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Soon, spring breezes will slowly give way to hot summer days, so it’s important to find a few cool refuges. While ice cream will do in a pinch, we’d rather dip toes in the freshwater lakes and rivers, even if it requires a short hike to get there. Or better yet, float down one of Oregon’s many scenic rivers—this way, we can enjoy ice cream while refreshing on some of the state’s most scenic waterways. Genius.

Lucky for us there are countless swimming holes and floating routes to enjoy throughout the summer months.

In Central Oregon, one of the most popular rivers to float is the Deschutes in Bend. It’s an easy river to access with multiple “put-in” spots and never leads you far from town. It drifts through the Old Mill District all the way to Drake Park, passing by the Les Schwab Amphitheater where they host free concerts on summer Sundays. Get some pointers on floating the Deschutes from Bend native Sarah McMurray.

In the Willamette Valley, the swimming hole at Alsea Falls stands out because of its tiered waterfall. It’s pretty enough to take a photo and just small enough to enjoy swimming beneath its falls.

Though there are countless water holes throughout the state, here are three classic spots that promise short hikes, natural waterslides and hours of summer fun. Check out Lake Creek, Oneonta Gorge and Opal Creek.

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