6 Crystal-Clear Springs and Rivers Perfect for a Plunge

CCalvin September 8, 2023 1:41 PM

There's nothing quite like the thrill of swimming in a crystal-clear spring or river. The fresh, cool water, the vibrant aquatic life, and the stunning natural scenery all combine to create an unforgettable experience. If you're looking for the perfect place to take a plunge, here are 6 of the best springs and rivers in the US that you absolutely must visit.

1. Ichetucknee Springs, Florida

First on our list is Ichetucknee Springs, a group of 8 crystal-clear springs nestled in Northern Florida. The main draw here is the 3-mile long Ichetucknee River, where you can float down on a tube, allowing the gentle current to carry you along. Swimming in the river is also a popular activity, with the water staying at a constant 72 degrees year-round.

2. Barton Springs Pool, Texas

Located in Austin's Zilker Park, Barton Springs Pool is a must-visit for anyone in Texas. This man-made swimming hole is fed by four natural springs and maintains a refreshing temperature of around 68-70 degrees, perfect for a hot summer day.

3. Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, Missouri

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park in Missouri is home to some of the best natural swimming spots in the Midwest. The shut-ins—a term for a river that has been forced into a narrow channel—have created a series of natural pools and water slides, perfect for a day of fun in the sun.

4. Sliding Rock, North Carolina

Sliding Rock is a natural water slide located in Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina. The slide is a 60-foot long slab of smooth rock that ends in an 8-foot deep pool. It's an exhilarating ride that ends with a refreshing plunge!

5. Merced River, California

If you're visiting Yosemite National Park, don't miss out on the opportunity to swim in the Merced River. This scenic river offers plenty of spots to take a dip and cool off after a long day of exploring.

6. Havasu Creek, Arizona

Last but not least, Havasu Creek in Arizona is a true desert oasis. This tributary of the Colorado River is known for its striking blue-green water and the stunning Havasu Falls. Swimming here is a unique experience that's not to be missed.

Here's a quick summary of our picks:

Name Location
Ichetucknee Springs Florida
Barton Springs Pool Texas
Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park Missouri
Sliding Rock North Carolina
Merced River California
Havasu Creek Arizona

Whether you're a serious swimmer looking for your next challenge, or just someone who loves to be in the great outdoors, these crystal-clear springs and rivers offer something for everyone.

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