Best Places to Cool Off

From natural swimming holes to man-made fountains, take the edge off the dog days of summer with our picks for the best places to cool off in the U.S.

Photo By: City of Chicago

Photo By: Missouri Division of Tourism

Photo By: Stockphoto.com/Aimintang

Photo By: Jen Davis

Photo By: Aimin Tang/iStock/Getty Images

Photo By: Noah's Ark

Photo By: Robert Thigpen

Photo By: William Thomas Cain/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Photo By: Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts

Photo By: Doug Kerr

Photo By: Wet ’n Wild Orlando

Photo By: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

Photo By: Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park

Crown Fountain, Chicago

Designed by Jaume Plensa, the Crown Fountain in Chicago's Millennium Park consists of two 50-foot glass brick towers facing each other across a black granite plaza. LED screens project the faces of smiling Chicago residents who take turns spurting water into the 1/8th-inch deep reflecting pool.

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, Missouri

Play in the shallows of the East Fork of the Black River or shoot through "Mother Nature's hydraulics" in the natural swimming holes at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park in Middle Brook, Mo.

Ohiopyle State Park, Pa.

Cool off on the natural waterslides, courtesy of Mother Nature, the Youghiogheny River Gorge and thousands of years of erosion.

Central Park, NY

Who says you can't keep cool in the city? Park yourself alongside the Bethesda Fountain in Central park or take to the Lake in a rented rowboat from Loeb’s boathouse.

Robert H. Treman State Park, NY

Take a dip in the stream-fed pool beneath the 115-foot Lucifer Falls, at Robert H. Treman State Park in the Finger Lakes.

Noah's Ark Water Park, Wis.

Families visiting Noah's Ark, America's largest water park, have more than 51 exhilirating slides and two giant wave pools from which to choose.

Blue Hole Regional Park, Texas

Picture yourself plunging into Blue Hole from a rope swing... This good ol' fashioned Texas swimming hole became a 126-acre regional park in 2005.

Delaware River, NJ

Flowing for 330 miles from New York through Pensylvannia, families typically float down the Delaware River from Frenchtown, NJ, where they rent tubes, canoes, kayaks or rafts.

Schlitterbahn Water Park, Texas

Opened in the heart of Texas Hill Country in 1966, Schlitterbahn now has bragging rights to the world's tallest water slide, Verrückt. However, it hasn’t sacrificed its family-first atmosphere, such as allowing visitors to bring their own picnics into the park.

Lareau Swimming Hole, Vt.

Cool, green water from the Mad River flows into deep ponds and gentle rapids at Lareau Swim Hole. With multiple depths, it's a popular spot for all ages, easily accessible from Waitsfield, Vt.

Wet 'n Wild Water Park, Orlando, Fla.

Minutes from Universal Orlando, Wet 'n Wild has the requisite lazy river and wave pool expected of any water park worth its salt. New thrill rides, like the Aqua Drag Racer where visitors can go head-to-head in four lanes of high-speed slides, attract thrill-seeking crowds.

Waterfalls, Hawaii

From Maui to Kauai to O'ahu, Hawaii boasts plenty of hiking trails to explore. Once you reach the end of the trail, take a dip in one of the cool, refreshing swimming holes before heading back down the mountain.

Brownstone Park, Conn.

This adventure center in Portland, Conn., provides an adrenaline-pumping plunge into the water from a zip line. Spend the rest of the day rock climbing, cliff jumping, swimming, kayaking and more.

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