Five Great Swimming Holes Near Harrisonburg, Virginia

Boy throwing rocks at a swimming hole near Harrisonburg Virginia

Summer in Harrisonburg can get mighty toasty so when Im looking for a way to cool off, explore nature and burn up some kid-energy, I love to take my crew out to a local river or swimming hole!  The good news is that the Harrisonburg/Rockingham area is plentiful with swimming holes if you know where to look.  Rivers and creeks are a great alternative when you don’t have access to a pool or if you just want to change up the scenery.  Older kids can wade out into deeper water while younger kids can find plenty of sand and rocks to keep them entertained along the shore and everyone can enjoy listening to the birds, finding rocks and fish and identifying the different types of plants and trees.  If you haven’t explored the area or are simply looking for a new spot to cool off, check out these swimming holes near Harrisonburg!  All are unique so take a little time this summer to go exploring!

Five Great “Swimming Holes” Near Harrisonburg, Virginia

  1. Riven Rock Park

This park is maintained by Harrisonburg city and is located next to the Dry River.   Riven Rock has river access with a concrete slab that crosses the water and is fun for younger children to play on.  On either side of the slab are big rocks and deeper pools of water that are better suited for older children if the water is high and swift.

  1. The Slab in Dayton

This river will run dry midway through summer so check before going. When there is water, it can get deep enough to swim in some spots.  Tip – If the shores are crowded near the slab, walk upstream to find more areas to play and swim!

  • Directions: Take 33 west out of Harrisonburg,, turn left on Hinton Rd, and right on Slab Rd.  You will see a concrete slab bridge.  Park along the side of the road.
  • Map
  1. Grottoes Mountain View Park

Mountain View park has a playground, basketball course, disc golf, tennis courts, dog park, picnic shelters bathrooms, and a fishing pond.  The best kept secret about this park, however, it that it is full a great swimming areas!  To find swimming holes, locate the gravel trail that starts near the tennis courts and goes past the basketball courts along the river.  Follow any of the footpaths towards the river to find a swimming spot.  Several have fun little beach areas!

  1. Blue Hole Swimming Hole in Fulks Run

This is NOT the “Blue Hole” in Rawley Springs off 33, that recently closed. This fun swimming spot has a parking lot and picnic area.

  1. Grand Caverns

Grand Caverns has so much more than caverns and a public pool!  There is a playground, walking and bike trails, picnic shelters, bathrooms and 2 great swimming holes!

  • Website
  • Map
  • Swimming hole 1: Follow the walking trail at Grand Caverns to the very end (trail branches off of the main walk) you will come to a very shallow, beachy type area where kids can wade in the water with supervision.
  • Swimming hole 2: Follow the trail behind the Stone Lodge away from the caverns, the trail goes around a bend and one part goes off to the right. Follow that a short way to a nice spot to wade & play.

If you are planning a trip to a swimming hole, here are few quick reminders and tips:

  • Pack the bug spray!
  • Have a potty plan – many of these sites do not have a public bathroom
  • Don’t wear your best clothes or swimsuits- plan to get dirty.
  • Water shoes are a good idea for tender feet on the rocky ground.
  • Pack water to drink – Most of the swimming holes do not have safe drinking water
  • Do a thorough tick-check when you get home.
  • Be mindful of snakes – teach your kids to respect them and leave them be

Boy riding on dad's shoulders by Be Thou My Vision Photography

A few bonus swimming holes near Harrisonburg, Virginia:

These are harder to find, but worth searching for if you are up for a little adventure!

  1. Dry River at Natural Chimneys This spot has access to the North River
  2. Hone Quarry  This spot includes hikes, a 15-foot waterfall and a beautiful stream. (map)
  3. Lions Tale Loop near Luray – river water access to wade in and swim (map)
  4. Wild Oak Trailhead – A 15-20 minutes hike in to river access. (map)

Do you know of a swimming hold that should be added to this list?  Let me know!!

Family playing along a swimming hole near Harrisonburg, Virginia

Looking for a way to keep kids safe in the water this year?  Check out this post!

This free group is for moms (and moms-to-be) around Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Charlottesville, and the surrounding areas. And when you join this free Facebook group, it is my mission to provide you with an encouraging, supportive, and authentic place where we can share wins, resources, and connections in the local community. From the challenges to the joys - let's all support each other!

And in here, you'll also be notified of my limited edition sessions and get the opportunity to be one of the first to grab your spot when those do get announced!


Candid, supportive, and real.

Join my free Facebook group!