Which swimming holes are better? The one in the White Mountains National Forest, or the swimming holes in Maine. In all honesty, both states contain several beautiful swimming holes. However, Maine seems to edge out New Hampshire just slightly. It may only be because Maine is larger, but there seems to be more swimming holes in Maine than there are in New Hampshire. Regardless, both states swimming holes are a precious commodity to us summer time adventurers who seek outdoor swimming in clear cold water. Although Maine has many popular spots, these swimming holes remain my absolute favorite.
1. Frenchman’s Hole
Frenchman’s Hole is a small and very secluded near Sunday River Ski area in Maine. It actually took me a few years to find this specific swimming hole. It’s very hard to find. It’s located deep in the woods off a dirt road. Many times I took trips out there just to end up turning around because I swore I was on the wrong track. However, the dirt road does eventually lead to Frenchman’s Hole. The area is very quiet and the only people you’re going to run into here are locals. The day I found Frenchman’s Hole was a late September afternoon, and there was a mother there with her kids. For those of you unable to swim, stick to the lower stream, as Frenchman’s Hole is very slippery and is basically, just a hole in the river. No edges to really hang out on.
2. Coos Canyon
Another one of my favorite swimming holes in Maine is called Coos Canyon. Located near Byron on rte 17, Coos Canyon is a well-known swimming hole. If you don’t like crowds, stay away, especially on weekends. This place can get over crowded and quick. However, if you come during late summer, the crowds are not nearly as bad. Coos Canyon is good for lounging. The steep rock ledges give you a feeling of seclusion, despite the canyon being mere feet from a major roadway. The water is very cold, but clear. There are a few spots for jumping. But mostly, this is a place to relax on rocks and explore crevasses. This swimming hole will be more enjoyable and appreciated by adults than children.
3. The Ledges
Talk about a natural wonder. The Ledges in Baxter State Park is like a water park. It has several water chutes and slides. Some that can slide as long as 75 ft. Children will fall in love with this place. The water is freezing, as you would expect from a place in northern Maine. Be sure to bring your water tubes and snorkel. This place has something for everybody. The downside is you do have to pay an admittance fee to get into Baxter State Park. And the fee is higher for those who come from out of state. It’s a beautiful addition to any road trips you would be taking in the area. However, avoid this place on Labor Day weekend. You won’t even make it past the rangers station.
4. Emerald Pool
Located on the Charles Brook near the Cold River campground, Emerald Pool lies right on the Maine/ New Hampshire line. From everybody I spoke with, it is considered a Maine entity. The pool is quite deep in comparison to other swimming holes in the area. And especially for its size. The swimming hole is approximately 13 feet deep. There are rocks on both sides of the Emerald Pool that allow for some great jumps. The swimming hole is called Emerald Pool because it is a beautiful green. There is no way you could visit this hole without jumping in. The water just calls your name. It rates as one of the nicest, cleanest and beautiful swimming holes in the Northeast. Children and adults will enjoy this area. To get there you will have to hike about a mile. So be sure to bring your hiking shoes.
5. Bristol Dam
This swimming hole may actually come to a surprise to the readers. It lacks crystal clear water. There are no rocks or rope swing. There is a small bridge, but even a child could jump from that height. But what it lacks in recreation, it makes up for in charm. This swimming hole exudes small town country charm. Every time I have visited this area, I feel like I’m in a movie. Its relaxing and the locals are so wonderful and nice. The Bristol Dam does boast a large grassy area where the kids can play football or softball. And it’s just perfect for an all day family barbecue. If you’re tired of the larger rock filled swimming holes, I press you to try out Bristol Dam. The adventure is in its charm.
Although this is not a complete list of my favorite Maine swimming holes, these are certainly at the top. I encourage you to visit this sites, but always remain cautious when swimming in these areas. Ask locals for directions and guidance. As never swim alone. Have fun and enjoy these beautiful swimming holes in lovely Maine.