1 of 8
Toby Talbot, Associated Press
In this July 11, 2011 photo, people enjoy the cool waters at Warren Falls, in Warren, Vt. In Vermont, there are no ocean waves to bodysurf, no water parks to splash in. There’s no shortage of places to swim, though: When summer’s heat settles in, folks head to old-fashioned swimming holes.

WARREN, Vt. — What Vermont lacks in ocean beaches, it makes up for in old-fashioned swimming holes, which offer cooling-off spots with clean water, rocks to jump from and unspoiled natural beauty all around. But they can be dangerous, too.

Comment on this story

These swimming places — in rivers and streams — are hidden gems with no signs, no lifeguards and usually no bathrooms or access for strollers or wheelchairs. Finding them can be an adventure. They don't have road signs, they aren't advertised and locals sometimes like to keep their locations a secret, so they don't get too crowded.

The raw natural beauty of their rocks, waterfalls and moving water can be deadly. Last week, a 12-year-old boy drowned at Bolton Potholes swimming hole in Bolton. The week before that, two swimmers had to be rescued from a ledge in Huntington Gorge, where some 20 people have died through the years.