In my quest to discover and explore all of the free fun in Durham we checked out a local swimming hole some friends have been telling us about. Last week we had a few days of considerable rain fall, which was nice because the temperatures were hitting triple digits, so it seemed a good time for a dip. West Point on the Eno is a large city park sprawling the Eno River. There’s a lot of fun stuff to check out. A working mill based on the original mill that was operating for nearly 200 years, as well as a gift shop where you can buy stuff made in the mill. A blacksmith shop, amphitheater, and even nature trails. I really wanted to see the Hugh Mangum Photography Museum which is housed behind the Mccown-Mangum House in the old tobacco packhouse. Unfortunately the museum was closed, but there was a pretty garden we got to explore right behind the Mccown-Mangum house.

There’s some beautiful artwork in the garden, as well as pretty selection of flowers and veggies growing in the beds. They also had some beehives set up, which we of course kept a safe distance from out of respect for the bees and my slight apprehension about things that fly and buzz.

We stopped by the picnic shelter for lunch. It looks like an old building that’s been converted to a shelter, and it has bathrooms below the picnic area and a grill. It’s available for rent for parties and such. If we didn’t already have plans for Julia’s birthday party I would definitely look into renting it.

Real talk: this “swimming hole” we were told about was little more than a creek. And even with all of the rain it wasn’t much a creek at that. The water was muddy and still, but there were tons of people and kids there. I went to college at West Virginia University and I fell in love with swimming holes while in the Mountain State. But I’m used to swimming holes that are just deep spots in large creeks. The ones with waterfalls are super awesome. This one looks like it might be comparable to that with at least two more feet of water. The kids had a great time and we’re told it gets better as summer goes on, so we might check it out again.

Julia spent her time on the banks watching her older siblings play. I get that. I’m just weirded about by most water that isn’t clear and in a contained area. Pools. I like pools.

Do you have a favorite swimming spot in your area?

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  • I love free summer fun! The swimming hole looks like so much fun – though I’m like you and am a little apprehensive about non-clear chlorinated water haha. We have a beautiful park that has a large lake in it, but you’re not allowed to swim in it. I love to go there in the summer though with my dog because it is so pretty. I wish we had somewhere free that we could swim though, because I love swimming and tanning!

    • I love free swimming, I just wish there were more free pools around here. Most of my family in northern Virginia has pools in their backyards we could swim in, but down here in Durham all we have is our ten foot inflatable pool. The kids have a blast but I think I probably look a bit silly sitting up to my waist in it. But that’s okay, I’m usually holding a Long Island and hoping my neighbors don’t come into their backyards.

  • Aw, these are such great photos and it seems like it was a fun day for the kids! Also, I’m a fan of little swimsuits with tutus :) I miss the creeks down in the south! Growing up in Georgia, I remember walking to the neighborhood creek with friends and how fun & adventurous it was despite the fact that it was so tiny.

    • Thanks so much. I do love Julia’s tutu swimsuit. She had a similar one last summer that was turquoise that I was hoping she would fit in forever. I grew up in northern Virginia, but I went to college in West Virginia. I loved the swimming holes they had out there, definitely nothing like the suburban sprawl in NOVA.