Best Fresh-Water Swimming Holes in New England

Are you looking to beat the heat or find some adrenaline-infused adventure this summer? If so, head to a refreshing New England swimming spot! Not sure which one? Have no fear! Here is a list of The Pitt Stops’ favorite natural pools from years of venturing off the beaten path…


Mohawk Pond – Litchfield, Ct

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Friends Gathering For a Dip At The Mohawk Pond Glacial Bathing Rock

Pack your cooler, grab your floatation devices and head to Mohawk Pond, one of the most beautiful bathing spots in Connecticut. We have to admit a little bias with this choice as it serves as our backyard swimming pool. Mohawk Pond  is part of a 3,700 acre preserve, and while the summit offers amazing vistas, the pond is the pot of gold. You can either park at the boat ramp and hike the mile-long blue trail to the swimming rock, or, if you have 4WD/AWD capabilities, you can navigate the dirt roads and park for a quarter-mile hike down to the rocks. This MASSIVE glacial rock covers a big chunk of the western edge of the pond and allows for sunbathing, cliff jumping and rope swinging. However, our favorite part is the shallow, submerged rock ledge that allows you to chill out and cool off.

P.S. – Bring your fishing rod!

Lake Willoughby – Westmore, Vt (Don’t forget Burke)

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Earle Taking a Kayak Excursion On Willoughby Lake

Lake Willoughby is hands down one of the most picturesque places in the world. If you make the trek once, you are sure to go AGAIN! Our first recommendation is to climb Mount Pisgah for a bird’s-eye perspective of the lake and a distant view of New Hampshire & Quebec. After your hike, scope out Devil Rock which is about halfway down the east bank. Picture an open ledge with a delightful 25’ swan dive into the cleanest glacial water you’ve ever seen! Lake Willoughby is a glacial lake dating back to the ice age! The lake is 320’ deep, the deepest self-contained lake in Vermont, second only to Champlain in total depth. Picture two huge summits looming over the east & west sides of the lake, appearing as if a diamond encrusted glacier cut through a mountain peak leaving the gift of water in its’ wake! Do yourself a favor & bring or rent a kayak – or any kind of floating vessel for that matter. Heck, stay the weekend over in East Burke and take a dip in the Passumpsic River after a day of biking the Kingdom Trails!  Highly recommended!

Lake Champlain – Burlington, VT

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Red Rocks, Lake Champlain

OK …Lake Champlain is enormous. The lake is 125 miles wide by 14 miles long and dives as low as 400’ deep in some spots. It also spans Vermont, New York & Quebec, but our favorite spots are in and around Burlington, VT. Load the car with lawn furniture and games and head to North Beach, a great spot to relax and soak up the sun while occasionally cooling off in the mellow surf. After excessive relaxation, we suggest taking a hike to the exhilarating cliff jumping spots in the area. The only caveat is that recent rumor suggests access may require evading a security guard, but that is all part of the adventure (done at your own risk, of course)! You can hike the peninsula to a couple of perfect, deepwater jumping zones and/or continue to one of the larger cliffs on the point for an amazing view of the lake. Don’t jump from the big cliffs though, as they are way too dangerous (even for us!). If you are looking for a real deep-water thrill, head to Red Rocks, but bring a local as it’s very hard to find and requires a bit of a hike. The exercise is well worth the effort, however, as this 76’ or “seven-story” drop is sure to put your stomach in your throat…WOOOOHOOO.

New Hampshire’s White Mountains

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Echo Lake, White Mountains, NH

Honestly, we are always overwhelmed by the amount of places ideal for an afternoon cool off in the White Mountains. Try booking a room at the Omni Mount Washington Resort, and don’t forget to bring your mountain bike, golf clubs, fishing gear, climbing gear, ATV, bow and arrow, frisbee golf discs, river tube…just kidding! The hotel supplies rentals and services for all outdoor enthusiasts! Basically, this is an outdoor paradise for athletes and float fanatics alike! If you’re feeling up for the challenge, hike or bike from the hotel to the Ammonoosuc Upper Falls where you can take a  25’ plunge into the swirling waters below. THIS IS NO JOKE, and definitely not for the faint of heart or children…especially unsupervised. Another spot well worth the ride from the Omni is Sawyer Rock in Bartlett. The ride on iconic NH 302 is worth the journey alone! Sawyer Rock swimming hole allows for deep water drops into the Saco River, which looks like the biggest bathtub in the world. The next day, head in the opposite direction to Franconia Falls and take a shot at the natural water slide! Don’t even get us started on the Kancamagus River. If you prefer camping rather than the comforts of a hotel, stay at the Echo Lake Campground where you can enjoy the same outdoor activities, but sleep to the sounds of crickets, frogs, and other wildlife. Get outdoors in New Hampshire this summer!

Bethel, Maine

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Rock-Jumping Ledge at Frenchman’s Hole

Most people, including us, think of Sunday River as a killer downhill winter destination. However, your next trip for summer adventuring should definitely be to the Bethel Maine area. This destination boasts amazing golf courses, like the Sunday River Country Club, and swimming spots like “Frenchmen’s Hole” on the iconic “Sunday River”. Most people don’t even realize the monster ski resort is named after the water source for snow making and summer activities!!!

Get outdoors this summer and remember to take a dip!

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