8 Maine Swimming Holes to Cool off in this Summer
When the heat and humidity starts to get to you, take the plunge into one (or all) of these Vacationland swimming spots.
Proudly stamped on Maine’s license plates since 1936, the nickname “Vacationland” evokes images of heavenly summer days spent canoeing across a lake, camping deep in the woods, or relaxing and reading a book on the beach. However, when summer days turn from idyllic to oppressive with heat and humidity, you’ll want to find these swimming holes to cool off.
BOOTH QUARRY | VINALHAVEN
A former granite quarry filled with fresh water that reaches 50-foot depths in some sections, Booth Quarry is a favorite among Vinalhaven locals and island visitors during the height of summer. Brace for a shockingly refreshing plunge, then warm back up by sunning yourself on the wellworn granite ledges—just remember to reapply sunscreen.
CLARK ISLAND QUARRY | SAINT GEORGE
Tucked into the southeast corner of Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s 124-acre Clark Island Preserve, this former granite quarry is a sought after swimming spot due to its cool, clear waters and proximity to well kept trails. Make the short walk over the causeway from the Craignair Inn and wander along the 1.8-mile loop to the quarry, catching glimpses of the ocean on the way.
COOS CANYON | BYRON
A smooth quartzite and schist gorge carved out by the Swift River, Coos Canyon is notable for its clear waters, multiple waterfalls, and the chance that you might find a few flakes of gold while you swim! Buy or rent panning equipment from Coos Canyon Rock and Gift across the street if you want to try your luck, or just float along and let your worries melt away with the current.
GULF HAGAS | GREENVILLE
Referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Maine,” the three-mile-long gorge of Gulf Hagas is popular among hikers, swimmers, and expert whitewater kayakers. When exploring this breathtaking stretch of the Pleasant River in the North Maine Woods, be sure to take a dip in the deep pool under Screw Auger Falls, a striking 15-foot waterfall surrounded by natural slate walls.
LEDGE FALLS | MEDWAY
Located on the western edge of Baxter State Park, Ledge Falls is especially popular among visitors with children due to natural granite waterslides cascading from pool to pool. Level up your experience by bringing an inner tube to float in while you cool off after a long day of hiking.
RATTLESNAKE POOL | OXFORD
Marked by striking emerald-colored water and a small waterfall, Rattlesnake Pool is accessed by an easy one-mile hike on the Stonehouse Trail near the New Hampshire border. The water is remarkably clear, and deep enough in a few spots for practicing cannonballs.
THE TUBS | STRATTON
A series of cascading natural pools roughly the shape and depth of several bathtubs, the aptly named Tubs serve as a welcome respite for backpackers and day hikers trekking through Bigelow Preserve in Stratton. Located just off the Appalachian Trail near the Little Bigelow lean-to campsites, the Tubs vary in size, so you can either take a solo dip in one of the smallest pools or swim with friends in one the size of a hot tub.
TUMBLEDOWN POND | FRANKLIN COUNTY
Work up a sweat hiking to this alpine pond at the top of Tumbledown Mountain near Mount Blue State Park. The quickest route up is the 1.8-mile Brook Trail, which deposits you directly onto the banks of the pond, from which you can look out across the western mountains while you swim.
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