12 Best Connecticut Swimming Holes

Table of Contents

Introduction

Connecticut may be a small state, but it has no shortage of natural beauty. With its rolling hills, pristine forests, and picturesque waterways, Connecticut is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. In this blog post, we’ll be exploring some of the best swimming holes in the state. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly spot to cool off in the summer, a secluded pool to escape the crowds, or a dog-friendly swimming hole, we’ve got you covered.

Why Swim in Connecticut’s Natural Pools?

Swimming in natural pools is not only a great way to cool off during the hot summer months, but it also allows you to connect with nature in a unique way. Swimming holes are often located in scenic areas, with waterfalls, cliffs, and other natural features that provide a breathtaking backdrop for your swim. Additionally, swimming in natural pools is typically free, making it an affordable way to enjoy the outdoors.

Top Swimming Holes in Connecticut

1. Enders Falls

Enders Falls swimming hole in West Granby, Connecticut

Address: 173-117 Barkhamsted Rd, West Granby, Connecticut
Location Directions: HERE

Enders Falls is a popular spot for swimmers and hikers alike. Located in Granby, this swimming hole offers picturesque views and crystal-clear water. The falls are made up of several cascades, and visitors can cool off in the plunge pool below. It should be noted that swimming can be dangerous in some areas, so take caution and check all surroundings.

Parking at Enders State Forest is free. The lot is open year-round. It opens at 8 am and closes at sunset.

2. Wadsworth Falls State Park

Address: 721 Wadsworth St, Middletown, Connecticut
Location Directions: HERE

Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middlefield is home to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Connecticut. There is a wonderful pool at the base of Wadsworth Big Falls, but swimming is not allowed here. Instead, there is a dedicated beach and swimming hole located at the main parking area off Route 157. This swimming area boasts a nice sandy beach, a round swimming hole, pincic areas, and plenty of hiking trails. On nice summer days, it is wise to head to the park early because the 75-car parking area often fills up early in the morning.

Parking fees vary during the summer for visitors to Wadsworth Falls State Park. Parking is always free for Connecticut residents, but a fee is charged for cars without CT plates. The parking fee, as of 2023, is $15 on holidays/weekends and $10 on weekdays. Season passes for non-residents are available.

3. Burr Pond State Park

Burr Pond State Park swimming hole in Torrington, Connecticut
File:BurrPondStatePark1.jpg” by User:Magicpiano is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Address: 384 Burr Mountain Rd, Torrington, Connecticut
Location Directions: HERE

Burr Pond State Park in Torrington is home to a scenic lake and sandy beach. The park offers a variety of recreational activities, including swimming, boating, and fishing. There is a dedicated boat launch area along Burr Mountain Road and a dedicated swimming area at the end of Pond Road. This swimming area has a nice sandy beach that is perfect for swimmers of all skill levels. Additionally, visitors can enjoy additional amenities nearby including a pavilion, charcoal grills, and picnic tables.

Parking fees for Burr Pond State Park vary. There is no charge for Connecticut residents. For visitors with a car without CT license plates, a fee is collected. This fee is $15 on weekends/holidays and $10 on weekdays. A season pass for all CT state parks is available online and it can be purchased by non-residents.

4. Kent Falls State Park

Kent Falls State Park swimming hole in Kent, Connecticut
Kent Falls State Park” by mhaithaca is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Address: 462 Kent Cornwall Rd, Kent, CT 06757
Location Directions: HERE

Kent Falls State Park in Kent is home to one of the most popular waterfalls in Connecticut. Kent Falls is a massive 250-foot waterfall that drops via a wonderful series of plunges, horsetails, and cascades. It is a wonderful waterfall to visit any day of the year but is most popular during the summer.

During the summer, visitors can swim in the plunge pool at the base of the falls, or relax on the surrounding rocks. Getting up close to the falls and being able to cool off in its natural pools is something truly special. The park also offers hiking trails and a picnic area too which are lovely.

As with many other state parks in Connecticut, a fee is collected for non-residents. No fee is charged for CT residents, but non-residents are required to pay to park at a rate of $15 on weekends/holidays and $10 on weekdays.

5. Black Rock State Park

Address: Thomaston Rd (US Route 6), Watertown, Connecticut
Location Directions: HERE

Black Rock State Park in Watertown is home to a beautiful lake and sandy beach. The 439-acre park offers a variety of recreational activities, including swimming, boating, and fishing. Visitors can also enjoy a picnic in the park’s shaded woods.

Black Rock State Park is free to park at for Connecticut residents, but non-resident visitors must pay $15 on weekends/holidays and $10 on weekdays for parking. Parking is charged per car. There are also campsites and cabin rentals available at this state park. Prices range from $17-$60 per night.

6. Cotton Hollow Preserve

Cotton Hollow Preserve swimming hole in South Glastonbury, Connecticut
Roaring Brook in Cotton Hollow Preserve 4-20220506” by Kenneth Cole Schneider is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Address: 493 Hopewell Rd, South Glastonbury, Connecticut
Location Directions: HERE

80 acres of beautiful woodlands make up the Cotton Hollow Preserve, which is crossed by the Roaring Brook. The region had a number of grist mills, sawmills, iron foundries, and cotton mills during the 18th and 19th centuries. Even now, one can clearly see the massive ruins of the cotton mill constructed in 1814. The preserve now offers recreational activities like fishing, hiking, and swimming.

The preserve is home to the Cotton Hollow Cascades. The best swimming hole is located at the pool at the lower falls. This pool is deep, round, and usually pretty clear. On nice summer days, you’re bound to find some locals enjoying this natural pool. Dogs often love splashing around here too!

There is a dedicated parking area for the preserve located just off Hopewell Road in South Glastonbury. Visitors can then hike about a half-mile along Roaring Brook to the swimming hole.

7. Bigelow Hollow State Park

Bigelow Hollow State Park swimming hole in Union, Connecticut
Bigelow Hollow State Park – Fall Road Trip” by MCHLC is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Address: Bigelow Brook, Union, Connecticut
Location Directions: HERE

Bigelow Hollow State Park in Connecticut offers a swimming hole that will undoubtedly become your new haven if floating in a naturally formed body of water while gazing up at the vast blue sky sounds like bliss. Over the years, Mashapaug Pond has gained the name “Blue Hole” due to its amazing features.

You’ll enjoy visiting the more than 9,000 acres of Nipmuck State Forest, which is found in Union and is accessible from Route 171. There are numerous hiking paths that are miles long, which are ideal for getting a sweat on before jumping in. The calm, clear water of the 18-acre pond is perfect for swimming, fishing, boating, and scuba diving. You’re welcome to sit at the end of the short dock and dip your toes, or you can leap off and swim around. If you plan early, this trip can last all day thanks to the seaside picnic tables. Bring drinks and snacks with you for a fun-filled family Saturday afternoon! Or perhaps you’ve been trying to find a peaceful area to write in. It is certain to inspire you to sit here and observe the pond.

Connecticut residents can park at Bigelow Hollow State Park for free. However, a small parking fee is charged for vehicles without CT license plates. The charge is $15 for parking on weekends/holidays and $10 for parking on weekdays.

8. Tartia-Engel Falls

Tartia-Engel Falls swimming hole in East Hampton, Connecticut
Tartia falls” by setter 3 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Address: Tartia Rd, East Hampton, Connecticut
Location Directions: HERE

The cascades of Tartia-Engel Falls’ beginning and end are separated by a number of low-angle horsetails. Depending on how fast the water is running, the top falls alternate between a horsetail and a cascade. Swimming is permitted in the pool below the falls when there is little water flow and the higher falls resemble a gentle horsetail more. Even though there is only enough place for a small number of swimmers in this tiny pool, it is nevertheless one of the best swimming spots in the state.

Visitors can park on the side of Tartia Road and then walk just a few feet to the swimming hole and waterfall.

9. Scantic Rapids

Address: 2010 S Dust House Rd, Enfield, Connecticut
Location Directions: HERE

The Scantic Rapids might be Connecticut’s second-most popular location for watertubing rapids (with the Farmington River being the most popular by far). Although it will be a little bumpy to ride down these rapids on a watertube, YouTube and TikTok are rife with videos of people doing precisely that. Whitewater kayakers also use the river when the water level allows.

Although the falls in this area are relatively modest, as a whole they are beautiful. No cascade rises higher than one to two feet. On the bank of this large river are the remains of a dam, but the falls are entirely natural.

Here, swimming might be unpredictable. Even though the water is probably always going to be on the dark and muddy side, many people still go swimming here.

10. Gay City State Park

Gay City State Park swimming hole in Hebron, Connecticut
Gay City State Park” by kestrana is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Address: 435 North St, Hebron, Connecticut
Location Directions: HERE

Gay City State Park is a state park located in Hebron, Connecticut. It spans over 1,500 acres and features a range of outdoor recreational activities. The park is named after the former town of Gay City, which was a small, thriving community in the 18th and 19th centuries, but was eventually abandoned due to the decline of the mill industry. The park has several miles of hiking trails that wind through the woods and along the banks of the Blackledge River.

There is a good-sized pond right near the parking area and this has become a popular spot for swimming and hanging out on hot summer days. There is a sandy beach to wade into the water and amenities nearby too. Some highlights include the picnic areas, a pavilion, and a playground.  Ultimately, this is one of the greatest swimming holes in Connecticut!

Gay City State Park does collect parking fees during the summer for non-residents. Connecticut residents can park for free, but visitors from other states are charged $15 for weekend/holiday parking and $10 for weekday parking.

11. Knife Shop Falls

Address: Knife Shop Road, Litchfield, Connecticut
Location Directions: HERE

Knife Shop Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in Litchfield, Connecticut. The waterfall is extremely picturesque and popular among photographers. It is also a popular spot for people during the summer months who are looking to beat the heat.

There are three main drops that makeup Knife Shop Falls. The upper falls drop 12 feet, the middle falls drop 15 feet, and the lower falls drop 10 feet. The pools at the bases of the upper and lower falls are best for swimming. It is a relatively unknown swimming hole in Connecticut, but it’s a great one!

12. Cascades along the Westledge Trail

Cascades along the Westledge Trail swimming hole in Hebron, Connecticut
Falls along Westledge Trail. McLean Game Refuge – Western Region – November 21, 2010 – 06” by morrowlong is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Address: 539-561 Firetown Rd, Simsbury, Connecticut
Location Directions: HERE

There are many great waterfall swimming holes in Connecticut and the Cascades along the Westledge Trail offer one of the finest. The waterfall drops about 10 feet into a lovely round pool. This good-sized pool is great for swimming. It looks about 4-5 feet deep and offers some of the clearest water you will find at any waterfall pool.

This waterfall and swimming hole is located in the Humaston Brook State Park and it’s extremely easy to access. Visitors can park along Firetown Road and then walk a few hundred feet to the waterfall. Parking here is free, but it does fill up quickly on nice days.

Conclusion

Connecticut may be a small state, but it’s packed with hidden swimming holes and scenic destinations. Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot to relax or a popular destination to cool off, these swimming holes are sure to impress. So grab your swimsuit and sunscreen, and head out to explore the best swimming natural swimming holes in Connecticut!

Picture of Tom Riley

Tom Riley

Hi! I'm Tom. I am the creator of GoXplr. I started this website with a focus on helping people explore better and explore more. I am based in New England and obsessed with traveling. Here at GoXplr, you will find expert blog posts and also maps containing all of the best places to explore. These blogs and maps have taken thousands of hours to complete. I hope you enjoy this resource and it inspires you to get out and explore!

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