By Joe Hebert
01 Lawson’s Quarry
This abandoned quarry turned swimming hole, located just north of the village, is the perfect place to cool off after a day of island exploration. The speckled granite, used to build iconic structures such as the Brooklyn Bridge, makes for great diving ledges and seats for dipping dangled toes.
02 Slide Dam
Baxter State Park
Arguably the first eco-tourist, Henry David Thoreau, paddled the length of Moosehead Lake in the mid-nineteenth century. Blanketed in pine and surrounded by mountains, it remains to this day “the wildest country” Thoreau wrote about. Bring along a copy of The Maine Woods and reflect on his words as you float in the crystal-clear waters, hike a stretch of the Appalachian Trail, or warm your hands by a campfire.
03 Spring Farm
Easily the biggest and deepest swimming hole in the valley, you can see it from the road—look for the “Spring Farm” sign and the well-traveled trail located just south of Valley Crossing. Dive in, and touch the bottom if you can.
04 Frenchman’s Hole
For an unspoiled stretch of clear mountain waters, follow Sunday River Road until the smooth pavement turns to dirt and stone. Slide in at the far end beneath creeping ferns or jump off the cliff into the churn of the falls. On summer weekends, a line of impatient kids traces the ridge’s edge as they wait their turn to take a plunge.
05 Spurwink River
Walk the wide, soft sands of Higgins Beach to the tidal stretch of the Spurwink River. The current here is strong but safe, perfect for a buoyant ride down to the surf. You can also access the river by an overpass on Spurwink Road for a quick pit-stop dip.
06 Woolen Mill Hole
On hot afternoons, follow the path from the bridge on Salem Road and spread your towels by the river. Named for the spot along Sandy River where the Phillips Woolen Mill once stood, this swimming hole boasts invigorating waters and boulders frequently used for leaping.