Here is our list of the top 5 swimming holes within a 1.5 hour drive of Winston-Salem!
1. Eno Quarry at Eno River State Park
This amazing 25-60 ft deep quarry is a gem right outside the city of Durham. Park at the Cabe Lands trail head in Eno River State Park, and take the trail that’s a little less than a mile to the quarry. It should be noted that the quarry is deep with drop offs, and caution should be exercised at all times. Only strong swimmers are encouraged to swim here since there are not many shallow areas. Bring a float to float around in the sun and relax, or enjoy the scenery from the banks in a hammock!
With only a small entry fee, this lake is perfect for relaxing on a hot day. Sandy beaches surround the 12 acre lake that is appropriate for both kids and adults. The park provides bathhouses, snack bars, and rentable life preservers as well as actual life guards on duty for your safety. Plus, there is a wheel chair accessible area. Be sure to check the park’s website for entrance information to make sure it’s open before you head out!
3. The Bullhole at Cooleemee River Park
A historic cotton mill dam makes for an awesome swimming hole right outside Mocksville. It’s a beautiful place with water spilling over the dam like a waterfall, and the shallow pool at the base makes a great spot for wading. You can bring a float and ride the small rapids down the river, or just hang out on the sandy beaches and take a dip at the base of the dam. Water shoes are highly recommended, as the rocks can get very slippery, and be sure to use caution after a heavy rain. The park now charges an entrance fee and has set hours, so be sure to visit the website to plan your visit.
4. Sennett’s Hole at the Eno River
West Point on the Eno is the starting point for this one mile hike to Sennett’s Hole. A hidden gem right outside Durham, Sennett’s Hole offers water up to 8 feet deep and is bigger than your average swimming pool. Water shoes would be recommended as there are many stones. Hang out on the banks near the water, or swim around and relax on a rock near the water’s edge.
5. Shacktown Falls at Shore-Styers Mill Park
A short hike down a dirt path, and you’re at a beautiful waterfall perfect for taking a dip in during those hot summer months. Water shoes are recommended here, as parts of the area are rocky and can be quite slippery. You can walk up to the base of the falls and hear the roar of the rushing waters, wade and splash around in the creek, or take a dip in the deepest pool, which is only about 3-4 ft deep. Exercise caution after a rain as this waterfall might have a pretty heavy flow. A great place for children and adults alike.
Kristina Riehle is a photographer, content creator and hiking enthusiast based out of Winston-Salem, NC. Kristina works to capture images and stories that inspire others to get outside and explore. Follow her work @k.riehleadventures on Instagram.