You can go to the neighborhood pool or hit the community splash ground, but nothing says summer like playing in Mother Nature’s natural waterscapes. Here are 16 waterfalls, creeks and streams that your family can enjoy in the heat of Georgia’s summer.
Ellijay’s name is derived from Native American words meaning “many waters” and you can experience the many rivers of this beautiful city! Tube or kayak the Ellijay River, Cartecay River or the Coosawattee River. All three offer a combination of relaxation and fun!
Waterfall Swimming Holes
Watson Mill Bridge State Park. This place is known more for the natural water slides than the swimming holes, but it is SO MUCH fun that I couldn't leave it out (see the video below). It's great for kids and adults. Slide on your bum...or bring a floaty for the waves to the right.
Denton Branch Falls. It’s a short walk from the parking area to the falls. You can swim in a small pool and wade in the creek. It’s a bit shaded here so opt for the warmest of days.
Helton Creek Falls. We love playing in the pool of the falls. There is sun and shade, and large boulders for picnicking.
High Shoals Falls. This is the falls in Dallas – not the one in Helen (although that might work too; I just have not yet been myself.) A short walk with falls and a swimming hole. You can play in the creek and even climb to the creek feeding the falls.
Falls on Waters Creek. Also known as Dicks Creek Falls. You can play at the top and the bottom of the falls. The falls are right next to the parking lot in a secluded area. Be extra safe here because there is no cell service and you are far far far from any houses or businesses.
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Sue started her holiday weekend at the spa...we spent ours at #panthercreekfalls This was the first time the boys had been backpack camping and they killed it, doing their Fortnight dances the entire way. Lol. We scored the best camping spot possible, too. So much fun. So much!!! #hikingwithkids #campingday #backpackkid #waterfallsofinstagram #reilife #exploregeorgia #habershamcounty
Panther Creek Falls. This one takes a long hike, but it's worth it. I recommend an overnight to make it super special. 3.5 miles in gets you to a sandy beach, waterfall, and plenty of room to swim.
Creeks, Streams and River Swimming Holes
Amicalola River Trail. Slide the rocks, wade in the water, and spend an entire day relaxing. GORP pass needed.
Blanket’s Creek. It’s known primarily for mountain biking, but hikers are welcome. Follow the easy trail to the far left along the creek. It’s clean and shaded and tons of fun for kids.
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Love that our super secret swimming hole on the #EtowahRiver is completely empty even on the holiday. The boys are swimming, floating and having fun to their hearts content with water that is perfectly clear and the ideal temp. We might not leave. #AventuraLife #RiverFun #GaFamilyTravel #LabsOfInstagram
Gober Beach. An unassuming trail off a back-road in Ballground/Canton leads to a gorgeous swimming hole on the Etowah River, pictured above. There is parking, as this is a common put-in/pull-out space for kayakers and tubers. Our boys and pup love the rocky beach area, flowing stream and waist-deep pools.
Directions: From Exit 24 on I‐575 north of Canton, go south on Airport Road 0.5 mile to Ga. 5. Turn left on Ga. 5 and proceed 1 mile to East Cherokee Drive on right. Turn right and proceed 0.8 mile to river and launch area on left just before the small bridge.
Poole’s Mill. Slide the rocks, play in the creek and have a great time! There are restrooms and a playground on site.
Sweetwater Creek State Park. The Red Trail follows the creek with plenty of places for kids to play in. One of the best places is down stream of the ruins.
Raven Cliff Falls. You can’t play in the falls here, and the hike might be too far for some kiddos. Have no fear. Shortly after beginning the hike a gorgeous stream shows itself, with running water, bridges, resting spots and plenty of play spaces.
Talking Rock Park. Wade in the river and take it slow. My kids love using large rocks to change the path of the water (always careful to put them back.) There is plenty of picnic space, restrooms and a playground.
A few more gems…
The following are places on my bucket list. We haven’t been yet, so I can’t testify to them personally. I’ve included links and notes from my research. As we visit, I’ll update this article.
Blue Hole at Pigeon Mountain. Small but deep fed from a blue hole. Need a GORP pass. Great for kids.
Sea Creek Falls. Waterfall you can stand under.
Wildcat Creek. Rock sliding and swimming hole near a secluded and primitive campground.
Farmers Lake. Spring fed lake with gravel bottom. $5 for the day with restrooms and lifeguards. Even a diving board.
Holly Creek. First stop on a longer trail, Emery Creek. CCC swimming hole and waterfall. Some people jump the cliffs here, but be careful!!
Disclaimer: These worked for our family. Only you are the best judge as to whether or not it is right for your family. Whatever you do, just be safe. Watch for snakes, be careful on slippery rocks, put life jackets on your very young ones, and be respectful of Mother Nature.
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After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.