Grab your swimsuit and some eco-friendly sunscreen — it’s time to explore the outdoors. The heat has arrived in the U.S., and that means swimming. Rather than splashing around in fossil-fuel-heated public pools, take your summer entertainment outdoors and relish in natural swimming holes complete with spectacular scenery. Here are six you need to visit this year:
Homestead Crater – Midway, Utah
Walking through the Homestead property in Utah, you will see what looks like a big, old rock littering the horizon. As you get closer, you’ll find a hole smack-dab in the middle of this rock, like a beehive. Look down to see a crystal-clear pool calling your name. This natural swimming hole is known as the Homestead Crater. The caldera is 10,000 years in the making and contains extremely unique and impressive geologic features. Plus, scuba aficionados will enjoy this extraordinary warm-water diving destination — the only one in the continental U.S.
Hamilton Pool – Dripping Springs, Texas
Thousands of years ago, the dome of an underground river collapsed to form a small, picturesque cave complete with a brilliant jade pool beneath a gushing waterfall. Thanks, geology. This area is now known as Hamilton Pool, just west of Austin, Texas. The ecology around Hamilton Pool is astonishing — stalactites tower over mosses and ferns galore, endangered golden-cheeked warblers find peace, and orchids thrive in the wet environment. A plot of more than 200 acres of natural habitat is preserved here. Talk about swimming in nature!
Oneonta Falls – Oneonta Gorge, Oregon
Don’t plan on bringing your beach bag to this swim spot. Lower Oneonta Falls is preserved as a natural habitat, so there are no footpaths to follow. How do you get to this botanical beauty? You swim! Swim — or wade — your way from Oneonta Creek’s outlet to its incredible waterfall to bask in…