The Best Swimming Spots In The Catskills and Upstate New York

Everything you need to know about the the rivers, lakes and ponds here in upstate NY.

One of the primary joys of being in upstate New York or anywhere in the Catskills is that pristine swimming holes are everywhere. When you’re in New York City, you can’t just jump into the East River, but when you’re upstate every public body of water is an opportunity for a swim, fishing excursion (if you have a New York state license) or chill day by the water taking in the sun.

River rafting in the Delaware River

The most common water-based activities in the Catskills and upstate is river rafting. The Delaware River has a leisurely current that propels rafts at a fun speed with a few small rapids that induce a nice bit of adrenaline. One of the best parts about rafting the Delaware River is that you don’t just need to raft; there are various spots along the trip where you can jump out and swim or pull up to a large boulder and just hang out for the day. If you’re looking to raft, we recommend using Kittatinny, which has many launching and pick-up points along the river.

The Best Swimming Holes

  • Delaware River Access Point: Great place to go for swim, launch your raft, or just hang out on a rock as the Delaware River rushes through. Be careful though you’re in a rushing river with an incredibly strong current. You’ll also need river shoes and a life jacket! This is only a five minute drive from the farm.
  • Skinners Falls: A unique spot along the Delaware River filled with naturally-made swimming pools, river access and chill out points. If you go here, use these GPS coordinates and be sure to respect private property rights as you head over there.

Best Swimming Holes for Parents With Children

We have three recommendations for swimming in upstate New York and the Catskills with children: Sand Beach, Milford Beach and Lake Superior beach.

  • Sand Beach: This is 15 minute drive from Clearing Farm. Open seasonally, and a great place for kids to swim. There is a small admission fee but they have toys for kids, picnic tables, lounge chairs, and a restaurant.
  • Milford Beach: A life guarded swimming spot run run by the National Park Service. This has a grassy beach that runs right into the river.
  • Lake Superior Beach: Open late May to September. 9 a.m. to dusk. This is a great lake run by Sullivan County.

Another good option for children is the the Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark. While this is not an outdoor experience, it’s safe and fun option particularly for the little ones. Kartrite is located Monticello, New York, about 25 minutes from Clearing Farm.