Beat the Summer Heat

From swimming holes to tubing many can cool of and enjoy an adventure

In the heat of the Virginia summer, opportunities to cool off are always welcome. Of course, there are swimming pools, but how about a little more of a nature experience? Go back to yesteryear with some old-fashioned fun on our local rivers! Sometimes there is more excitement when you pack a picnic and make a day of it. Water adventures and swimming holes are abundant in our area, most within an hour or so drive of Fauquier and Prince William Counties. Remember to bring your water shoes, and watch out for poison ivy when out in the woods!


Tubing is a classic and very cool way to travel the river, and there are quite a few canoe and tubing rental businesses out toward Winchester and Front Royal, not far from home but far enough to make the outing a real adventure. Enjoy a few hours or a day on the Shenandoah River without worrying about parking, putting in, and taking out by visiting one of the water adventure locations that take care of it all for you. They will rent you the tubes, drop you off and pick you up after your adventure. Floating down the river is the perfect way to enjoy a hot summer day. It’s easy to find out which location would be the most fun for your family on the internet: check out tubing on Yelp for the Front Royal and Luray region for reviews and information.

Front Royal Outdoors (Front Royal) 

Shenandoah River Outfitters (Luray)

Skyline Canoe (Front Royal)

Downriver Canoe Company (Bentonville)

Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (Purcellville)


What’s better than a chlorinated pool? An old-fashioned swimming hole! Enjoy a hike in our gorgeous Virginia woods and forests and find a swimming hole to cool off in. Think about making it an overnight adventure by camping. We’ve collected a few for you to consider; check out  or the web pages listed for the exact locations, directions, length and degree of difficulty, and more specific information. Some swimming holes and trails are located in Shenandoah National Park, therefore there is a fee to visit, even if you begin your hike outside the park.

White Oak Canyon, is one of the most popular hikes in SNP, and provides a gorgeous hike with multiple waterfalls, and a few options for swimming holes that are just perfect for a hot summer day. The easiest way to visit is to park at the White Oak Canyon Parking Area near Syria and hike up to the Lower Falls, which has the biggest swimming areas. If you keep going, the trail will take you up to the Upper Falls, also a great swimming spot in beautiful surroundings, but the trail is a little more strenuous. You can also hike down from Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park, reaching the upper falls first.,

Overall Run, near Matthew’s Arm Campground, provides a nice trek to a scenic waterfall which cascades into three swimming holes, all connected. Leaving from the Thompson Hollow Trailhead near Bentonville, it is an easy hike of about a mile to the swimming holes. It is also reachable via an longer hike on the Overall Run/Heiskell Hollow Trail starting from Skyline Drive.

Elizabeth Furnace Area, near Winchester/Front Royal. Enjoy three swimming holes in this area along Passage Creek: Blue Hole, Elizabeth Furnace, and Buzzard Rock Hole near the Elizabeth Furnace campgrounds. These locations provide nice spots to enjoy the water, which tends to be warmer and slower here than some others in the area where the water comes down off the mountains cold and fast.

Sugar Hollow area, near Charlottesville, has another swimming hole called Blue Hole on Moorman’s River in Crozet. Parking is near the Sugar Hollow Reservoir, at the South Fork Moorman’s River Parking area, and after a moderate hike of about a mile you will find the first swimming hole. You will find more swimming opportunities and even more beautiful scenery if you travel further.

Falmouth Riverside Park, right in Fredericksburg, has a swimming hole on the Rappahannock River across the bridge from Old Town. Since this is right in town, it is not so much of a nature experience, but the plus is that it is right near the parking lot — no hiking.

Others to look at:

Stony Mountain

Bear Church Rock

Moorman’s River

Jones Run Doyles River

Virginia offers many swimming holes throughout the Commonwealth. Check out these websites for other options.

Within 50 miles of Warrenton: Free swimming holes

17 epic swimming holes in the state of Virginia.

If you are not into swimming, but would like to check out some cool Waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park. Try this website to plan your adventure.

Debbie Eisele
About Debbie Eisele 63 Articles
Debbie Eisele is a freelance writer and the Community Outreach Coordinator for Hero’s Bridge, a nonprofit serving older veterans. She lives in Warrenton with her husband and twin daughters.

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