It’s a little-known fact that the state of Georgia—and especially along its wooded northern stretches—is home to several breathtaking, wonderful natural swimming holes! These areas are often family-friendly and free, accessible by short jaunts through nature or into some of Georgia’s most historic locales—and best of all, they provide unforgettable experiences everyone can enjoy!
Whether you’re looking to dive into a classic swimming experience or to splash around in both hot springs and history, there are plenty of natural swimming holes in Georgia to visit! Let’s take a look at them!
Best Natural Swimming Holes in Northern Georgia
You’ll find the greatest collection of natural swimming holes are found in northern Georgia. Check out this extensive list of beautiful locations to go swimming!
High Shoals Falls
Located just a short drive from the border with Tennessee in the Hiawassee area and down a nearly 2.5-mile round-trip hike that is High Shoals Falls Trail, you’ll find your way to a pair of stunning waterfalls each with their own unique swimming opportunity!
The first is Blue Hole Falls at Pigeon Mountain, a favorite natural swimming area for many! Blue Hole is a smaller area and great for splashing around and taking a swim. With fresh, clear, eye-catching blue waters and a steadily-tumbling waterfall, this is a great place for solo swimmers, small groups, and families to enjoy!
The second falls is High Shoals, a 50-foot waterfall tumbling into an even deeper pool than the one at Blue Hole Falls! This location tends to be a bit more bustling due to its larger size. Both of these natural pools are a perfect place to cool off during your visit to Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in Hiawassee, GA!
Edge of the World Amicalola Falls
In Dawsonville, GA, you’ll find a fantastic spot with hiking trails, ruins, and swimming opportunities galore! The Amicalola River offers great opportunities to canoe, raft, and of course, to swim near the falls at its end! Located at the end of the 3-mile trail is the “Edge of the World” area, where you can swim, climb the elevated creek, bask in the sun, and enjoy a chance to cool off from the southern summer heat! (Note: A $5 charge is required to hike, fish, and swim at Edge of the World.)
Dick’s Creek Falls
Climb, explore, and relax in the 3 levels of Dick’s Creek Falls in Clayton, Georgia! Just a short walking distance from the parking lot, you’ll find natural rock slides, multiple creek tiers to soak and swim in, and plenty of fun in the sun—all at the base of the 60-foot falls roaring into the Chattooga River! A great place for the whole family to wade, soak, and relax!
Helton Creek Falls
Located just off of Highway 129 in Blairsville, GA, at the end of a short .3-mile walk down Helton Creek Trail, Helton Creek Falls is a free-of-charge, spectacular, and mesmerizing location made of twin falls churning down into a beautiful lagoon that visitors are welcome to wade and swim in! (Note: The rocks around the waterfalls are extremely slippery, so exercise great caution when walking/climbing in this area.)
Panther Creek Falls
Halfway down the winding, scenic 7-mile Panther Creek trail in Turnerville, GA, you’ll find the beautiful Panther Creek Falls! A fantastic swimming location, the pool at the base of the falls is low on water-spray from the falls themselves and boasts a sandy beach for picnicking, sunning after your swim, or relaxing while family and friends take their time swimming to and from the beautiful falls. This is a gorgeous and rewarding hiking and swimming experience all around! (Note: A $4 charge is required to access Panther Creek Falls. It’s recommended to allow 1.5 hours to hike out to the falls and 2 hours to hike back.)
Tallulah Falls at Tallulah Gorge
This stunning swimming experience allows the one and only chance to swim in the famous Tallulah Gorge at Tallulah Gorge State Park! The first 100 visitors of the day (permits required, which can be obtained on-site) can follow the natural rock slide or paths from the suspension bridge down to the base of the gorge, where they will experience swimming in the clear pool of water, soaking in the beauty of the falls and gorge, and enjoying the uncrowded sensations of nature at its very finest! (Note: A $5 charge is required to enter this state park)
Raven Cliff Falls
Take the family on a moderately-challenging hike to Raven Cliff Falls near Helen, Georgia, and dip your toes in the stream that runs from Raven Cliff Falls! While the falls themselves can be a bit treacherous for playing in, you can take a swim below one of the three steep drops further away from the falls themselves, and cool off after the longer trail hike up to the falls. A great place for the whole family to enjoy!
Dukes Creek Falls
Another great location near Helen, Georgia, Dukes Creek Falls sports a stunning waterfall at the end of a two-mile out-and-back hike, and a fantastic swimming hole about halfway along the trail. Most visitors recommend hiking all the way out to the falls and then stopping for a swim on your way back! As an added bonus that makes Dukes Creek Falls one of the most popular natural swimming holes in Georgia, this location is both human and dog-friendly, making it a great stop for the whole family—including your four-legged members!
Jack’s River Falls
Perhaps the least well-known swimming hole on our list, Jack’s River Falls lies back in the reaches of the Cohutta Wilderness, and it takes a bit of hiking to get there! But once you do, you’ll find yourself absolutely enraptured with this unique, gorgeous, rarely-visited location. The nine-mile trail through the wilderness begins in Tennessee, crosses the Georgia border, and ends in one of the most remarkable waterfalls boasted in northern Georgia, splitting around tall rocks and cascading into a deep pool that’s absolutely perfect for swimming, floating, and just relaxing in after the long hike to reach it. You won’t regret the effort it takes to reach this natural swimming hole!
Best Natural Swimming Holes in Central Georgia
Historically known for its mineral-rich hot springs, Central Georgia still boasts several locations where you can encounter these healing waters both up close and from afar. Read on to find out what natural springs in Georgia look like today, as well as more recommendations for natural swimming holes in Georgia!
While you may not be able to go full-immersion swimming in these natural springs in Georgia anymore except on very rare special occasions, Warm Springs—which was made famous by former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt—is a worldwide attraction thanks to its warm waters and rich history.
These mineral-rich spring waters have been lauded historically for their curative properties, and though most of the pools have been drained now for preservation purposes, those visiting Warm Springs’ Historic Pools Museum can witness water bubbling up from one pool’s basin and dunk their arms, legs, and heads in—or even drink the naturally-blue water! This is a great place to visit for a dose of history as well as to experience the balmy 88-degree waters that helped put Warm Springs on the map!
A prominent tributary of the Chattahoochee River, the more than 11 miles of Sope Creek are altogether a great place for wading, playing, and a bit of swimming! As you hike to and along the creek, you’ll also find plenty of stunning mill ruins to admire. This is a wonderful location to get a scope of some of Georgia’s great history as well as to cool off and take a soak after a long, hot hike on a sunny day!
This spring, one of the few natural springs in Georgia, is contained in an unmaintained concrete pool and bubbles up from loose soil in the low ground. Discharging 83 gallons of water per minute, with a water temperature between 75-78 degrees Fahrenheit from depths to surface, this spring has historically been a great place to enjoy a lovely, warm soak! (Note: While it’s free to visit this spring, it’s an unmanaged location, so you will be swimming at your own risk. It may also be closed at times as weather demands.)
This warm, swampy spring is located in Molana, Georgia; its heat source comes from the middle of the spring and is fed by a small stream. A worn, wooden bathing structure still exists on sight from its most historical days! Named for the sound made by the gas bubbles rupturing within the spring, this is a fun and unique place to visit and take a swim in one of the three natural springs in Georgia on our list!
Located near Whitesburg, GA, Banning Mills is a fantastic place for some aquatic relaxation! Surrounded by countless acres of mid-Georgia woodland, the Banning Mills area is a great location to soak up the beauty of nature while you take a dip in the creek winding throughout this sprawling acreage. It’s a wonderful opportunity to cool down and bask in the thrill of a peaceful soak after hiking, zip-lining, or enjoying any of the other numerous activities the Banning Mills area has to offer!
Located in Sweetwater Creek State Park roughly 15 minutes from downtown Atlanta, this creek boasts a fantastic natural swimming spot that’s the perfect depth for a good dip, as well as fun for kiddos to play in! Along the way to the creek, you can stop and observe the awe-inspiring ruins that make this state park a favorite spot for visitors all over Georgia and beyond. (Note: The creek does have some rapids, so it’s important to always watch the water level and be mindful of its intensity for the safety of yourself and your family.)
Relive the best parts of summertime as a kid in Mill Creek near Woodstock, Georgia! This natural swimming hole has all the little details to evoke childhood memories or make new ones, from thick, shaded foliage to deep waters that meander and rush here and there—and even a rope swing you can use to leap out into the cool, refreshing water! Mill Creek is more than just a natural swimming area, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss!
Wrapping Up Natural Swimming Holes in Georgia
We sure hope this guide to the best natural swimming holes in Georgia helps you find the most perfect swimming and water-recreation adventure to indulge in! Which Georgia swimming experience are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments below!
Looking for places to camp in Georgia? Check out these recommendations!
- About the Author
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Renee Dugan is a lifelong writer, professional editor, and lover of the great outdoors.
A Midwest girl born and raised, Renee has always enjoyed the deep, life-giving inspiration that connection with nature brings.
In addition to channeling the awe of outdoor life into her prolific novel-writing career, she currently enjoys sharing it with her son and spreading knowledge of safe, fun outdoor life with Beyond the Tent readers and anyone she can help face-to-face.
Renee can be reached at email@example.com