I love to swim and will take a pool any day and twice on Sundays if that's all there is. And I'm not down on pools; I don't want to sound like that. But I've always preferred swimming...alternatively, let's say.

First, let's clear out anything that could bite or is poisonous--I'm looking at you, any and all snakes. But my favorite places to swim are lakes or big rocky swimming holes, like where we used to go when we went on vacation out west in New Mexico.

And guess what? If that's how you roll, too, you don't have to travel 1,000-plus miles to enjoy swimming like that; there are sensational swimming holes right here in Kentucky.


And we might as well start with the first one that probably came into your mind--Land Between the Lakes. Yes, that's actually a pretty big swimming hole, but I'm talking specifically about Golden Pond.

Moss Creek is the "beach" section of Golden Pond, but as you saw, if you drive around the grounds you could encounter some buffalo that are just chilling out--it's how I like my life buffalo. Additionally, Golden Pond is not without its educational opportunities. (Skip to the 3:39 mark.)

[UPDATE: Moss Creek is currently closed due to tornado damage]


Once that weekend is complete, you can plan one at The Quarry in LaGrange, Kentucky. I visited many years ago when one of my best friends was living in Louisville and we went for a drive around the rural parts of Jefferson and surrounding counties. Who knows? You might befriend a paddlefish, discover an old pay phone, or maybe a car underwater.

And, of course, you HAVE to do THIS, right?

Although the swimming season will be over, you also need to visit The Quarry in the fall. And bring a picnic; there's nothing like hanging out by the water on a beautiful 70-degree day.


Over at Lake Cumberland, there's so much to do, you might not have TIME to swim at Clifty Creek. But I bet you make time, anyway. I also bet you'll be camping or enjoying cabin living.

And while this story is all about great swimming holes in Kentucky, remember that Lake Cumberland stretches into Tennessee. Again, there's SO much to do at this beautiful "Kentuckessee" attraction.


Now, let's head northeast away from Cumberland into Patty Loveless territory. In fact, there's a Patty Loveless Drive that runs right through the heart of Elkhorn City (it's in Pike County, and Patty was born there), which is our next stop. Get your swimming gear together and get ready for Ratliff Hole and Pool Point at Breaks Interstate Park. This looks like so much fun.

This would already get a high rating from me just because it's right in the middle of Kentucky Appalachia, but then there's swimming...and THIS, which I want to do right now.

I really need to visit eastern Kentucky more often. It is just beautiful. Of course, it's also a HAUL--no quick jaunts to Pike County, certainly. But, I love to drive, and this would be totally worth it. Oh, one more thing--well, maybe more than one. These guys kind of wrap up or Ratliff Hole/Pool Point discussion by "filling out" a possible weekend getaway with some other really cool activities. Check this out:

So does it sound like I have swimming on the brain? Well, I do, and not just because we're in the middle of a heat wave. I love to swim and will take it any way I can get it, but my preference is the type of "venue" I've been describing.

Have a safe and happy summer.

[SOURCE: Kentucky Tourism]

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

More From WBKR-FM