The weather is finally starting to warm up and if you are like my family and me, you enjoy cooling off in the beautiful, natural waters of Tennessee.
If you are not sure where to go, I have created a list of some of my favorite family friendly swimming holes:
Location: Ohio Ave Signal Mountain, TN 37377
This is a fairly easy hike on Signal Mountain; it is less than a mile to the lake. It is about two miles round-trip and the paths are wide. There is also a long wooden bridge that kids love. At 0.4 miles the trail reaches an intersection and you go right for the 1.5 mile loop around Rainbow Lake. It’s a beautiful spot to swim and have a little picnic. It used to be the site of the Signal Mountain Hotel constructed in 1916. Dogs are welcome and this is an easy hike for young children. The hike back up is at an incline, but it’s not steep. There is a small parking lot which tends to fill up on the weekends.
Big Soddy Gulf
Location: 11721 Back Valley Rd Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379
There is a very wide path and it can be a very short walk or a long hike, depending on where you stop. There are areas to set up camping chairs and a blanket. I rode my inner tube down the gentle rapids to the deep pools a few times, while my husband and kiddo stayed busy trying to catch fish. It’s a very relaxing spot with minimal effort.
Red Clay Park
Location: 1140 Red Clay Park Rd SW Cleveland, TN 37311
This is a beautiful state park in Cleveland, TN. It is very family friendly with picnic tables, a pavilion and plenty of parking. There is a short trail to the Blue Hole, which is a 1.7 mile loop through the woods. There is also a museum on site showing how the Native Americans lived, farmed and governed themselves. It is where the Trail of Tears began.
Blue Hole Soddy Daisy
Location: 418 Montlake Rd Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379
Another Soddy favorite on the North Chickamauga creek. The hike is a about a mile to the blue hole but you can stop anywhere along the way and swim. You have to cross over the creek at a certain point. If the water is high, keep a good hold of your little ones. If your kids are very young, I suggest finding a spot in that area so you’re not crossing with all your dry belongings. When the water is low, it is easy to cross. There are many boulders which make your own little pool. Once you make it to the blue hole, make sure the water is deep enough to jump. The parking lot fills up quickly, so it’s best to come early. I like to bring a trash bag to collect trash I find and also not leave my trash behind.
Location: Ochs Hwy Chattanooga, TN 37409
It’s a short hike to the falls on the side of Lookout Mountain. There is a parking area on Ochs Hwy. Once you pass Sanders Road, it is the first pullout parking you come to. This hike is somewhat moderate since it’s on the side of the mountain. There is a tunnel in the rock and you can explore the creek above the falls or head down to the falls. After a heavy rain you can hear the falls. There is a picnic and bathroom area down Sanders Road, which is a short walk from the falls. Kids love exploring the boulders and cooling off in the water.
I hope you enjoyed this list — I would love to hear what you think! Let me know if you have any questions about how to get there. Remember sunscreen, bug spray, water shoes, fishing net, goggles, a floaty, and oh, a mule to carry everything!