Beat the heat with these 6 swimming holes in WV

As summer adventure heats up, you’ll likely be looking for ways to cool off. Fortunately, Almost Heaven has the best swimming spots around. With an abundance of both mountains and rivers, the state is a prime location for picturesque swimming holes that look like they belong on a postcard. From bustling state parks to more remote waterfalls and sparkling emerald waters, the Mountain State has a plethora of natural swimming spots to choose from–the only problem you’ll have is deciding where to go first.

Glade Creek waterfall, West Virginia

Glade Creek

Nicholas County, WV

You may hear a lot about the hiking trails surrounding Glade Creek, but the swimming holes there are top-notch, too. After a long day of hiking through the expansive New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, Glade Creek is close by, offering a retreat from the heat. Not to mention, it’s quite a photo-worthy option for relaxing at the end of the day. The best part of all? Listening to the sound of waterfalls in the background.

Audra State Park

Barbour County, WV

Audra State Park has several excellent spots for a refreshing swim. However, according to the locals, the best location is underneath the bridge just below the rapid. There is also a main swimming hole if you’re looking for company— Audra is popular with local college students and campers working on their tans.

Waterfall at Shupe's Chute, West Virginia

Shupe’s Chute

Webster County, WV

Shupe’s Chute is exactly what you would expect an east coast waterfall-and-swimming-hole combo to look like. These wooded, rocky cliffs give way to a turquoise-hued, deep swimming hole that you’ll never want to leave. If you find yourself wanting a break from swimming, you’ve got the entire 8,000-acre Holly River State Park to explore, with more than 42 miles of hiking trails, plus camping or cabins if you want to take a little more time to venture out.

Potomac River, West Virginia

Seneca Rocks

Pendleton County, WV

You don’t have to worry about any falls or rapids here. If you came in search of a swimming hole so still that it looks like glass, this is the place to be. While Seneca Rocks is better known as a rock climbing destination, its location along the Seneca Creek tributary of the North Fork South Branch Potomac River makes it wonderful for swimming, too.

For a different kind of adrenaline rush, check out the local via Ferrata, complete with a suspension bridge— as long as you’re not afraid of heights!

State Parks in WV

Babcock State Park’s Glade Creek

Fayette County, WV

The picturesque swimming hole and mini-waterfall is nestled next to the iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill. So, while you’re taking photos of the mill for your Instagram, you’ll stay as cool as can be. After splashing around and taking pictures, be sure to grab some freshly ground cornmeal.

local secrets

Wonder Falls

Preston County, WV

Wonder Falls is a 15-foot cascade into Big Sandy Creek below, and one of the most impressive waterfalls in West Virginia. It’s fairly remote, so you’ll likely need an SUV or a truck- plus a short hike along the creekbed- to get there from the nearby town of Bruceton Mills. You’ll soon find that it is well worth the trip and not all that hard to spot. Once you’ve spent some time splashing around the pool, Wonder Falls has a shady beach at the bottom to spread out a towel and relax the day away.

Which of these swimming spots will be your go-to for a summer in Almost Heaven? Get caught up with this year’s best summer adventures with a free copy of the 2021 Vacation Guide.

This post was last updated on February 23, 2022