School is back in session for many of us, and that marks the onset of the slow ebb of pool closings around town. But with several weeks of hot, hot days remaining, you still need to cool off, right? Here are some places to swim or at the very least dip your feet in the water even after pool season is over. From full body immersion to ankle-deep wading, Louisville has several great ways to keep that summer spirit alive, courtesy of Mother Nature.
Louisville: Best Places to Swim and Wade … in Nature!
Falling Rock Park
2201 Fendley Mill Road, La Grange, KY 40031
Located about 20 minutes north of town in La Grange is Falling Rock Park, otherwise known as The Quarry, which was opened to the public in 1996 by Joe Clark. Originally intended to be used as a park, as well as a practice and training facility for divers, this beautiful swimming hole is filled only with rainwater (no runoffs), making it some of the cleanest in the area. And because it’s filled only with rainwater, it took 15 years to be completely filled. Falling Rock Park is ideal for a day getaway, but it’s only for ages 18 and older. Float around and take in the scenic surroundings—a day at the quarry is a sure way to get some sun, have some fun and meet some new people. Just remember the sunscreen. And no fishing or pets are allowed.
Hours: Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Cost: $10 per person to float; $15 per person for certified dives. To learn more, visit fallingrockpark.biz or call (502) 939-5049.
Big Rock Park
Located within the stunning Cherokee Park, Big Rock Park is one of the most beloved spots around. Visitors can enjoy a picnic in the pavilion or some play time on the children’s playground, but the big draw is that Beargrass Creek runs right through the park, making it ideal for a picnic and a wade. (You might see some people swimming, but that is not the norm and they might have just fallen in the creek.) After heavy rains there is sometimes a small, trickling waterfall, which can be seen on the way there. And while the Big Rock is the main attraction, the path to it requires walking on rocky and muddy ground, so sensible footwear is strongly suggested.
Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Cost: Free, open to the public. For more information, visit facebook.com.
The Parklands of Floyds Fork
4002 South Pope Lick Road, Louisville, KY 40299
Tucked away in the southeast area of the city lies the picturesque Parklands of Floyds Fork, which is actually four parks connected along Floyds Fork stream. This massive property is brimming with both flora and fauna, making it an ideal getaway from the chaos of the city, and it’s only about 20 minutes from downtown. Get wet at the spray park or wade in one of the many beautiful creeks and streams of Floyds Fork. With four parks, a playground, bike rentals, canoeing, biking and hiking trails, it’s a great place for the whole family to explore. Pack a lunch and some snacks to make a day of it.
Hours: Dawn to dusk, seven days a week. Cost: Access is free; bike rentals start at $8. There are no canoe rentals, so bring your own. For more information, visit theparklands.org or call (502) 584-0350.
4220 South Park Drive, Louisville, KY 40219
The Southside Quarry is a fun and fresh way for adults (21 and older only!) to swim on the weekends. Visitors can enjoy a lunch on the picnic tables, or spend the day sunning on the floating platforms and diving off the rocks. There is even musical entertainment on occasion. A private property, an invitation is required to enter. However, all that entails is “liking” their Facebook page. It can get crowded, so arrive early, and make sure to bring something to float on (noodles or rafts) and water shoes—the gravel can tear up your feet.
Hours: Saturday and Sunday only, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. On holiday weekends, such as Labor Day, it is open on Mondays too. Cost: $10. For more information, visit facebook.com.
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