It’s no secret that the Georgia heat is a beast in the summer – you can barely step outside without dripping in sweat. So what’s a person to do when it’s time to cool off? Head to one of the state’s hundreds of swimming holes, of course.

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Tallulah Gorge, a two-mile gash in the middle of Northern Georgia’s rugged terrain, drops nearly 1000 feet to the canyon floor below. Inside and throughout visitors are treated with gorgeous views of rushing waterfalls and towering trees. While you probably don’t want to get too close to the roaring Tallulah Falls, most of the Tallulah River is calm and serene. It’s the perfect destination for a day of swimming and hiking, and arguably one of the most beautiful and pristine parks in the state.

Blue Hole Falls/High Shoals Falls

The High Shoals Trail is a 2.5-mile hike in the Chattahoochee National Forest that boasts not one, but two great swimming spots. The trail runs alongside both the Blue Hole Falls and the High Shoals Falls, each with their own pros and cons. As you can imagine, they’re incredibly popular spots to swim. High Shoals Falls drops an impressive 50 feet into a pool of water that tends to stay pretty cool during the summer. Blue Hole Falls is arguably the better option for swimmers, with depths up to 10 feet to play around in.

Allatoona Lake

Allatoona Lake

Allatoona Lake is just a short drive from Atlanta and offers over 270 miles of shoreline across 12,000 acres. Its sheer size means there’s plenty of space to swim no matter how packed it gets during the summer. A portion of the lake lies in Red Top Mountain State Park and it’s here you’ll find one of the state’s best sand beaches. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy, from boating to paddling or even hiking. Allatoona is perfect for a day trip, or you can make it a weekend getaway in one of the numerous rentals along the shores if you can afford it—mansions surround the lake on all sides.

Dicks Creek Falls

Dicks Creek Falls is another Northern Georgia gem but much easier to get to. In fact, the nearest house is only about a hundred yards away. It tends to get jam-packed during the summer months,  though. It’s a great spot for families with small kids, but not for anyone looking for a little peace and quiet. Dicks Creek Falls is separated into three distinct sections: upper, middle, and lower. The middle boasts a sandy shore, the lower sections are more on the shallow end and perfect for small kids, and the upper section above the falls contains the deeper waters. It’s a stunningly beautiful spot that makes for a great, short day-trip.

Unicoi Lake

Unicoi Lake

Unicoi State Park contains one of the prettiest lakes in the state and is a prime spot for swimming on a hot day. Unicoi Lake is nestled in the middle of a sprawling mountain forest that is popular for mountain biking, hiking, and zip lining, among other outdoor pursuits. The waters are calm and remain fairly warm throughout the summer and early spring. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway you’ll be delighted to find that there are numerous barrel cabin rentals scattered across the lake to choose from. They jut right out into the water, making it easy to hop in for a quick splash.

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