With pools closed this summer, you might be looking for a reprieve from the searing sun—and popsicles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner will only get you so far. We’ve rounded up a list of lakes and natural swimming holes near DC, perfect for you and the kiddos to beat the heat and finesse your cannon-ball form. Get ready to dive in!
Cunningham Falls State Park
Cunningham Falls State Park, part of Catoctin Mountain Park, has it all: waterfalls? Check.
Swimming, boating, and fishing? Check. A beach? Check! There are even campgrounds, picnic areas, and hiking trails. Located about 18 miles north of Frederick, the park boasts three separate swimming areas around Hunting Creek Lake. Note that swimming is not allowed around the falls, and that the park closes when filled to capacity.
COVID-19 Update: The snack bar is currently closed. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own food and drink into the park.
14039 Catoctin Hollow Rd., Thurmont, MD
Rocks State Park
While there’s plentiful hiking and climbing at Rocks State Park, it’s largely steep and rocky—so the best bet for families is lazy tubing in Deer Creek. The water is shallow and slow, and picnic areas dot the creek banks (there are bathrooms and grills, too). If your kids really want to get wet, check out the 17-foot waterfall hidden in the woods about 10 minutes from the Kilgore Falls parking lot. Note that there aren’t bathrooms or picnic tables here, so build in a rest stop elsewhere.
COVID-19 Update: You currently need a reservation to visit the Kilgore Falls and Falling Branch Areas of Rocks State Park. You can make one here.
3318 Rocks Chrome Hill Rd., Jarrettsville, MD