Where to Swim Near Winston-Salem

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Where to Swim Near Winston-Salem

It’s no secret that summers in North Carolina are hot. Luckily, you do not have to go that far from the city to cool off in a river, lake, watering hole, or waterfall. Keep reading to find out where to swim near Winston-Salem! 

Updated August 2023


Carrigan Farms 

1261 Oakridge Farm Hwy, Mooresville, NC 28115

Carrigan Farms is a great summer day trip. Cool off in the quarry, grab a bite to eat at their restaurant, and enjoy nature! No outside food or beverage is allowed, but they do have a restaurant.

Important to know:

  • You must make a reservation
  • All guests must wear a lifejacket unless they have passed the Carrigan Farms swim test
  • Cash and check only at their restaurant 
  • No pets


Hanging Rock Lake 

2847 Hanging Rock Park Road Westfield, NC 27053

Hanging Rock has more than just hiking. Head to Hanging Rock’s lake for a relaxing afternoon by the water. Swimming in the lake is available only during the summer months and the diving board is only open when an attendant is on duty. They also have canoeing and kayaking rentals available. 

Important to know:

  • Fee charged for all swimmers. Free swim from 5:00pm to 5:45pm.


Lake Norman State Park

759 State Park Road Troutman, NC 28166

Hike, fish, boat, and swim at Lake Norman State Park. The swim area includes a 125-yard-long sand beach, parking area, and bathhouse with a concession stand, restrooms, changing stalls, warm showers, and lockers. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. Rent a canoe, pedal boat, kayak, or paddleboard to explore the water. These are available for rent 9 AM – 3 PM on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Important to know:

  • There is a fee (cash only) when a lifeguard is on duty. 


Shacktown Falls at Shore-Styers Mill Park 

1400 Styers Mill Road Yadkinville, NC 27055

If you are looking to just get your feet a little wet and enjoy nature, this is your spot. Located about 30 yards from the parking lot, this waterfall is the perfect place to cool off. The waterfall is only about 10 feet high but is across a very wide stream with a large water flow (depending on the amount of rainfall). 

Important to know: 

  • Bring a towel or chair to sit on and water shoes



Carter Falls

921 Pleasant Ridge Road, Elkin, NC 28621

Carter Falls is accessible by a 0.5-mile trail from a parking lot. There are 4 trails we recommend to reach the falls (Carter Falls Trailhead, Byrd’s Branch Campground, Grassy Creek Vineyard Trailhead, and Isaac’s Trailhead). Swimming is allowed, but be cautious and use your best judgment – especially with little ones – as rocks can get slippery. Use this map from Elkin Valley Trails! 

Important to know:

  • This hike is popular, so be prepared to see crowds on a Saturday afternoon.


River Park at Cooleemee Falls (The Bullhole)

645 Erwin Temple Church Rd, Woodleaf, NC 27054

This park is perfect for chilling in a tube or just playing in the water. You can even “ride” the little rapids. After swimming, enjoy laying on the sandy beach! Be sure to bring your water shoes as the rocks are slippery and the water’s floor is rocky!

Important to know:

  • The current can be strong 
  • There are restrooms 


Stone Mountain Waterfall

3042 Frank Parkway Roaring Gap, NC 28668

Even though you can’t swim here, the shallow water is perfect for kiddos to splash their feet. End your Stone Mountain hike at the waterfall and enjoy cooling off or skip the hike altogether and head straight to the water attraction. The waterfall is very close to the “upper trail” parking lot. 

Important to know:

  • There is a massive staircase to get to the lower part of the waterfall



Salem Lake 

10001 Salem Lake Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27107

Salem Lake is known for biking/walking/running the 7-mile loop but you can always take advantage of the actual lake. Although you can’t swim in Salem Lake, we recommend renting a kayak for just $4/hour or a Jon-Boats for $6/hour.

Important information to know:

  • Inflatable Kayaks, Canoes, SUP’s are allowed pending an inspection of the Salem Lake staff.                                           
  • No inflatable rafts/tubes or designs that cause persons to have body parts in the water are allowed.                                     


Dan River

If you are looking to just float in a tube, check out the Dan River -a 214-mile long river spanning both Virginia and North Carolina. There are a variety of activities to do including trails, camping, tubing, and more! Check out the following outfitters to book your next tubing adventure. 

Dan River Campgrounds 

General Dan Tubing 

Three Rivers Outfitters 

Dan River Company


Yadkin River

The Yadkin Pee Dee River Trail, which spans across several counties in North Carolina, offers the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the area by kayak or canoe. Beginning east of W. Kerr Scott Reservoir in Wilkes County, the trail winds through the charming town of Elkin before continuing toward Winston-Salem. From there, the route extends southward along the boundaries of Davie, Rowan, and Davidson counties, culminating at the entrance to High Rock Lake. You can check out all the access points and helpful information here and on the Yadkin River Keeper website. For tubing adventures and more, check out the following outfitters.

North Carolina River Riders 

Rocky Forest River Run 

Foothills Outdoor Adventures 


Lake Hampton

1200 Crystal Lane Yadkinville, NC 27055

Lake Hampton, located in Yadkinville, has 140 acres of beautiful water – perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.  Note – swimming is not allowed at Lake Hampton. Other amenities at the park include a dog park, playground, disc golf course, shelters, restrooms and more.

Important to know:

  • The park hours vary, so check this website before heading there.
  • Single Kayaks $5 an hour or $30 for a day 
  • Double Kayaks & Jon Boats $10 an hour or $40 a day 


Public Pools & Splash Pads

If you are looking to stay close to home, check out a list of public pools and splash pads in the area on the City of Winston-Salem’s website


Happy Hills Plash Pad
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