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Robert H Treman State Park

39 Natural Swimming Holes

On a hot day, you can sit under a waterfall, swim in a lake, or jump in a creek at one of these refreshing natural swimming holes. Some places require a lifeguard on duty, or allow swimming in restricted areas. Please check their website before you go to make sure they are open.

Be mindful of signs posted and use common sense when deciding to wade in. Often heavy rains can fall upstream—even though the skies may be clear where you are—causing deadly flash floods. Know before you go! Bring a healthy respect for the power of water and the nature that thrives here and you’ll enjoy a beautiful day!

Swimming Under Waterfalls

Robert H Treman State Park
Enfield Glen

1. Robert H. Treman State Park

Swim in a stream-fed pool beneath a Enfield Glen’s waterfall. Swimming is allowed in the life-guarded area only. Enjoy nine miles of hiking trails that follow the gorge past 12 waterfalls, including the 115-foot Lucifer Falls.

parking lot
Buttermilk Falls

2. Buttermilk Falls State Park

Swim in the life-guarded pool beneath Buttermilk Creek’s lower falls.

3. Fillmore Glen State Park

Enjoy the cool water of Dry Creek’s stream-fed swimming pool.

Grimes Glen Waterfall Acrobat
Grimes Glen

4. Grimes Glen

The glen is public, free, and you are encouraged to walk in the water. Most people look forward to wading the creek to the first and second falls–both 60′ cascades. This is an unguarded area, so enjoy Grimes Creek at your own risk.

Swimming in Creeks & Rivers

Creeks around Rochester
Taughannock Creek

5. Taughannock Falls State Park

There is no swimming beneath Taughannock Falls, though wading in Taughannock Falls Creek down steam of the falls is permitted, though unguarded.

George Bridge Canawaugus Park Scottsville Genesee Valley Greenway
George Bridge – Oatka Creek

6. George Bridge

Oatka Creek passes through Scottsville on its way toward the Genesee River. “The George” is a favorite for bridge jumpers, though it is an unguarded activity.

Oatka Creek is generally shallow enough to wade but directly under the bridge it’s much deeper. When creek water depth is 8 or 9 feet deep it is generally safe to jump from The George—at your own risk. Look for a rope for swinging into the waterhole as well. 

On a hot day, I prefer to wade in upstream in the shade of the Rochester Street/NY-251 bridge—the point-of-view from the photo above.

For a little more history of the area, check out this article in the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.

Stony Brook State Park natural swimming pool
Stony Brook Pool

7. Stony Brook State Park

Swimming in Stony Brook is permitted only in the sectioned-off natural stream-fed pool. Wading is discouraged along the rest of the gorge. The North Entrance for day use visitors features the pool, a picnic area with tables, grills, restrooms, playground, and entrance to the hiking trails. 

8. Zoar Valley

From the Buffalo Spree article, “…go to the Valentine Flats access point. The trail is wide but unblazed, and easy to follow if you follow these few directions: At the Y at the top of the gorge, … head right to safely head into the canyon and the rock beaches along the water’s edge. There is another Y at the bottom of the gorge; right takes you to the confluence of the main and south branches of [Cattaraugus] creek, left to a rock beach below the rapids. Here you can safely dip a toe into the water and look up at the 400-foot cliff walls, and the old growth stretching out of them, on all sides.”

9. Beaver Island State Park

The idea of swimming in the Niagara River seems daunting knowing that Niagara Falls is just down stream, but you can safely do so in Beaver Island State Park, located at the south end of Grand Island. The 950-acre park has a half-mile sandy beach for swimming, adjacent 80-slip marina, fishing access, multiple canoe/kayak launches, bike and nature trails, nature center, an 18 hole championship disc golf course, an 18-hole championship golf course

Swimming in Lake Ontario

Sodus Point beach
Sodus Point beach

10. Sodus Point Beach Park

Enjoy a beach day on this sandy shore, right next to the pier.

Ontario Beach Park
Ontario Beach Park

11. Ontario Beach Park

Ontario Beach Park is located at the northernmost tip of the city of Rochester, and is bordered on the East by the mouth of the Genesee River.

12. Durand Eastman Beach

The beach boasts 5,000 feet of Lake Ontario waterfront. Swimming is supervised by beach guards in its designated area (Lot A).

Fair Haven swimming beach
Fair Haven Beach

13. Fair Haven State Park

Fair Haven has one of the finest public lakefronts in upstate New York, with towering shoreline bluffs, sandy beaches and adjoining hilly woodlands. The park features 1500 feet of beautiful sand beach including 600 feet of guarded swim area.

Hamlin Beach State Park beach cover
Hamlin Beach

14. Hamlin Beach State Park

Hamlin Beach State Park’s clear water, sandy beaches and 264 tent and trailer campsites bring thousands of visitors to the park each year.

15. Wilson-Tuscarora State Park

Tuscarora Beach has a narrow, rocky shoreline with enough sandy to make it feel beachy. There is a small roped-off area for swimming when a life guard is on duty. Even though it’s a small state park, there is a bath house with showers available.

Irondequoit Bay Park
Irondequoit Bay Park

16. Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park

Enjoy a small, sandy beach next to the pier.

17. Selkirk Shores State Park

This is a good sized sandy beach with a rocky shoreline. Located in Pulaski, it’s a est-facing beach, perfect for watching the sun set over Lake Ontario.

Swimming in the Finger Lakes

Sandy Bottom Park on Honeoye Lake
Sandy Bottom Park on Honeoye Lake

Honeoye Lake

18. Sandy Bottom Park Beach

Canandaigua Lake

19. Kershaw Park

20. Ononda Park

21. Deep Run Beach

Long Point Beach Conesus Lake
Long Point Beach

Conesus Lake

22. Long Point Park

Keuka Lake

23. Keuka Lake State Park

Seneca Lake

24. Seneca Lake State Park

25. Sampson State Park

Cayuga Lake State Park
Cayuga Lake State Park

Cayuga Lake

26. Cayuga Lake State Park

27. Taughannock Falls State Park

28. Long Point State Park

29. Myers Park

Owasco Lake

30. Emerson Park

Other Lakes

Green Lakes State Park beach
Green Lake

31. Green Lakes State Park

32. Darien Lakes State Park

Allegany State Park Quaker Lake beach
Quaker Lake

Allegany State Park

33. Quaker Lake

34. Red House Lake

Oneida Lake

35. Verona Beach State Park

36. Oneida Shores

37. Sylvan Beach

Lake Erie

38. Evangola State Park

39. Woodlawn Beach State Park

Not-so-natural swimming areas

Though the topic of this article is natural swimming holes, I thought it fair to mention that there are other places to cool down on a hot day in the form of pools and water slides.

Watkins Glen State Park Pool
Watkins Glen State Park

Pools in State Parks

Watkins Glen State Park

Letchworth State Park

Fort Niagara State Park

Seabreeze Amusement Park water park
Seabreeze

Water Parks

Seabreeze

Darien Lake

Roseland

Thunder Island

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Where are your favorite swimming holes around Rochester?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!

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COVID-19 NOTE: Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home.

The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly and locally—seek solitude!