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California is a land of many waters, with rivers, lakes and oceans abounding. And while the coastline may not be as pristine as it once was, there are still plenty of places where you can take to the water with your family or friends without worrying about pollution. Here’s our list of 12 great swimming spots in California:
1. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is a perfect spot for swimming, boating and water-skiing. It’s also one of the deepest lakes in the United States at 1,645 feet (502 meters). It’s the 2nd deepest lake in North America and 3rd deepest in the world. The lake is located in California on the border between California and Nevada, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco.
It was formed by glaciers at least 16,000 years ago when much of Northern California was covered by ice sheets that blocked out all sunlight from reaching lower elevations. As these glaciers melted, they left behind large amounts of snowmelt which fed streams that flowed into Lake Tahoe over thousands of years as well as underground springs beneath its surface.
2. Yosemite National Park
You can find places to swim in Yosemite National Park, but they are mostly cold and deep. Since the water is so clear and clean, it’s worth the swim!
3. Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
The Borrego Palm Canyon Trail is a 5-mile round-trip hike that starts at the Borrego Palm Canyon Campground and leads to two slot canyons that are home to palm trees and other plants. There are several spots for swimming along the way, including at least one that requires climbing over rocks or wading through water (although you could also avoid it). The hike begins at a trailhead near campsite #8; there are no restrooms along this path so be sure to use facilities before setting out. Wear sturdy shoes—you’ll need them for climbing over rocks in some areas—and bring plenty of water as temperatures can climb above 100 degrees during summer months. It’s also recommended that you bring food, sunscreen, bug spray and any other items necessary for your personal needs as well as first aid supplies just in case something goes wrong on your trip down into these slots!
4. La Jolla Cove, San Diego
La Jolla Cove is a great place to swim. This picturesque cove is a popular tourist destination and a great place to see marine wildlife and sea caves. The water ranges in temperature from around 65 degrees F in the winter to 75 degrees F in the summer, which makes it ideal for swimming all year long.
The mild waters make La Jolla Cove an ideal location for children or those who are just starting out with their swimming skills because there aren’t any powerful waves or currents that could cause injury or drowning accidents. Also, since this beach has such calm waters you can relax on one of its many lovely sandy beaches while basking in the sun’s rays without having to worry about getting rained on by someone else’s umbrella!
5. Emerald Bay State Park, Lake Tahoe
Emerald Bay State Park is a must on your list of places to swim in California. This area is known for its beautiful views, and you’ll find that the water is crystal clear as well. It’s one of the most popular places for swimming in summer, and it’s also a great place to go for a swim during winter or spring when it’s not too cold or too warm outside. If you want an adventure, try hiking up to Eagle Falls—it’ll be much more fun if you’ve already swum!
6. Emma Wood State Beach, Ventura County
Emma Wood State Beach is a great place for swimming, surfing, fishing, hiking and camping. The beach has lifeguards on duty during summer months and at times of high surf. There are picnic tables available under shady trees as well as restrooms and showers nearby.
The campground host will direct you to the best tide pools or other areas most likely to have sea stars.
If you are not into camping but want to enjoy nature while away from home then this may be the place for you!
7. Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz
- Location: Natural Bridges State Beach is located in Santa Cruz, CA.
- What to expect: Natural Bridges State Park has a wildlife refuge and offers many activities. You can walk or ride bikes through the park, hike along the beach, or go horseback riding. The water is very cold but there are shallow areas where you can swim.
Bring your own sunscreen! You may want to bring a towel or blanket if you plan on lying out on the sand all day long. Also bring your own food because there aren’t many restaurants close by that sell food–the closest ones are about 2 miles away from the beach park entrance gate at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz County (where it’s not recommended for swimming).
Don’t forget your camera too! There are plenty of scenes here worth capturing on film so make sure you have one handy when visiting this location as well as plenty of storage space available
8. Topanga Beach, Los Angeles
Topanga Beach is located in Los Angeles, California. This beach offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and is a popular swimming spot for locals and visitors alike. The crystal clear water makes it easy to see what’s below you while you swim at this beach. The sand here is soft and smooth, so it’s great to walk on barefoot while you enjoy your time on this popular stretch of beach.
9. Alamere Falls, Point Reyes National Seashore
Alamere Falls is a waterfall in Marin County, California. It is located in Point Reyes National Seashore and is a popular hiking destination. The waterfall can be reached by following the Coastal Trail from the Bear Valley Visitor Center to Alamere Falls Overlook, which is accessible via a short hike from the parking lot.
To get to Alamere Falls, follow Highway 1 north toward Olema until you reach Highway 1 and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard intersection. Take Sir Francis Drake Boulevard west for approximately one mile until you reach parking lot on right side of road (following signs for Bear Valley Visitor Center).
10. China Cove and Gibson Beach, Big Sur
If you’re looking for a place to swim in California, these two beaches are worth checking out.
China Cove is situated on the coast of Big Sur, a popular destination for swimming. It’s an especially good choice if you’re looking for a more secluded spot where you can relax and catch some waves. Gibson Beach has its own unique charm: it’s known as one of the most dangerous places in California due to its strong currents and undertow, but this only adds to its appeal as an adventurous destination.
11. The Sea Ranch Lodge and Cottages, Sonoma Coast
The [Sea Ranch Lodge] is an amazing place to go swimming, hiking and bird watching. The lodge has a restaurant right on the water where you can enjoy fresh seafood and wine while enjoying views of the Pacific Ocean. If you’re looking for something more secluded than the lodge itself, there are some great cabins only a short walk from the beach or one mile up in elevation overlooking rugged cliffs.
The [Sea Ranch] is nestled between Point Arena and Stinson Beach on Highway 1 in Northern California. It’s a beautiful piece of land that feels like another world compared to urban San Francisco or Los Angeles just an hour south along Highway 101 (make sure you pack plenty of water!).
12. Little River Canyon Falls, Alabama.
At the top of this list for a good reason, Little River Canyon Falls is located in Alabama’s national park. With a variety of hiking trails and waterfalls to choose from, it makes for an exciting day trip.
The falls are known as one of the best swimming spots in the state, so bring your bathing suit!
There are many places to swim in California!
California is home to many natural swimming holes, and the Pacific Ocean is the perfect place for a refreshing dip on a hot day. But if you’re looking for something less salty and more natural, check out these unspoiled swimming spots.
Conclusion: Best places for swimming in California
I hope you enjoyed this post about the best places to swim in California!
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