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Rope Swing Swim

From The Blog Local's guide: Summer swimming holes

Woodstock insights Jump right in...

Summer in Vermont is a time for swimming holes. No matter whether the sun is high overhead – shadows hiding beneath your feet – or glowing red-gold along the tree-line, the water beckons. If you’re seeking relief from the heat, a bit of relaxation, a diversion, or family-friendly fun, read on for our list of best swimming holes in and around Woodstock!

Remember that many of these swimming spots are unsupervised, so check conditions and swim with caution!

Ottauquechee River spots in Woodstock Village

Season: swimmer's discretion

Dog friendly: Yes 

This fresh, often-cool river snakes through the town proper, offering drop-in spots that are easily walkable from the center of the village. Depending on what experience you’re looking for, take your pick from these access points:

Back lawn of the Woodstock History Center, view of Middle Covered Bridge
A sweet river spot in view of Middle Covered Bridge
  • Lawn of the Woodstock History Center: A rocky entrance to a shallow portion of the river, best for wading – with fabulous views of Middle Covered Bridge!
  • Elm Street Bridge: Walking across the wrought-iron bridge toward Billings Farm & Museum, you’ll notice the breathtaking views of the river below – and if you’re looking closely enough, a path down! Hint: it’s on the right, just past the bridge. This entrance is steep, but a trip down to the water affords a refreshing and picturesque spot to splash around, with more privacy than some other in-town swimming holes, as this part of the river is mostly lined by private residences. Here, it’s deep enough to swim freely and a large boulder is a great for jumping in!
  • Between the Woodstock Recreation Center and the Little Theater: Great for family, with a sandy beach and waist-deep water (please note the deeper portions are rocky). There are also small rapids that are fun to navigate on inner tubes.
Beach near Rec Center
Katie Berdan
Beach accessible between Rec Center and the Little Theater

Ottauquechee River spot In Taftsville, 3.6 miles from Woodstock’s Center

Season: swimmer's discretion

Dog friendly: Yes

Not far from the historic Taftsville Covered Bridge, adventures looking for a more thrilling splash will find a rope swing on Old River Road. Swing from the long, knotted rope or step down a rocky slope to reach the wide, calm channel of water. As a caution, swimmers should test the depth of the water before jumping from the swing.

Kedron Valley Inn Pond
Kedron Valley Inn Pond

Kedron Valley Inn Pond, 4.7 miles from Woodstock’s Center

Season: June through September from 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Pricing: Waived for 2020 (previously $4 for adults, $3 for children over 12, kids under 2 are free)

Dog friendly: Pets are permitted to stay at the Inn, but cannot use the pond

Surrounded by a soft, grassy lawn, this two-acre pond is spring-fed and well worth a visit! For a small fee, bring your family to this private oasis with a sandy beach, water-side loungers, and a sunning float at the pond’s center. Located at 4778 South Road, South Woodstock, VT 05071.

Quechee Gorge, 9 miles from Woodstock’s Center

Season: swimmer's discretion

Dog friendly: Yes

Hike down a well-trodden path off the Quechee Gorge Bridge for the next swimming spot on our list! Depending on the day, you likely won’t be the only swimmer in this popular tourist area, but the fast-moving, cool water, rocky outcroppings, and gorgeous view of the bridge from below guarantee a unique experience that’s well worth your time. The water is often deep and fast-moving so use caution.

Quechee Gorge
"Quechee Gorge" by SnapsterMax is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Quechee Gorge

Silver Lake State Park, 10.8 mi. from Woodstock’s Center

Season: For 2020, parks opening June 26 (standard season is Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, 10 AM to sunset)

Pricing: $4 for adults (14+), $2 for children (4-13), kids 3 and under are free

Dog friendly: Not on the beach, but dogs are permitted elsewhere in the park

Just beyond Barnard’s center, this gem is nestled in the trees and offers a pristine lake beach experience. The lake itself is 84-acres and closed to motor boats, guaranteeing a peaceful experience. For a small parking fee, you’ll have access to a sandy beach perfect for small children, snack bar, bathroom facilities, picnic tables, and a playground. Located at 20 State Park Beach Rd, Barnard, VT 05031.

Silver Lake State Park Beach
The soft, sandy beach at Silver Lake State Park
Martins Mill Covered Bridge
"Martins Mill Covered Bridge" by JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Martins Mill Covered Bridge, your landmark to a spectacular swimming hole

Martins Mill Covered Bridge, 10.9 miles from Woodstock’s Center

Season: swimmer's discretion

Dog friendly: Yes

spanning Lull's Brook on Martinsville Road in Hartland, the 19th century covered bridge is your landmark for locating our next swimming hole! Out of sight of those traveling the dirt road, this fresh-water oasis is only for the sure-footed who don’t mind a steep walk and a bit of rock scrambling. Pass over an old foundation and you’re there: a sure-to-be peaceful spot that you’ll likely have all to yourself. The bottom of the pool is mostly sandy with some larger rocks, surrounded by small waterfalls that’ll make you feel miles away from civilization.