America's Best Swimming Holes

red canoe on scenic Redfish Lake in Stanley, ID
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George and Monserrate Schwartz/Alamy

Nature’s swimming pools are key to beating the summer heat. Fortunately, you’ll find them everywhere, from New York to California.

Redfish Lake, Stanley, ID

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In an area where salmon outnumber people, Redfish Lake, outside Stanley (population: 50), is a jaw-dropping example of why you explore the backcountry. Legend has it, there were once so many sockeye salmon spawning in the lake that it appeared red. Hence the name. Now it’s better known for its vast bird population, including peregrine falcons and songbirds like yellow-flecked Townsend’s warblers and ruby-crowned kinglets. Laze on the north-shore beach for staggering views of the snowcapped Sawtooth Range reflected in the pristine waters. Once you’ve been here, the words “untouched wilderness” will have a whole new meaning.—Alice Bruneau

red canoe on scenic Redfish Lake in Stanley, ID

America's Best Swimming Holes

Redfish Lake, Stanley, ID

In an area where salmon outnumber people, Redfish Lake, outside Stanley (population: 50), is a jaw-dropping example of why you explore the backcountry. Legend has it, there were once so many sockeye salmon spawning in the lake that it appeared red. Hence the name. Now it’s better known for its vast bird population, including peregrine falcons and songbirds like yellow-flecked Townsend’s warblers and ruby-crowned kinglets. Laze on the north-shore beach for staggering views of the snowcapped Sawtooth Range reflected in the pristine waters. Once you’ve been here, the words “untouched wilderness” will have a whole new meaning.—Alice Bruneau

George and Monserrate Schwartz/Alamy
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