The Best Swimming in North Carolina

Looking for the best swimming in North Carolina? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around North Carolina. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top swimming spots in and near North Carolina

  • Brevard, North Carolina

    Explore Looking Glass Falls

    4.3
    Looking Glass Rock located along the Blue Ridge Parkway (North) is one of the largest masses of granite in the Eastern US. It got it's name for the way the sunlight hits its rocky surface when wet, creating a shimmering, reflective, mirror-like effect. The views from this overlook are vast and cl...
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  • Pisgah Forest, North Carolina

    Cool Off at Sliding Rock Falls

    4.6
    This natural mountain waterfall and slide in the Pisgah National Forest is a local favorite to cool off in and have a little fun during the warmer months. You can walk up the line to the top of the falls and have a quick wait as others go down this 60 foot boulder. This water varies between 50-6...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Hike to Skinny Dip Falls

    4.8
    2 mi / 400 ft gain
    Park at the Looking Glass Rock Overlook. After enjoying the view of Looking Glass Rock, gear up and head to the right side of the parking area (right side if your back is to the overlook). On the opposite side of the road you'll see a mile marker and a little trail to the left of the marker. Foll...
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  • Elk Park, North Carolina

    Swim in Elk River Falls

    4.8
    0.2 mi / 120 ft gain
    The coordinates for the parking area are 36.198288, -81.970137. You'll see a parking area that's dirt/gravel on the right side of the road. At the far end of the parking lot is a sign that says Elk River Falls with an arrow pointing up the hill. From this point its about a .2 mile long walk to th...
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  • Canton, North Carolina

    Explore Lower Falls at Graveyard Fields

    4.3
    Graveyard Fields got it's name years ago from wind-thrown tree trunks that gave the appearance of a graveyard, until 1925 when an intense fire swept through the area, destroying the stumps. The forest has been recovering ever since.The parking area for Graveyard Fields is located at milepost 418....
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  • Brevard, North Carolina

    Camp at Davidson River Campground in the Pisgah National Forest

    4.5
    Pisgah National Forest, in my opinion, is one of the best national forests in the United States. Being just a short drive from Great Smokey Mountain National Park it has all the feel of being in the smokies with more to explore. Pisgah has anything you could want to see or do from tens of water...
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  • Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

    Catch a Sunset on Wrightsville Beach

    4.7
    The great part about this adventure is that you can start anywhere on the island at any time of day. The island is four miles long, running from Mason Inlet to the north down to Masonboro Inlet to the south.The best fishing can be found on the north end of the island from Public Access 1 to the J...
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  • Bryson City, North Carolina

    Explore Old 288 and the Lands Creek Bridge

    2.5
    1 mi
    NC 288 was constructed in the 1920's, but did not last long with the construction of the Fontana Dam as the resulting lake covered the highway. The U.S. government entered an agreement in which they would provide a replacement road, but to this day it has not been completed and is know by locals ...
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  • Apex, North Carolina

    Camp at Jordan Lake State Park

    4.0
    We passed by Jordan Lake on the way home from a soccer match, and the kids asked if we could camp there before summer's end. We lucked out and found a spot available online to reserve Labor Day weekend, so we packed up and headed out for a couple of relaxing days by the lake.The camping offerings...
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  • Hatteras, North Carolina

    Camp on Ocracoke Island, NC

    4.8
    Camping on Ocracoke is allowed at the National Park Service Ocracoke Campground. Ocracoke Island is accessible via the North Carolina Ferry System. The ferry from Cape Hatteras is free and runs all day.The campground has 136 campsites spread out over the grounds. They can accommodate RV's, camper...
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  • Hendersonville, North Carolina

    Hike to Hooker Falls

    0.8 mi / 100 ft gain
    Hooker Falls is located in Dupont State Forest in southern North Carolina. The hike is a great hike for kids to go on and to have a picnic. The waterfall is a beautiful waterfall that offers a great place to swim. Along the hike there are also other places you can see the river and you can swim a...
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  • Newland, North Carolina

    Hike the Conley Cove Trail into Linville Gorge

    5.0
    2.6 mi / 1200 ft gain
    Follow the gravel old 105 to the parking lot at the Rock Jock Trailhead. Follow this trail a short distance until it splits to the left for Conley Cove. The Conley Cove trail descends over 1,200 ft. into the Linville Gorge, providing a glimpse into the dense and wild Pisgah National Forest. Shor...
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  • Cullowhee, North Carolina

    Hike to High Falls

    3.5
    1.5 mi / 600 ft gain
    This is an awesome hike if you're up for a challenge! The hike in isn't bad at all and the trail itself isn't super long but the climb back out will be a little more difficult due to the rock steps and lengthy uphill. This hike starts from a parking lot, just across the road from Lake Glenville a...
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  • Highlands, North Carolina

    Explore Cashiers Sliding Rock

    0.2 mi / 70 ft gain
    This waterfall is located just outside of Cashiers, NC. The trailhead to the waterfall is right off of the road and has a good amount of parking. The trial itself is very nice and has new steps at the beginning of the trail. The trail is very wide and is mostly flat the entire way there. Once you...
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  • Lake Toxaway, North Carolina

    Hike to Warden, Jawbone, and Riding Ford Falls

    4.5 mi
    Warden, Jawbone, and Riding Ford Falls are three waterfalls located along the headwaters of the Tuckasegee River in Panthertown Valley. Not far from the Cold Mountain trailhead, these falls are quite popular in the summer. On a weekend, you will often find people playing in the pools below the fa...
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  • Unnamed Road, North Carolina

    Explore Cape Lookout National Seashore

    5.0
    3 mi
    Fun ride across the waterway with good views of the surrounding islands and also some wild horses. Once on Harker Island you can explore the lighthouse, walk some of the trails, walk along the beach and look for seashells and go swimming. There are many good informative signs on Harker island exp...
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