Are you looking for a little escape out of NYC? Now that the summer temperatures are here to stay, you should consider a trip to one of New York’s swimming holes outside of the city! Finding a good swimming pool or beach near you can be hard to come by, so when you need to cool down, why not hit up a secret swimming spot outside NYC?! We gathered some of our favorite little getaways that you can spend time swimming at, admiring nature, and even taking a little hike. These swimming holes are our best kept secret!
1. Peekamoose Blue Hole (1 hr, 45 mins from NYC)
The Catskill Mountains north of NYC are filled with stunning natural landscapes and bodies of water, and the Peekamoose Blue Hole is just one of the swimming holes you’ll find in the region. Located in the Sundown Wild Forest, this swimming hole has been carved out over time thanks to years of swirling sand and gravel! To get here, it’s about 2.5 hours from the city and requires a short hike once you’re actually on site. We recommend going during the week as well since it’s becoming a really popular swim hole!
2. Canopus Lake (1 hr, 45 mins from NYC)
One swimming spot that’s underrated in our opinion is Canopus Lake, a 1.5 mile long lake located on the 14,086-acre Fahnestock State Park. While we can’t truly put into words how beautiful this lake really is, it’s the perfect getaway for a summer’s day. Not only can you take a dip or hang out on their life-guarded sandy beaches, but we love this park because they allow for so many great summer activities! Bring out your boat, take a hike around the lake, or even relax a while and go fishing. This lake is truly a sweet escape, and you can just about get there with a train out of the city!
3. Vernooy Kill Falls (3 hrs from NYC)
We love Vernooy Kill Falls because it’s the perfect hike/waterfall duo you’ve always been searching for. Located about 3 hours away from NYC in the Vernooy Kill State Forest, it’s definitely worth the drive if you’re in the mood for a picturesque journey through the woods and a cooldown afterwards in a running waterfall. As for the hike, expect a 3.5 mile journey of Cherrytown Mountain with tons of photo ops and a gorgeous view of the bridge that sits at the bottom of the falls. Once you’re done, hop into those very falls and cool off! You can even bring your dogs with you!
4. Kaaterskill Creek & Falls (2 hrs, 45 mins from NYC)
Warning ahead of time: this is one of the busiest swimming holes in the entire state, so keep this in mind when you decide to go! Kaaterskill Creek & Falls is another hike and waterfall combination that is lovely to spend hours at during the summer. This swimming hole and creek is about 2.5 hours north of the city (outside of Hudson, NY) and is another Catskill gem you have to see with your own eyes. The best thing about this spot is there is so much room to go swimming! The 26 mile long creek plus huge waterfall and open hole at the end allows visitors to pick and choose where they want to set up shop for the day!
5. Highlands Natural Pool (1 hr, 45 mins from NYC)
We have to show New Jersey some love in our swimming holes list, and the Highlands Natural Pool in Ringwood is unique in its own way. This Olympic-sized man made swimming hole is located in the woodsy setting of the Norvin Green State Forest, 1 hr 45 minutes away from the city. Spend the day here and enjoy a picnic with friends or family, splash around in the pool, or play some beach volleyball on their courts. They have a bunch of hikes as well to choose from, if you’re looking to break a sweat beforehand. Challenge yourself with a hike ranging from 0.5-5.5 mile trails!
6. Croton Point Park (1/1.5 hours from NYC)
Last but not least is Croton Point Park, a quick 1/1.5 hour journey out of the city, located in Westchester County. This beach is the perfect swimming spot to escape, and also has many grills to cook on, trails to walk, lawns to lay around on, and areas to go boating. We should say that while there is a $10 fee to enter the park, it’s totally worth it, especially if you plan on making a day out of it. Plus, we absolutely love the fact that you can rent kayaks at this park that you can ride in the Croton River!