If you’d rather spend your summer months hanging out with Mother Nature than your air-conditioning unit, visiting the country’s state parks is a must. From hiking to camping to a wealth of events and learning opportunities, state parks offer tons of fun at a low cost. You’ll undoubtedly work up a sweat exploring, though, and thankfully many parks offer wonderful watering holes to take a dip and cool down. Below are just a sampling of some of the best state parks in the country for swimming.

Carlon Falls, Yosemite National Park, CA

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Taking a dip in Carlon Falls is a wonderful reward for completing the hike it takes to get there. The hike itself is approximately four miles roundtrip, but the terrain is mild enough for inexperienced trekkers. If that distance seems too long, you’ll also pass other swimming and picnicking areas on your journey. The area can get crowded during peak summer months, so don’t expect to take a secluded dip.

Amnicon Falls State Park, Superior, WI

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Home to multiple waterfalls perfect for cooling off on a hot day, Amnicon Falls State Park is aptly named. You can choose between the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls, which are also home to the picturesque Covered Horton Bridge, a favorite subject for photographers. Or if neither of those waterfalls strike your fancy, you can also take a dip in Snake Pit Falls or the seasonally available Now and Then Falls.

Robert H. Treman State Park, NY

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Lucifer Falls in Robert H. Tremen State Park is perfect for families who love the great outdoors. This well-known destination offers the presence of a lifeguard to give parents a level of safety not offered at all swimming holes. There’s also a diving board for the more adventurous. And if Lucifer Falls are too crowded, the park boasts twelve other waterfalls to try out.

Tallulah Gorge State Park, GA


Tallulah Gorge is only two miles long, but it’s almost one thousand feet deep. There are almost nine miles of hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty for you to work up a sweat. But you’ll need a free permit to access the gorge floor and take advantage of the “sliding rocks,” a natural waterslide, that empties into a blue-green pool. The number is limited and often runs out early in the day, so make sure to plan accordingly.