Swimming in sunshine at the end of summer

August 10, 2011|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE |
  • The Tri-State area has several outdoor swimming areas. One popular site is Cacapon Resort State Park near Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
File photo

Swimming in a pool is nice for people who love the smell of chlorine and being able see a smooth, blue bottom. But for true summertime naturalists, swimming is meant to be in water that isn’t surrounded entirely by concrete.

As the countdown to school days and cooler temperatures begins, there are some places in the area where swimming includes the chance to look down to a bottom filled with pebbles and watch minnows dart between your toes. Here is a sampling of places to go lake swimming in the Tri-State area.

And as always, remember to practice water safety.

• Cunningham Falls State Park, off Md. 77, near Thurmont, Md. High up in the Catoctin Mountains, swimming at Cunningham Falls is perfect for someone who likes cool, mountain water.

The park has campsite and camper cabins available from April to October for anyone wanting to stay overnight at the park. But the must-see is the park’s namesake, a 78-foot waterfall, the largest cascading waterfall in the state.

The park also boasts several trails. Pets are allowed in certain areas, but go to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ website at for specific rules.

Admission costs $3 to $4 per vehicle.

• Greenbrier State Park, 21843 National Pike, Boonsboro. Although the 42-acre lake and beach are man-made, the scenery isn’t. The lake is perfect for swimming and the beach is spacious enough for comfortable sunbathing.

A lifeguard is on duty from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day. There are other activities available such as boating and fishing. There are even some hiking trails as well. Pets are allowed in certain areas, but go to for specific rules.

Admission costs $3 to $4 per vehicle; $5 per person on weekends and holidays.

West Virginia
• Cacapon Resort State Park, 818 Cacapon Lodge Drive, Berkeley Springs, W.Va. Located on U.S. 522 toward Winchester, Va., Cacapon is about 10 miles from downtown Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

A lifeguard is on duty when the beach is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on limited days — today through Sunday, Aug. 21; Saturday, Aug. 27, and Sunday, Aug. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 3 through Monday, Sept. 5. Dates might change depending on lifeguard availability.

The park also has hiking trails and horseback riding trails. Boating and fishing are also allowed. For more information, go to

Swimming costs $3, adults; $2 children. Fees may apply to other activities.

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