Take a dip: Where to swim in the Catskills

Above: Belleayre Beach at Pine Hill Lake in July 2014. Photo by Jonathan Garin.

In the Catskills, there’s a secret swimming hole in almost every town. (If you ask nicely, a local may point you in the right direction.) Here are a few of the best known publicly accessible swimming spots, from lifeguarded beaches to swimming pools to blue holes in the wilderness.


BIG DEEP is a beloved woodsy swimming hole with a rope swing on the Saw Kill. East of town on Route 212 in Woodstock.

Above: Peekamoose Blue Hole. Photo by Tim Cox. 

PEEKAMOOSE BLUE HOLE, an icy cold, deep blue basin, is tucked into the woods near the border of Ulster and Sullivan counties. From Route 28A in West Shokan, go 10 miles southwest on County Road 42.

After a pleasant mile-long hike, dive into the pool at the base of VERNOOY KILL FALLS in Kerhonkson. Then dry off while perusing nearby ruins. (Upper Cherrytown Road. See also our article on Catskills waterfalls to visit.)


NORTH-SOUTH LAKE in Haines Falls has two beaches — North and South and is a great base of operations for exploring the high peaks and historic ruins of the Greene County Catskills, and one of the Catskill Park's most popular sites.

The 120-acre MONGAUP POND in northeastern Sullivan County is the biggest body of water in the Catskill Park, and offers boat rentals, swimming beaches and good fishing. In Livingston Manor, on Mongaup Pond Road.

In Pine Hill, the state-run BELLEAYRE BEACH’S white sand definitely isn’t local, but the vibe most assuredly is. Just off Route 28 in the Ulster county town of Shandaken.


MINE KILL STATE PARK in North Blenheim boasts an enormous Olympic-size pool, a wading pool and a diving pool.

Left: Mine Kill State Park's swimming pool. Photo via the Mine Kill State Park's website. 

Admission to the ANDES POOL (115 Delaware Ave., Andes, 845-676-4703), a public summer outdoor pool owned by the Delaware County town, is totally free.

This article originally appeared in the print version of the 2015 Catskills Outdoor Guide, our annual publication the Catskills outdoors. The Catskills Outdoor Guide is distributed across the Catskills region and at select locations in the NYC metropolitan area. Find a copy near you here.

Correction: Peekamoose Blue Hole is near the border of Ulster and Sullivan counties, not Ulster and Delaware counties. Thanks to Thomas Delehanty, the town clerk of the Ulster County town of Hardenburgh, for catching the error.