Summer in the Southwest can get a little sweaty. And while we’re definitely huge fans of fancy resort pools, sometimes Mother Nature’s swimming holes can’t be beat.
- Slide Rock State Park Forget waterparks—this state park seven miles north of Sedona offers the best waterslide we’ve ever seen. Jump in the water at the top and allow yourself to be carried down the smooth, red-sandstone water slide and over the surface into a swimming hole below. Repeat.
- Heron Lake State Park Nestled among the tall pines of northern New Mexico, Heron is one of the few lakes to be designated a “quiet lake,” which means boats must operate at no-wake speeds only. Because no one ever said, “My, that Jet Ski noise sure is relaxing.”
- The San Juan River Beginning in Bluff, Utah, take a float through the canyons carved from ancient sandstone and tackle a few light rapids while you’re at it. The 27-mile stretch from Bluff to Mexican Hat, Utah, can be done in one day or broken up into a multiple-day trip. You can raft the river on your own if you have a BLM permit, but we always recommend floating with a guide to lessen the stress.
- Vallecito Lake A quick jaunt from our hometown of Durango, Colorado, Vallecito is a favorite of Dorado staff. At an elevation of 8,000 feet, this serene mountain lake offers ample opportunities for fishing, boating or just floating on an inner tube and drinking a beer. (We’re fans of all three.)