My kids have really been into swimming lately, so last summer we decided to check out a swimming hole. We looked up a bunch online and along with some recommendations, picked Bristol Falls Swimming Hole in Vermont.
Bristol is located almost an hour south of Burlington, VT. We had no problem finding our way with Google Maps, and when we arrived, there were lots of cars along the road, so we knew we were at the right place. At the lower part of the falls, there is a deeper area with a true swimming hole. Up further, there are shallows that are great for littler kids and relaxing.
We started out at the deeper part of the falls. Since some of the water is pretty deep, I had my kids wear life vests so that they could swim and float easily. While they are good swimmers, it allowed them to relax and float around instead of having to actively swim. We also brought a snorkel mask, and they were able to see fish.
Even later in the summer, the water was pretty cold! There were some other people there, but it wasn’t too crowded to enjoy the swimming hole. There are deep parts, some parts where water rushes over rocks, and slippery rocks, so be careful if you are there with littler kids.
Further up the falls, there is a large shallows area. This is great for littler kids, even toddlers, to hang out. There were plenty of parents with very young children, and they had brought chairs and inflatables for the kids to sit on. In some spots, the water was only an inch or so deep.
As you go further up, there are deeper spots and a waterfall that you can go behind. There were places where older kids and adults were jumping off high ledges. My husband took the kids up behind the waterfall, which was a cool experience.
A few things that might be good to bring:
~ picnic blanket and food
~ water shoes (some rocks are slippery)
~ goggles or snorkel if you want to do some swimming
~ life vest for younger kids if you think they can use it (my 7 and 9 year old are on swim team, but it was nice to have a backup for deeper areas so they could just float and relax, and not have to actively swim)
~ bug spray? I didn’t notice bugs when we were there, but it is wooded around the water
Look up the directions so you know how to get there, or use an app like Google Maps to make sure you find your way.
We had fun at the swimming hole, and it is nice to hang out there for a while, swimming, wading, and relaxing.