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Fancy a Dip? The Bay Area's Best Swimming Holes

Pack some local beers and cool off with with a swim at one of the Greater Bay Area's swimming holes.

Drive up Point Reyes Coast to Bass Lake for a 2.7-mile hike and a bathing-suit-optional, warm freshwater swim. For the adventurous, there's a serious rope swing. For those seeking relaxation, bring a plastic raft and doze on the lake.

If you'd prefer to head up to Sonoma County for the weekend, Sunset swimming hole (located in Sonoma County Sunset Park near Guerneville) is a great Russian River spot.  And if getting wet isn't your thing, bask on one of the sandy beaches.

Check out the North Fork of the American River, just outside of Auburn. Although the more challenging Middle Fork of the river is reserved for white-water rafting, the North Fork is quiet, clean, and pleasant for more daring hikers. Follow the North Fork trail to find Clark's Hole, which is a bit of a steep hike (and surrounded by rocky cliffs) but well worth the effort.

If you're willing to make the trek further upstate, closer to Mendocino/Ft. Bragg are the Roadside 128 and Philo swimming holes on the Navarro River. With campsites nearby, this is an excellent bet for getting away from some of the Bay Area holiday fervor for the weekend.

And let's not forget Tahoe. Make the drive to Squaw Valley to swim in the waterfall pools along the Shirley Canyon Trail, take a dip in the glacial Shirley Lake, or go tubing along the Truckee River if you're feeling more adventurous.