As you’re likely aware, Jack Adams is based in beautiful Portland, Oregon. With Mount Hood at our doorstep and rivers running through and bordering our fair city, we’re awash in choices for taking a dip on hot summer days.
Rather than meet at the neighborhood swimming pool, however, most of us opt for a dip in chilly swimming holes outside of town. These secluded spots occasionally offer quiet nooks where swimmers can wade, cannonball, and dive in peace to beat the scorching summer heat. And while our favorite secrets spots have been outed in recent years, the swimming holes nevertheless remain a favorite spontaneous getaway when the temperatures rise.
If you’re looking for your own aquatic escape this summer, here’s a primer on when to go, what to know, and how to swim in style.
Know When to Visit Swimming Holes
Here in Portland, our swimming holes fill up early and often on sunny weekends. Check out one of the more popular swimming holes at 3 p.m. on a Saturday, and you won’t have enough room to cannonball.
Our recommendation: Ditch work, and ditch the crowds. (In our esteemed opinion, you could use an afternoon to, uh, get over that lingering cold you’ve been battling all week.)
Head out on a weekday, when most of us are toiling away behind a desk, and you might have that favorite swimming hole all to yourself. If you can’t get sneak away midday, try a quick post-work swim, when temperatures are still at (or near) their warmest.
Be Careful Around Swimming Holes
We hate to sound like your mother, but her instincts were correct: Be careful!
Swimming holes, popular as they are, come rife with danger. Here’s a quick checklist of hazards and risks to watch for:
- Before you dive in, do a quick scan: How deep is the water just offshore? (We recommend swimming around for a few minutes before committing to your first dive. Use this time to look for jagged rocks, shallow spots, and other potential hazards.)
- Do empty beer cans (and their serrated edges) pose any hazards?
- Is the water too cold to swim in?
- Are you at risk if you slip off a diving spot?
- How safe are any rope swings that might be present?
Look to State Parks for Underrated Swimming
Every town has its own “secret” spot that’s undoubtedly been covered by the likes of Thrillist or the local alt-weekly. If you’re unsure where to go, peruse your county or state parks for suggestions. Here in Oregon, we’re lucky enough to have numerous parks within an easy drive that offer ample swimming and lounging opportunities. (Best of all, these parks usually provide notices about what’s safe and what’s not.)
If you can get past the occasional crowds and screaming kids, you’ll feel refreshed in no time.
When in Doubt, Find a Community Swimming Pool
If you’re worried about diving headfirst into a rock or don’t know where to start, there’s nothing wrong with heading to the community swimming pool. If it’s warm enough to swim, odds are good your town or city hosts a pool that’s safe and staffed by lifeguards.
Fair warning: Community pools are popular with parents and their kids, so you may face stiff competition for the waterslide—even on workdays. Our best suggestion: Aim for something earlier in the day, before kids are overheated—or later in the day, when most families are preparing for dinner.
Get the Right Gear
The pairs are made from a microfiber fabric that feels like velvet and dries quickly—perfect for these hot summer days—and both stay in place when you get out of the pool.