Down here in the South, late summer, and even into early fall the temperatures can just be downright unbearable. How are you going to cool off? Ice cream? Sure! Ice water? We have to stay hydrated after all, right? Swimming? Most definitely! Luckily, Chattanooga has a wide array of swimming holes you can venture to. So strap on your sandals, grab your towel, lather on the sunscreen, and let’s get swimming!
- Chester Frost Park
Chester Frost Park is a favorite swimming spot for many Chattanoogans. It is located in Hixson, about half an hour away from downtown Chattanooga. Many Chattanoogans consider this spot a favorite because of the sand surrounding the shoreline, picnic areas, fishing, and much more! It is family-friendly and a great place to play in the sun on a summer day.
- Foster Falls
About 45 minutes outside of Chattanooga, on Monteagle Mountain, lies a quaint swimming experience. There is a short but steep hike to get to the falls that can feel especially tiring on the way back to your car, but it is definitely worth it. The water is cool and surrounded by wooded areas meaning there is plenty of shade to get out of the summer heat. Pack light and bring plenty of water, because this swimming hole should definitely be on your summer to-do list!
- Big Soddy Creek Gulf
Another local favorite, the Big Soddy Creek Gulf is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Chattanooga. Being that this spot is popular with locals, you will most likely have company, but the stunning mountain views accompanied by picnic spots and room to explore make it one of the best spots near Chattanooga for a summer cool-down.
- North Chick Blue Hole
Located about 20 minutes from Chattanooga, this blue hole is another local favorite. Parking can be challenging due to the popularity of the spot, but there is plenty of room to explore and many spots to swim along the creek. You will have to cross over some rocks and through a couple of streams, so hiking sandals or water shoes are recommended. The water levels do fluctuate, so be careful diving in or jumping off of the rocks in the creek. One wonderful asset about this spot is if one spot is highly populated, you can keep hiking and generally find a clear spot to swim!
- Tennessee River
Running through the heart of downtown Chattanooga is the Tennessee River. It offers many unique recreational activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding. If you do not own a kayak or a paddleboard, there are rental agencies in Coolidge Park that will rent them to you. Their staff will even give recommendations based on the water conditions on that given day! With the short travel time and rental options, this one is a no-brainer!
- Suck Creek
Suck Creek is a great place to cool off in the summer. Located at the foot of Signal Mountain and just a 20-minute drive from downtown, this is a popular place for a summer cool off. Similar to the North Chick Blue Hole, there are plenty of places along the creek to swim, all you have to do is find them! This is great if you are looking for a little adventure because you can hike along the creek and you’ll surely find a perfect place to stick your feet in. Being that it is a wooded area, bug spray is highly recommended!
- Greenway Farms
Greenway farms have a great swimming hole and are located about 20 minutes from downtown Chattanooga! There is a short hike from the parking lot but the swimming hole is perfect for floating around and relaxing! There is not a lot of space on the shore to layout and relax, but the swimming area is extremely spacious.
- Rainbow Lake
This is a popular hiking destination, but in the summer it is also an excellent swimming location! The walk down to Middle Creek is less than a mile from the trailhead, located in the historic part of Signal Mountain. A dam built in the early 1900s creates a waterfall perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day. This area has great hiking year-round and amazing swimming during the hot summer months!
- Desoto Falls
This spot is located about 45 minutes away from Chattanooga in Mentone, Alabama (west brow of Lookout Mountain). The falls cascade down a series of short waterfalls, ending in a large 104-foot waterfall down to the punch bowl beneath. The hike down to the water is steep but the beautiful scenery and cool water is perfect for a hot summer day!
- Greeter Falls
This one is a bit further of a drive (about an hour and fifteen minutes), but well worth it for the views! The water is crystal clear and just above is a 50 ft waterfall. The easiest route is a half-mile hike with a spiral staircase down to the falls. However, for those who like to work a bit harder for their reward, there are plenty of marked hikes to get to the falls. This is a great option if you’ve worn out all the other options on this list and don’t mind a summer drive!
Temperatures in the Chattanooga heat can be brutal, some days passing 100℉ (not to mention the humidity). Sometimes, you just have to find a place to cool off. Hopefully, this list shows that you don’t need a pool to escape the sun. You can drive as little as fifteen minutes and find a wonderful place to cool off. Whether you want to be in the shaded woods near a creek or on a kayak in the Tennessee River, Chattanooga has plenty of options for beating the heat.