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UPDATED JUL 14, 2020

As much as we love Lake Erie, sometimes it can be a little crowded. Luckily, northern Ohio is a treasure trove of hidden rivers, creeks, and lakes you can jump right into… if you know where to go. So skip Lake Erie and make your way to these swimming holes for your next adventure.




When it’s a million degrees in downtown Cleveland and FWD’s pool is packed, head to Squaw Rock in the South Chagrin Reservation for a dip. The name ‘Squaw’ comes from the large sculpture engraved on a rock beside the Chagrin River. And since 1885, it’s been a landmark for swimmers and hikers to find the refreshing swimming hole. Jump in to cool off while discovering the falls and grottos in the area.

If you’re looking to spend the entire day in in the sun swimming, biking, and sunbathing look no further than Nelson Ledges Quarry Park! This park is filled with activities that will make you put that cell phone away and live it up in the outdoors! Sure, you can go swimming in the quarry but you can also snorkel, cliff dive, and scuba dive! FYI: the park charges a small fee for beach access, but it’s totally worth it.

On the outskirts of Cleveland in Newbury, OH., you will find a 150-acre lake in Punderson State Park that will ultimately become your new secret getaway. Although this park is known for its winter sports, the swimming area does not go unnoticed. We mean, really, they have a 600-foot beach (that’s free!) for catching a few rays before you splash around. If that’s not enough, rent a boat and head out onto Punderson Lake to feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your cheeks.

Why swim down the Mohican River when you can sit back and tube down instead!? Meet Mohican Adventures upstream in Loudonville and take the 4-5 hour trip down in the warm sun and freshwater tied to your friends! But if you rather have more action in your day you can always kayak, go canoeing, or group rafting. There’s so much to do here, you might want to rent one of their cabins to take full advantage.

This 20-foot waterfall is the showstopper of its town and is your next scenic swimming spot. Walk down the stairs past the falls and you’ll find the path that will lead you to the fishing area and swimming hole. This oasis is 10-15ft deep, so jump on in! Well, maybe not jump. The Chagrin Falls PD frowns upon it.

After one look at Dundee Falls, you’re going to pinch yourself to see if this secret spot is actually real. Hidden within the Beach City Wildlife Area of Tuscarawas County, the statuesque falls and a swimming hole call to you. Park by ODNR Beach City WIldlife Area and follow the dirt trails to find this hidden treasure.

Swimming under cliffs and wading through freshwater might not be your average beach day, but it certainly can be at Gatton Rocks swimming hole in Bellville, OH. Leave your belongings on the grass beach as you explore the deep pools and shallow areas of Clear Fork River. Turn on Gatton Rocks Rd. (shocker) and the swimming hole is less than a mile away.

Sure, taking a dip in earthy swimming pools is thrilling. But try cooling off surrounded by a 65-foot waterfall. Brandywine Falls stands tall in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And although there is a boardwalk to catch a better glimpse of the falls, hopping off the wooden trail and hiking down toward the water is what you really need.

A word of caution: Rocks are hard and can hurt you. Please be extra careful out there!

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