If the closest thing you’ve got to a pool or shore house is a hose and sprinkler, you’re in luck: The region has plenty of places to go for a cooling dip. Here are five worth discovering.
The first swim club (of sorts) opened at Linvilla in the 1930s, when Arthur Linvill scooped out a pond for his son. That swimming hole has evolved into two separate clubs, Knowlton and Hidden Hollow, each clandestinely located deep in a valley. The family-fun vibe is still intact: The baby pool is clover-shaped, the diving platforms soar up to 10 meters, the slides are twisty, the swim teachers have been there for decades. As for the snack bar, it serves up fare fresh from the farm. go here for: The August-only discounted membership. It’s just $195 per adult, which gets you access to both clubs. 598 Linvill Road, Media.
Bonus points for Jersey, which allows swimming in many of its beautiful park lakes. (The closest PA state park lake you can swim in is about two hours away.) Just over an hour from Philly, Lake Absegami is carved into the dense Pine Barrens and has water so clear, you can see little fish swimming by. A day here couldn’t be easier thanks to lifeguards, a calm shoreline, clean bathrooms, playgrounds, and a shack that rents chairs, umbrellas, and balls for the beach-volleyball court. Admission starts at $5 per vehicle. go here for: Summer-camp nostalgia. 762 Stage Road, Tuckerton.
Schuylkill Banks Kayak Tours
When you’re looking up from the river, our city takes on a new identity—the stone bridge arches resemble Paris, and the Fairmount Water Works feels like Venice’s Grand Canal. Hidden River Outfitters launches guided kayak tours under the Walnut Street Bridge; you’ll get 30 minutes of on-land instruction, all sorts of info about the river’s history, and an hour paddling around the banks. go here for: The moonlight tour—because there’s nothing better than a summer sunset on the water. Walnut Street Dock, Center City.
Quarry Swim Club
The original operators of this verdant New Jersey quarry hit a natural spring before WWI, let the basin fill up, and opened it as a private swim club in 1928. Today the 55-foot-deep emerald-hued water is always crisp and serene, and there’s plenty of fun to be had: The tubes are provided by the club, the trio of diving boards are bolted right into the soaring stone walls, and floating wooden platforms are made for diving games. Little ones can splash in the nearby pool. Non-members can get special passes; eight visits start at $120 for adults. go here for: The day. Bring ingredients and charcoal, and grill in the picnic grove. 180 Crusher Road, Hopewell.
Brandywine River Tubing
The Wyeths probably never grabbed a cooler and some friends and floated down the Brandywine on tubes. Which is their loss, because this is a great way to see Chester County’s pastoral scenery, especially for those who prefer slower speeds. Northbrook Canoe Company drops guests off at two river locations for two- or three-hour tours; bring your own food (you can rent a cooler there) and go at your own pace. go here for: If you want time with Fido, take a canoe—dogs are welcome on the trips. 1810 Beagle Road, West Chester.