As an avid outdoor enthusiast, I try to plan my summer wisely. One of my favorite activities during the summer is to visit as many local swimming holes as possible. Although New York is not part of New England, I always find a weekend in during the summer to take a road trip to upstate New York to visit some of my favorite watering chasms. Here is a list of the top three New York swimming holes for the 2012 summer season.
Although it doesn't happen very often, sometimes when I visit a new swimming hole, I get disappointed. There are varying reasons. Sometime I feel the swimming gap doesn't live up to the hype I've read or heard about. Other times, the are is so over produced or man made that it lacks the feeling of an actual swimming hole. Black Hole is not one of these places. In fact, I consider Black Hole to match my personal definition of what a swimming hole should be. It's not too large, just enough room for a small crowd. It has a few rocks to jump from, and a rope swing. There is not much room for sunbathing or swimming. It's a hole. It's filled with water. And you jump in it and then get out. Perfection.
About an hour north of Black Hole is Bouquet Bridge. This area slightly reminds me of a swimming scene in New Hampshire along the Amoonosuc River. The swimming hole is located right of the road, and very easy to gain access. Although the location is slightly too public for my usual comfort, I've never been bothered by traffic in the area. Once you're down in the gorge area, you forget how close you are to traffic. The Bouquet Bridge offers a lot of the same adventures that many swimming holes offer, such as rock outcroppings and deep spots to explore. But what makes this domain stand out is the rustic camping spots not too far from the Bouquet Bridge. It is a nice place to have an impromptu dinner by a campfire.
The greatest adventure one can take during the summer season is a trip to Bluff Island. Located on Saranac Lake, Bluff Island is a 75 foot face of granite that rises from the popular lake. Although I tend to hate swimming pits that are part of a lake or called a beach, Bluff Island is an exception. The area provides beautiful views and plenty of room for families to explore the area. Great for people who like the risk of jumping from heights, but also for visitors who enjoy wading around in the water. If there were only one swimming hole in New York that you were going to visit this season, make it Bluff Island.
There are several more beautiful swimming holes in New York. Far more than can be described in this article. Upstate New York is a scenic and wonderful area to explore during the summer, and these swimming holes offer free swimming for the entire family. As always, be safe and swim with a buddy or partner. And please, treat nature with respect.
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Ryan Drew is a life long hiking and swimming hole enthusiast. You can follow Ryan Drew on Twitter@OhThatDrew.