I love to swim and will take a pool any day and twice on Sundays if that's all there is. And I'm not down on pools; I don't want to sound like that. But I've always preferred swimming...alternatively, let's say.

First, let's clear out anything that could bite or is poisonous--I'm looking at you, any and all snakes. But my favorite places to swim are lakes or big rocky swimming holes, like where we used to go when we went on vacation out west in New Mexico.

And guess what? If that's how you roll, too, you don't have to travel 1,000-plus miles to enjoy swimming like that; there are sensational swimming holes right here in Kentucky.

THE QUARRY IN LAGRANGE

Just northwest of Louisville, in LaGrange, Kentucky, you'll find The Quarry. I visited many years ago when one of my best friends was living in Louisville and we went for a drive around the rural parts of Jefferson and surrounding counties. Who knows? You might befriend a paddlefish, discover an old pay phone, or maybe a car underwater.

And, of course, you HAVE to do THIS, right?

Although the swimming season will be over, you also need to visit The Quarry in the fall. And bring a picnic; there's nothing like hanging out by the water on a beautiful 70-degree day.

CLIFTY CREEK AT LAKE CUMBERLAND

Over at Lake Cumberland, there's so much to do, you might not have TIME to swim at Clifty Creek. But I bet you make time, anyway. I also bet you'll be camping or enjoying cabin living.

And while this story is all about great swimming holes in Kentucky, remember that Lake Cumberland stretches into Tennessee. Again, there's SO much to do at this beautiful "Kentuckessee" attraction.

RATLIFF HOLE & POOL POINT AT BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK

Now, let's head northeast away from Cumberland into Patty Loveless territory. In fact, there's a Patty Loveless Drive that runs right through the heart of Elkhorn City (it's in Pike County, and Patty was born there), which is our next stop. Get your swimming gear together and get ready for Ratliff Hole and Pool Point at Breaks Interstate Park. This looks like so much fun.

This would already get a high rating from me just because it's right in the middle of Kentucky Appalachia, but then there's swimming...and THIS, which I want to do right now.

I really need to visit eastern Kentucky more often. It is just beautiful. Of course, it's also a HAUL--no quick jaunts to Pike County, certainly. But, I love to drive, and this would be totally worth it. Oh, one more thing--well, maybe more than one. These guys kind of wrap up or Ratliff Hole/Pool Point discussion by "filling out" a possible weekend getaway with some other really cool activities. Check this out:

So does it sound like I have swimming on the brain? Well, I do, and not just because we're in the middle of a heat wave. I love to swim and will take it any way I can get it, but my preference is the type of "venue" I've been describing.

Have a safe and happy summer.

[SOURCE: Kentucky Tourism]

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