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Photo credit: Washington trails association

5 Kid-friendly swimming holes to visit this summer

Pack your swimsuit and get ready to take a dip into these cool waters

Cooling off at these kid-friendly swimming holes is one of those activities that you don’t want to miss while exploring the outdoors. With Washington State being home to more than 8,000 lakes and thousands of miles of rivers, there is certainly no shortage of places to swim here. Depending on who you ask, you may get a different answer every time for the “best” places to go swimming, but here are five tried-and-true kid-friendly swimming holes to visit this summer.

Swim safety: No matter how calm or shallow the water is, always watch over your children. River flow or waterfall streams can change rapidly and without warning, causing sudden water level changes.

Things to bring on your outing: a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, water shoes, sun hat and glasses, picnic supplies, lots of water and snacks, goggles, floaties and/or a life jacket, and hiking gear if you will need to walk into the swimming area.

Calm water is great for swimming and floating with a gravelly beach nearby.

Photo credit: Wafflesnfalafel

Skykomish River: Al Borlin Park, Monroe

Located in Monroe along the banks of the Skykomish River, Al Borlin Park spans about 90 acres and is the perfect place to spend a sunny day barbecuing and floating the river along the rocky shoreline. The park has all the amenities for a day-long stay including grills, restrooms and picnic tables. If you find yourself needing a reprieve from the sun, the nearby Al Borlin Park Loop is an easy 1.8-mile trail with little to no elevation gain, perfect for little legs.

Address: 615 Simons Rd, Monroe, WA 98272

Closures: Note that parts of the trail are closed, with some fallen trees and eroded areas. The trails usually dry up in July.

Tips:

  • This location is both kid and dog-friendly
  • Pack an inner tube to float along the water
  • The beach is not sandy but has a gravel-like feel
  • Parking, restrooms, picnic tables, and food are nearby
  • Explore the bridge over the water and the abandoned train tracks
Soft sand beaches make way for a nice place to rest after swimming or floating along the water.

Photo credit: City of Duvall

Snoqualmie River: McCormick Park, Duvall

McCormick Park is not a well-kept secret by any means, but it is a fantastic place to spend a hot summer day along the river. Known for its slow, lazy current and soft sand beaches, this swimming hole is popular among all ages throughout the summer months. The park amenities include grills, picnic shelters, tables, restrooms, and hiking trails. During the summer months, don’t miss their outdoor 2024 summer concert series with free entertainment on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 8:39 p.m. from July 10 through August 14. If you get a little antsy and want to explore another park- walk 0.25 miles up to Taylor Landing. Equipped with a boat launch, you can lounge in the sand in a more quieter setting while the kids play. When the water is low enough, you can walk from one park to the other.

Address: 26200 NE Stephens St, Duvall, WA 98019

Tips:

  • This location is both kid and dog-friendly
  • Pack an inner tube to float in the water
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen, the beach has little shade
  • Parking, restrooms, outdoor beach shower, picnic tables, grills and food nearby
Cherry creek falls

Photo credit: Dave Puhrmann

Cherry Creek Falls, Duvall

Cherry Creek Falls is a beautiful hike through a lush, forested area that ends in not just one, but two waterfalls cascading down into a swimming hole. The 5-mile round-trip hike may seem a little intimidating to kids at first glance, but it is an easy trail with minimal elevation gain. To keep little ones moving, tell them to keep an eye out for the two crashed vehicles along the trail. Both my kids had a great time trying to find these. Once you reach the 25-foot falls, relax and cool off after the hike. Take some photos because these falls make for a stunning backdrop. The water is shallow enough for a dip, so pack a swimsuit and get ready to feel the cool water. Print directions from the WTA website- the trail can be confusing.

Address: 16538 Kelly Rd NE, Duvall, WA 98019

Tips:

  • Parking at this location is a bit difficult since there is only street-side parking. Any vehicles illegally parked will be ticketed and/or towed. Please keep the street clear for other vehicles passing and especially for emergency vehicles.
  • This park is very popular during the summer months. Start early on the trail or try for a weekday hike to avoid crowds.
  • The trail is also a popular one for dogs.
  • The first half mile of this trail is a courtesy easement within private property. The parks department works with homeowners to allow public access to the park. To continue to enjoy access to this area, remain on the main path, observe leash laws, keep noise to a minimum, and pack out all trash. Leave no trace.
  • There’s only one bathroom at the beginning of the trail, so plan accordingly.
  • Summer brings about many mosquitos and it’s no different on this trail. Bring bug spray.
  • Waterproof shoes are best for this hike as you may have to cross a small creek towards the end of the hike. Walking sticks are encouraged.
An extremely short hike will lead you to these falls.

Photo credit: Waterfalls Northwest

Rocky Brook Falls, Olympic Peninsula

If you want a waterfall swimming hole with little to no hike, then Rocky Brook Falls is for you. Honestly, calling it a hike is a bit of a stretch because you only need to walk about 200 yards along a trail until you reach the gorgeous “horsetail-form” falls that help create one of several kid-friendly swimming holes in Washington. Part of a hydroelectric facility, this area has very strict access so stay on the trail. The location is also extremely popular with locals and tourists alike, so expect to share the gravelly beach and large rocks with others. At the base of the waterfall is a pool to swim, with an entrance from the shallow end to the right of the falls. There are a few low-level rocks to jump in from, but be cautious before making the leap. The pool is known to be deep enough for jumping in, but with water level changes, you’ll want to check before taking the plunge.

Address: 2405 Dosewallips Rd, Brinnon, WA 98320

Tips:

  • Northwest Forest Pass required
  • Street parking nearby
  • Have small children with you? Bring a carrier – you’ll have to scramble over some rocks and roots at the end of the trail, to get to the falls
  • Watch for water level changes at this location
Float along Lake Easton where the water is cool and clear.

Photo credit: Jessi Johnson

Lake Easton State Park Campground, Lake Easton State Park

In the mood for taking a dip at any one of the kid-friendly swimming holes, but Western Washington’s weather isn’t cooperating? Make the short one-hour drive from Seattle to Lake Easton State Park on our state’s sunnier side. Lake Easton is just off of I-90, and it is nestled among trees with breathtaking views. Within the campground, you will find a sandy swim beach with a playground close by. Little ones will spend their time running back and forth from one to the other all day long. Grown-ups, bring a chair to relax in the grassy shaded areas or jump in with the kids to cool off. There is definitely no shortage of things to do here. Pack your kayaks, paddle boards, fishing poles, and hiking boots–you’ll want to stay awhile.

Address: 150 Lake Easton State Park Rd, Easton, WA 98925

Tips:

  • Discovery Pass needed: This park is equipped with an automated pay station at the day-use parking lot for visitors to purchase a one-day or annual Discover Pass
  • Playground available for kids- a short walk from the beach

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About the Author

Jessi Johnson

Jessi Johnson is a Registered Nurse turned homeschool mom of two and calls Snohomish home. She can usually be found hiking, camping or planning her family’s next adventure.