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Sweet spots to go for a swim

The latest issue of National Geographic Adventure features Pancho Doll and his selection of some of the top swimming holes in America.

With Memorial Day marking the unofficial start of summer, it's time to starting thinking about simple pleasures like the joy of taking a plunge into a secluded swimming hole. The latest issue of National Geographic Adventure profiles Pancho Doll, a man who spends his life finding and writing about the nation's best swimming holes. He discusses some of the diving destinations on "Today." Check out a few of the sweet swimming holes below.

So what makes a perfect swimming hole?It's not the water; it's the rock. The best swimming holes have an architectural quality and depth and privacy.

Why are people drawn to swimming holes?It's because it's a complete experience, you jump in and you are part of nature.

Wakulla Springs, Florida.

Buttermilk Falls, Maine: It's a spur off of the Appalachian Trail -- three miles along a gorge that generations of New Englanders have visited. It's entirely wild. You could imagine yourself in the North Woods 100 years ago. Here above 45 degrees North Latitude the water is brisk, but the native "Mainiacs" love it.

New Haven River, Vermont: This spot is half hour south of Burlington, Vermont. There are two holes: upper hole is wide with comfortable rocks for sunning, lower is great for diving with a rock that hangs out and begs you to dive.

Lower Calf Creek, Utah: It's amazing the way life pops up at the bottom of these desert canyons. This stream has rock that is ground into soft sand and lush grass growing into the partial shade of tall canyon walls. It's so reverential, people whisper.

Wakulla Springs, Florida: This is part of a state park with glass bottom boat rides. There's an Olympic diving platform. The water is deep enough to stop an i-beam dropped end first. Local kids love to time their dives to send a tsunami of water over any visitor.

McCloud Falls, California: If the rivers could walk this would swagger. It is a gap in a ridge of volcanic rock from Mt. Shasta and has three "proud" falls. The upper pool is big enough for lap swimming and the lower one is handicap accessible.To read more about swimming-hole sleuth Pancho Doll in the June/July 2003 issue of Adventure Magazine, and to find out detailed hiking and driving directions to Pancho's 15 favorite pools, visit: . You can also visit Pancho Doll's Web site: Day Trips with a splash: The American Swimming Hole --