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America's Best Swimming Holes (PHOTOS)

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Standing in the sunshine on the rocky bank, with rivulets of cool water dripping from your hair and swimsuit, you wait your turn at the base of the old oak. You're up. You grip the fraying rope, get a running start, swing out over the pool of clear water, and release. Cannonball!

In summertime, when the mercury taunts the tip of the thermometer like an angry red fist, the best place to cool down is an old-fashioned swimming hole. These often-secluded natural pools are the perfect antidote to crowded pools with zinc-covered teenage lifeguards or water parks with $8 hot dogs. And they offer a dose of not-yet-forgotten Americana, where sunny days are measured by best friends and belly flops.

So grab your swimsuit, a towel, and a pair of water shoes, and jump in at some of our favorite swimming holes. Last one in's a rotten egg!

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--Alice Bruneau and Caroline Hallemann

See All of America's Best Swimming Holes

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