higher temperatures continue. While it may not be in the 90’s anymore, the upper 80’s is still a great reason to get out and enjoy your local swimming holes before the season is completely over. Whether you enjoy some time by a stream or river or jump in the frigid waters for a refreshing dip, we've compiled a couple of options for your next adventure. Pack along your car camping gear or load the van for a day trip not to be forgotten!
1) Skinny Dip Falls, NC
Looking for some crystal-clear mountain water? Veer off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 417 and hike in a quick 1/2 mile to view this beauty. If you are headed up after Labor Day, you may be lucky and have some room to yourself. This is usually a busy location so hop along the falls to find a good place to relax. You can easily see through the clear water and find a place to jump in. Despite the name Skinny Dip, it is advised you leave your clothing on out of respect for the other hikers!
Photo by Katie Cahn
With only a quick and easy ½ mile hike to the falls, pack along your Blue Ridge Chair to enjoy the area comfortably. This portable camp chair comes with an adjustable shoulder strap to make the trip easy!
2) Tallulah Falls, GA
Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. With a plethora of hiking trails, the gorge floor at the base of the falls is a beautiful place to enjoy the day. Perfect for a summer day as well as a fall excursion as the trees put on in a show in this area come October.
TIP: Free permits are required to access the gorge floor and can be obtained at the Interpretive Center on the day of your visit. Visitors must wear proper footwear—no flip-flops or Crocs. Permits will not be issued after 4 p.m. (3 p.m. during daylight savings time). More info: https://gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge
3) Fall Creek Falls State Park, TN
As the name suggests, Fall Creek Falls State Park is packed with swimming holes, gorgeous camping spots and plenty of hikes and waterfalls to enjoy. With over 56 miles of hiking to enjoy and 222 campsites available you will have plenty of options during your stay. Enjoy the Cascade Waterfall swimming area which is perfect for the whole family with options to wade in the shallow water, jump from a cliff or simply float around the area! Other waterfalls within the park include Piney Creek Falls, Cane Creek Falls and Cane Creek Cascades.
Camping in Falls Creek Falls is a great option, so you can enjoy the park in the early mornings or in the evenings without all the crowds. Car-camping is a great alternative to backpacking, so you can bring along that camping chair, an extra pillow and of course, more food! Bring along the Backpack Chair and the Parkway Picnic Roll Top Table for an easy set up.
4) Turtleback Falls, NC
Looking for more of a thrill? Look no further than Turtleback Falls in Brevard in Pisgah National Forest. The hike is roughly 3.5 miles roundtrip complete with a natural ‘slide’ into a large swimming hole. This is a great spot to end the summer as this can be a very crowded destination in June or July. Stop by Rainbow Falls on the way up to enjoy the 150-foot wonder.
Take extra caution as this whole area is extremely slippery which can make the trek dangerous. Make sure to check in with the state park rangers before you start to make sure water levels are suitable.
5) Riley Moore Falls, SC
We all know the Southeast can get hot, humid sticky kind of hot. Riley Moore Falls is the perfect spot to cool off from the day with only a mile hike in. The trail starts a way down the forestry road, so keep your eyes open for the Riley Moore Falls sign to the left of the road. Bring day-pack and enjoy the nice sandy beach area once you arrive.
Remember to always go with a group and watch out for slippery rocks around any swimming hole. Enjoy the day!