The dog days of summer are upon us. Even with a higher elevation and a fresh mountain breeze, the days can get steamy in the White Mountains. To combat the heat and the humidity, take a dip in one of the many swimming holes in the western White Mountains.
PC: Lady's Bath in Lincoln, NH by See / Swim
A longtime local favorite, Lady’s Bathtub can be accessed from the Riverfront Condominium on West Branch Road. The popular swimming hole is a natural swimming area in the east branch of the Pemigewasset River in the village of Lincoln. The water is generally quiet, and there’s even a small sandy beach making Lady’s Bathtub an excellent spot for young kids. Bring an inner tube and float down the river while relaxing in the sun. It’s important to note there is no lifeguard on duty so if you bring your children; it’s critical to keep an eye on them.
Located in North Woodstock, Crystal Park is beside the town visitor’s center and across from the Cascade Lodge. Follow the brick pathway down to the popular Cascade Falls where there are tons of smooth rocks and cascading water on Pemi Brook.
Cascade Falls is another local favorite and you’ll often spot families and kids playing in the cool water after dinner at the Woodstock Inn and Brewery. Many kids will bring inner tubes and use the smooth rocks as slides and chutes for even more fun.
Georgiana Falls is a little-known hiking and swimming hole near Hanson Farm Road in Lincoln. The hike is a relatively easy dirt 1.6-mile out-and-back path. Once you’ve reached the 30-foot waterfall, you’ll be rewarded with a cool little swimming hole at the base of the falls. While the water might not be deep enough to take a proper swim in the middle of the summer, the cool rushing water is perfect for dipping your feet in after a little hike. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenic views.
PC: Franconia Falls by New England Waterfalls
Located three miles from civilization, Franconia Falls is well worth the relatively easy hike. Perfect for families with active children, Franconia Falls offers two natural waterslides that will yield lots of laughs and scream of joy from children or all ages, including adults. The best slide is located near the base of the falls and is approximately 20 feet in length. Just place your bottom in the chute, give yourself a little push, and you’ll splash into a seven-foot-deep pool after a whirlwind slide through the smooth rock. It’s important to note that when the water is too high, the conditions can be unsafe, so take a moment to check the turbulence in the pool below the falls. The safest swimming hole is about 400 feet upstream of the main falls. It’s a deep pool with generally quiet water.
PC: The Basin by New England Waterfalls
Located in Franconia Notch State Park, The Basin is a large pothole in the Pemigewasset River measuring 30 feet wide and 15 feet deep. Formed over 25,000 years ago during the last Ice Age by melting glaciers, Henry David Thoreau once stood watching the water cascade into the pool in 1839. Today you can access the swimming hole by a short hike. The water is always clear and refreshing on a hot summer day.
Kayaking the Pemi
PC: Kayaking on the Pemi by Boston Kayaker
The Pemigewasset River, named from the Abenaki word for “where side (entering) current is,” is a 65 miles river that runs from Profile Lake in Franconia Notch through Lincoln until it joins the Winnipesaukee River in Franklin. The Pemi as it is locally called has many swimming holes amongst its two branches, like Lady’s Bathtub, but you can often experience the cool water in other spots along the river by kayak or canoe. If you don’t have your own kayak or canoe, you can rent or take a tour with Art’s Outdoor Outfitters or Outback Kayak.
RiverWalk Resort Swimming Pools
Of course, you can’t miss the famous RiverWalk Resort pools. The Resort is home to two pools and two hot tubs. The smaller upper deck pool starts inside the Resort and continues outside where you can find the hot tub at the end. The lower pool is a large lagoon style pool that turns into an ice skating rink in the winter. Both pools are heated year-round, so if the Pemi is too cold for a swim, then the pool is the perfect place to cool off.
With a variety of swimming spots in the greater Lincoln area, you’ll easily find the perfect swimming hole or pool to take a dip and cool off on a hot summer day.