Top 5 Georgia State Park Swimming Holes

Owen Smith

Discover the top 5 swimming holes at Georgia State Parks.


Most Unique
Bridal Veil Falls at Tallulah Gorge – This would not be a reputable list without mentioning the sliding rock at Tallulah Gorge. After hiking down over 500 stairs to the base of Hurricane Falls, guests hike through boulder fields along the floor of Tallulah Gorge, navigating the steep walls of Oceana Falls, and eventually make it to Bridal Veil Falls. It is an incredible place to spend the afternoon with friends and family. Its beauty and difficult journey make it one of the most popular outdoor-recreation spots in the Southeast. Only 100 guests are allowed per day to the base of the gorge, which means people must arrive early to get their permit.

Best Mountain Lake
Fort Mountain – After circumnavigating Fort Mountain on the 8-mile Gahuti Trail, what sounds better than a refreshing swim? High atop Fort Mountain near the Cohutta Wilderness sits a cool mountain lake, great for swimming with the family, lounging in the sand or even renting out a pedal boat. For more adventurous and cold-tolerant guests, the park holds the annual Black Bear Plunge on January 1. Every year, dozens of brave park-goers storm into the lake and to start their year with a splash. After swimming in the frigid lake for a few minutes, plungers are met with dry towels and hot chocolate. However, guests don’t need to wait until January to cool off in the lake as it is open year-round.

Most Calm
Hard Labor Creek – With a name like this, Hard Labor Creek doesn’t sound like a relaxing place to have a nice day in the sun. However, the rangers at Hard Labor Creek State Park like to think the name hides the secret that it is a beautiful park featuring a stunning beach. Lake Rutledge is a quiet, 274-acre lake that requires boats to stay below 10 hp. This restriction makes the lake free of the loud speed boats, so instead of boat engines, guests only hear kids playing on the beach and fishers reeling in bass and bream. Hard Labor Creek State Park might be the quickest getaway for visitors from the metro Atlanta area, and the lake isn’t the only thing to do. The park has 20 miles of mountain bike trails, tranquil hiking trails, and newly renovated cabins.

Most Historic
FD Roosevelt – Built by the members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression, the Liberty Bell Pool is not only a great swimming hole but a historic artifact as well. The boys of the CCC did all kinds of beautification and conservation projects throughout the United States during the Great Depression.  The pool gets its name from its unique liberty bell shape, and will be opening back up July 1, 2021 after being closed for the 2020 season due to COVID-19.

Most Classic
Richard B. Russell – Lake Richard Russell is a 26,650-acre playground that separates the states of Georgia and South Carolina. Interestingly, the federal government has prohibited private docks and homes on its shores, making it one of the most pristine and unique large-lakes of Georgia. This means when guests are hanging out at the beach of Richard B. Russell State Park, they won’t see any homes or docks in their view. It’s a beautiful spot to check on in the summer, especially if your family likes to take out the pontoon boat, fish, or play golf.