Beat the Heat: Best Sacramento Swimming Spots

By Leia Ostermann

Leia Ostermann
Leia Ostermann

With hellish temperatures forecasted for the next seven days, cooling off will be top priority for everyone on the grid.  Lucky for us Nor Cal has an abundance of secret swimming holes, river access beaches and natural pools for people looking for a little adventure.  (Full Disclaimer: Safety First. All of these listed Sacramento swimming spots are try at your own risk – life jackets and sunscreen are always encouraged!)


American River – Paradise Beach: Map it!

It’s Tuesday, you’re off work at 5 p.m. and it’s 104 degrees. You don’t have time to hike to your favorite swimming hole, you just want to submerge yourself in a big body of water after an hour of sweating at the gym. This sandy strip of river is perfect for a quick river dip, a weeknight swimming date or an adventure with your favorite furry friend.

Fun fact: This beach is one of the 10 most haunted places in Sacramento!

South Yuba – 49 Crossing: Map it!

For a more photogenic adventure, take Highway 49 to the South Yuba River crossing, hike up the trail across the bridge and discover countless rocky beaches, waterfalls and hidden pools to explore. This oasis of warm, crystal clear water is one of the most scenic places I’ve ever seen and a playground for the adventurous. In case this is important to you, this beach is also a destination for skinny dippers.

North Fork – Auburn Quarry: Map it!

The Quarry Trail is a three mile hike along the river, part of the Auburn State Recreation Area. You can meander along the river, check out the vistas and pop down the embankment for a quick dip along the way. There are porta potties along the route, climbers to watch in the quarry and a passing lane for horses. Just be careful here about water levels – the water can rise quickly and snatch away your shoes!

American River Float: Map it!

Sometimes you don’t want to relax ON a beach, you want to relax IN the water. Lucky for us, we have a real-life version of a lazy river right in our backyard. Stop by a CVS or Target, grab a water ring and hop in the water under the Guy West Bridge. A few hours later you can pop out at Paradise Beach or Sutter’s Landing, happy, sunburnt and water soaked.


If you need more recommendations, check out the lists compiled by Sacramento Magazine or KCRA-3, or one of my favorite blogs, Swimming Holes of California. And, as always, make sure you carry out your own trash when you’re enjoying the beautiful natural resources of the Golden State. #LeaveNoTrace


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  1. Ashley says

    Where was this last picture taken?! I must go.

    1. Leia Ostermann says

      Ashley – That shot was taken somewhere on the Yuba River. Stumbling upon these gems is the best part of water hole adventures!

      1. derreck says

        Looks like Oregon Creek off the Yuba google it

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