Top Swimming Holes & Spots To Cool Off in New Jersey

Big rocks in lake

It’s almost sweet summertime, and you know what that means swimming! Here are some places you can go swimming this summer in the Garden State. Get out your sunscreen and get outside!

The Beach (and Beachfront Lakes)

No, we’re not going to list the whole shoreline for you (because we’re not going to fight you on what the best beach in New Jersey is). So head to your favorite beach and hit the waves this summer if you want to be comfortable.

But try something new! Some of the best beach swimming spots are state parks and Memorial Day weekend marks the official opening of swim areas in State Parks. Head to Island Beach State Park for a white dune experience on a barrier island.

For a less-traditional beach experience, visit the beach at Cheesequake State Park, exit 120 off the Parkway. Enjoy a beachfront lake in the middle of a unique coastal salt-marsh habitat if you want to get away from the crowded shore!

Spruce Run Reservoir at Spruce Run Recreation Area, Lake Marcia at High Point State Park, and Lake Hopatcong at Hopatcong State Park all offer similar beachfront lake setup but much further away from the coast for those who can’t make it down to the shore for the weekend. Pack a picnic and head to the beach front!

Swimming Holes and Lakes Around New Jersey

The Highlands Natural Pool should be on any swimmer’s bucket list! In Ringwood, daily visitors can swim in the Olympic-sized, fresh-water-fed pool (no chemicals!).

If you’re looking for something more natural, try hiking out to Shepard Lake in Ringwood State Park or around Wayawanda Lake (and then jumping in!) at Wawayanda State Park (see more hike-to-swim ideas from our friends at New York/New Jersey Trail Conference).

Round Valley Recreation Area offers a great reservoir to kayak and cool off, but watch out for the Bermuda triangle.

Down by the River

Turtle Beach at the Delaware Water Gap is a great place to safely swim in the Delaware River, with Turtle Beach off of the Mount Tammany Trail on the New Jersey side (and two more beaches on the Pennsylvania side, if you find yourself there).

Take Your Pup for a Swim

Don’t want to get wet, but your dog does? There are plenty of places around the state that allow dogs. Some of our favorites include the 8th Avenue Dog Beach in Asbury Park, the Longport Dog Beach in Egg Harbor Township, Poplar Avenue Beach in Wildwood, and Stone Harbor Beach. You can see a complete list of dog-friendly beaches in NJ here.

Plenty of water spots in the state allow dogs, so bring a long leash and find a good stick! The base of the Hemlock Falls in South Mountain Reservation in Millburn is perfect for your pup to play a little game of fetch to cool off. Your dog can also dip their toes (or entire body, whatever their style) in Ramapo Lake in Ramapo Mountain State Forest while you’re on a hike.

PRO TIP: DO NOT Swim in Blue Hole

When we polled our audience, quite a few of you said Blue Hole, even though no swimming is allowed (cough cough).

The exclusivity of these places may entice people in (a lot of them are not accessible by road, and you may actually get a citation for visiting them, etc), though maybe you probably shouldn’t swim there. They may be beautiful, but these holes are abandoned quarries, and there may be things in the water you don’t want to swim with (including the New Jersey Devil).

Visit our state parks and forests map for more swimming hole ideas. Visit a waterfall, too (and learn how to take pictures of them) while finding a place to hike. And while you’re out there, check out some lighthouses! Don’t forget to stay out until sunset.


Special thanks to New York/New Jersey Trail Conference for their help with this article! Visit their website for more places to hike (and swim) this summer. 

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