For a totally exhilarating stop on a journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway, stop off and strip down at Sliding Rock, 7 miles off the parkway. Propelled down this natural 60ft slide of smooth, gently sloping granite by 11,000 gallons of cool stream water per minute, bathers splash into a pool that’s up to 8ft deep; swimming skills are essential. If possible, time your visit to avoid the noon-to-4pm crowds.
Lifeguards are present daily in summer, on weekends in fall. When they’re not, changing rooms and restrooms are closed, and you should be very wary of entering the water.