5 great Arizona swimming holes

Where to go for a cooling dip

MESA

Pebble Beach Picnic Area. Wade, drift, or watch tubers as they float down the Salt River. Catch shade under picnic ramadas. $4 per vehicle. On Bush Hwy., 71⁄4 miles southeast of State 87; www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto or 480/610-3300.

NEAR PARKER

Buckskin Mountain State Park. A bend in this mountain-lined stretch of the Colorado River gives plenty of beachfront. Kids like the sandy swim area, plus nearby playground. $8 per vehicle. 5476 N. State 95, 11 miles north of Parker; www.pr.state.az.us or 928/667-3231.

NEAR PATAGONIA

Patagonia Lake State Park. Cool off in the marked swim area or rent a rowboat to find your own nook along the reedy shores of the southern Arizona lake. $7 ($8 Sat-Sun in summer). 400 Lake Patagonia Rd., 7 miles southwest of Patagonia via State 82; www.pr.state.az.us or 520/287-6965.

NEAR SEDONA

Grasshopper Point. Refrain from jumping off the tall cliffs into this Oak Creek swimming hole. Ease into the icy pool or head upstream to boulder-hop among the mini rapids. $7 per vehicle. 2 miles north of Sedona on U.S. 89A; www.redrockcountry.org or 928/282-4119.

NEAR STRAWBERRY

Fossil Springs. The rewards for a 6-mile round-trip hike are views and the deep, cottonwood-shaded swimming hole. Bring ample water for the uphill trek back. Fossil Springs Trailhead is 4 3⁄4 miles west of State 87 on Fossil Creek Rd.; www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto or 928/474-7900.

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