Jump In: Great Swimming Holes Around the World - Modern Farmer

Jump In: Great Swimming Holes Around the World

Modern Farmer takes a dive into three of the most epic swimming holes around.


Upstate New York


If you’re preparing to make the 24-foot dive at Fawn’s Leap in upstate New York this summer, start by making camp in Tivoli, a hamlet near Modern Farmer’s headquarters. From here, head across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge (over the Hudson River) and take in views of the Catskill Mountains. Keep an eye out as you drive along Route 23A for Tannersville and Haines Falls, and park on any open shoulder between the Circle W Market and Haines Falls Auto. Follow the trail south to the river. You’ll first arrive at (the unfortunately named) Rat Hole, a popular stop. Test the waters before hiking the quarter mile to your real destination: the big leap. “Typically, you jump from the top left of the falls,” says photographer Bryan Derballa, “but some locals climb the tree to get even higher.” There’s no shame in wading, either.
– Caleb Pershan

Cucina (Woodstock): Set in a rambling farmhouse, Cucina has rustic but modern Italian fare.
Traghaven Whiskey Pub (Tivoli): Come here and choose between 70 varieties of Irish whiskey.

Madalin Hotel (Tivoli): Artist Brice Marden liked the old hotel so much he bought it. Built in 1909, it will reopen this summer.

(Rhinebeck): Check out Sawkille’s handcrafted Shaker benches, cabinets, beds and chairs.
Bluecashew Kitchen Pharmacy (Rhinebeck): A curated selection of tools, tableware and more.
Saugerties Lighthouse: You can walk the half-mile trail to the lighthouse/B&B from the Ruth Reynolds Glunt Nature Preserve.

Shoshone Falls, Idaho


This swimming hole, located near Shoshone Falls – the most popular tourist attraction in Idaho’s high desert – is a surprise, considering it’s only a 10-minute drive off the dusty landscape of Route 93.

This area of Idaho is called Magic Valley because of the seemingly “magical” transformation from inhospitable desert to fertile farmland after the construction of irrigation canals and dams.

The lake has cannonball-worthy cliffs, and, according to photographer Kyle Johnson: “It has some really long stretches of water set next to the amazing desert landscape. This shot was taken after a group of kids jumped off the highest rock.”
– Tyler LeBlanc

Burnt Lemon Grill (Twin Falls): A local favorite, pop in after a swim for a gut-busting 3⁄4-pound, pastrami-topped burger and a glass of burnt lemonade – yes, that’s right, they burn the lemons before squeezing them.

Miracle Hot Springs (Buhl): After a long day of cannonballing, relax in one of Miracle Hot Springs’ Mongolian-style yurts. If you’re still feeling aquatically adventurous, take a dip in the private springwater pools on site.

Hagerman Fossil Beds (Hagerman): Discover more than 200 fossilized species, including saber-toothed cats and ground sloths who used to roam these parts.
Tubbs’ Berry Farm (Twin Falls): This family-owned farm offers seasonal berry U-picks, and sells its own honey alongside homemade balms and lotions.

Sumba, Indonesia


Sumba lies at the eastern end of the nearly 14,000 islands that make up the archipelago of Indonesia. Because it’s so hidden, exotic and far away, this swimming hole is almost mythical. To find it amid the dense jungle and empty beaches of Sumba, first fly to Bali and then take a boat or plane to the posh Nihiwatu resort on the south coast of the island.

Once there, follow a small gravel road away from the coast for about 10 miles until you reach a small parking area. Duck into the jungle and make your way along the small-but-open trail across a rickety old footbridge. Soon you’ll spot the magically clean water and see the nearby falls and the surrounding rocky outcrops. All that’s left to do now is JUMP IN!
– Tyler LeBlanc

Nihiwatu Destination Dining: Nihiwatu’s Nihi Oka Valley morning trek offers a breakfast hike through rice paddies and thick jungle – breakfast is served in a private treehouse overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Wavefront Restaurant: The Wavefront serves up locally sourced Indonesian meals. Be sure not to miss their catch of the day; recent offerings include Spanish mackerel and giant trevally.

Nihiwatu Resort: Five-star luxury with a conscience. Partially powered by local dried-coconut-meat biodiesel, this tropical palace is perched on the blindingly white Nihiwatu beachfront. With only 12 private guest villas, exclusivity is a guarantee.

Cooking Classes: Learn the intricacies of archipelago cooking with a private class at the resort.
Surfing Lessons: Grab a board and jump into the famous Nihiwatu left-hand break with surf legend Mark Healey.

(Photo credits, from top to bottom: Bryan Deballa, Kyle Johnson, Michael Turek.)

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