50 Best Swimming Lakes in the USA

Are there any swimming lakes near me – is one thing lake-lovers want to know – especially if they are visiting a new place or going on vacation to a new destination. If you love swimming in a lake and wondering about public swimming lakes near me, or natural swimming holes near me, we have complied a list of the best 50 swimming lakes accessible for swimming or just hanging out. Most of these lakes are free to visit and some might require just a minimal park entrance fee, but all of them offer some fun and excitement especially if you need to escape to somewhere secluded for a weekend.

Here is our list of top 50 best swimming lakes that could be near you!

1. Crater Lake Swimming Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake Swimming in Oregon – A trip to southern Oregon must include a visit to Crater Lake National Park and the amazing Crater Lake within that park.  This is one of the best swimming lakes in Oregon and it definitely wins for best location.  You will find this swimming lake in a crater from a volcano that erupted and collapsed around eight thousand years ago. And don’t be fooled into thinking this lake is not deep by how calm it looks. Exactly how deep is Crater Lake? It’s about 1949 ft (594m) deep and is the deepest lake in America. But it’s also one of the most beautiful lakes in the United States. It is surrounded by cliffs and is considered as the cleanest lake  and body of water in the entire world! 

Crater Lake Swimming Lake
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

 Swimming is allowed at the end of the Cleetwood Cove Trail.  This trail is just over a mile long and it opens to the public towards the middle of June each year.  There are no lifeguards on duty, so it is best to swim with others for safety reasons.  There is a fee to enter the park, and it is currently $30 during the summer months for cars.  Motorcyclists will pay $25 during the summer and bicyclists and pedestrians are $15 each.  If you are looking for lakes to swim in or just want to swim somewhere different, a visit to this lake is a must! And if you want to spend more than just a few hours, there is lodging and camping near Crater Lake. 

2. Lake Erie Swimming Lake, New York

Lake Erie Swimming in New York– The swimming lake within Lake Erie can be found inside Lake Erie State Park.  This best swimming lake is in New York and you can choose to visit the area for the day or camp there for up to fourteen days at a time.  There is no fee to go swimming at this swimming lake, but there is an entrance fee to the park.  Currently, that fee is $6 per vehicle during the summer months.  It is important to note that there are no lifeguards on duty at this swimming lake, so you must use caution when venturing out in the water on your own.

Lake Erie Swimming Lake
Credits: Counselman Collection, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

A few beaches along the nearby Lake Erie will have lifeguards, so you can always choose one of those for a safer experience.  If you are in New York and looking for a nearby lake to swim in, or searching for clean lakes near me, then this is the best lake to swim in! Other activities you can do while you’re in the area include biking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, fishing, golfing, and grilling. In the winter, you could add snowmobiling and snowshoeing to your list of things to do in Lake Erie. 

3. Norris Lake Swimming Lake, Tennessee

Norris Lake Swimming in Tennessee– This massive lake in eastern Tennessee is actually part of a community, so you will feel right at home if you venture there for a swim. We can say it’s a lake beach to swim in. Norris Lake is about 20 miles away from Knoxville, so if you’re around that area, this will be a great swimming lake in TN for you! 

Norris Lake, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

While you can spend your time at one of the many beaches, you may want to find one of the secluded coves for some swimming away from the crowds.  Just be aware that there are no lifeguards in every area of this lake, so you may be swimming on your own.  So if you’re in Knoxville and wondering about lake swimming near me, then this gorgeous lake should answer your question. And, if you’re into pictures, you’ll find that this lake is nestled on the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains, which makes it even more gorgeous. 

4. Lake Santeetlah Swimming Lake, North Carolina

Lake Santeetlah Swimming in North Carolina Lake Santeetlah is one of the most spectacular swimming lakes in North Carolina. It was created in 1928 and has 76 miles of shoreline.  You will find this swimming lake near the Indian Lakes Scenic Byway, which is approximately one hundred miles to the west of Asheville.  Approximately eighty percent of the seventy plus miles of the stunning shoreline can be found within the Nantahala National Forest, so you are practically guaranteed a tranquil experience during your visit. 

Lake Santeetlah
Credits: anoldent, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

The area that is best for swimming is the Cheoah Point Recreation Area.  If you’re into rustic camping, you’ll find about 50 free cabins scattered all around lake. There are no fees or permits needed to use this but be aware that they are very basic with no running water or toilet; but, it’s an option just in case you need it. Lake Santeetlah is another clean lake to swim on our list, and one of the free swimming lakes in the East Coast. 

5. Newfound Lake Swimming Lake,  New Hampshire 

Newfound Lake Swimming in New Hampshire– One of the best swimming lakes in NH is Newfound Lake, because it is the cleanest lake in the US.  This massive lake is over four thousand acres in size and has areas that are more than one hundred and sixty feet deep. So, if you’re in Grafton County, NH and need “a swimming lake near me, this is a good one to visit. Newfound Lake prides itself as being one of the cleanest lakes in the world – it is fed by 8 springs after all and has 22 miles of shoreline!  

Newfound Lake, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

You will find this lake within Wellington State Park and the current entry fee is $5 per adult and $2 per child ages 6 to 11.  Anyone under the age of six is admitted for free.  The beach area does get packed quickly during the summer months, so you must arrive early if you want to claim your spot for the day.  

6. Rainy Lake Swimming Lake, Minnesota

Rainy Lake Swimming in Minnesota – The best swimming lake in MN, Rainy Lake, offers spectacular sunsets if you can manage to stay all day long or simply arrive later in the day.  This swimming lake does get busy during the summer months, so you will want to plan your day carefully to avoid the major crowds.  This lake is within Voyageurs National Park and there is no entrance fee for visitors. 

Rainy Lake
Credits: Rainy Lake

So, for someone visiting Minnesota and around the lake that needs “a free swimming lake near me”, this nearby lake to swim in should be on your list. This lake is known for its amazing sunset, a sky full of stars, and even the Northern Lights! That right! On the northernmost tip of Minnesota, and on Rainy Lake, is an area called Voyageurs National Park where you can see the Northern Lights if every other condition is right. So not only is Rainy Lake a beautiful lake to swim in Minnesota, it’s also a place you could see the Northern Lights! That alone puts this lake on our list of top ten lakes in the US. 

7. Green Lake Swimming Lake, New York

Green Lake Swimming in New York– Green Lake is a swimming lake within Green Lake State Park.  You will find this best swimming lake in NY near the village of Fayetteville.  This is not a really large lake, but it does cover more than sixty acres of space.  What makes the park spectacular is the two glacial lakes that surround it, one of them being the Green Lake and the other Round Lake. This is another lake to swim in that you should not miss when you’re in New York. 

Green Lake, New York, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Swimming is covered under the entry fee for the park, which is currently $8 per vehicle during the summer months.  There are lifeguards in certain areas of the beach, so look for the signs when you want to go swimming.  

8. Alstead Mine Lake Swimming Lake, Minnesota

Alstead Mine Lake Swimming in Minnesota – Alstead Mine Lake can be found within Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in the state of Minnesota.  This swimming lake in MN is full of colorful fish, including rainbow and brook trout.  Due to all the fish, it is common to see people fishing in this lake. 

Alstead Mine Lake

Therefore, use caution and stay away from them while swimming, so you do not get hooked.  This is an amazing lake to swim at, and even if it’s just to check out the fish, but be on the lookout for other activities going on in the swimming lake. The lake is about 140 feet deep, and is also great for scuba diving. Apart from swimming in the lake, you can also enjoy the  8 mile paved trail as well as many mountain trails around the area. 

9. Lake Anna Swimming Lake, Virginia

Lake Anna Swimming in Virgina – Lake Anna is one of the more popular lakes in Spotsylvania, Virginia.  This best swimming lake in VA offers thirteen thousand acres of sparkling water for all your swimming adventures.  You will find this lake within Lake Anna State Park and you will want to be aware that it’s popularity during the summer is so great that the rangers often need to close off the entrance road for part of the day. If you’re in the Lake Anna state park region, no doubt you already have this on your list of lake swimming near me, and if you’re not around Lake Anna, then you might want to plan a trip to this gorgeous lake and beach. 

Lake Anna, Spotsylvania, VA
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

You will be required to pay two fees to go swimming in this Virginia lake.  Your admission and parking fee will be $7 per vehicle during the week and $10 on the weekends.  The swimming fee is between $2 and $4 depending on the age of the swimmer and whether it is a weekday or weekend.  Those swimming fees are only collected on the days when the lifeguards are on duty.  

10. Tettegouche State Park Swimming Lake, Minnesota 

Tettegouche State Park Swimming in Minnesota– The Tettegouche State Park swimming lake is in MN.  When you are not swimming, you can do a little hiking and see the nearby waterfalls.  There are many different types of animals living within this park, so make sure you keep an eye out for the deer, bunnies, beavers, and other creatures as you are wandering around and swimming. 

Tettegouche State Park Swimming Lake
Credits: Tettegouche State Park

This is more than just a lake to swim in, or swimming lakes nearby, this is also an adventurous outdoor place to spend some quality time, and certainly, still go for a swim in the lake. So, you can plan to rent a cabin (reservation required) and spend a few days in the park, enjoying more of the swimming lake. Tettegouche park also offer rock climbing, fishing, a picnic area and lots more. So come out to swim in the best swimming lake inMinnesota, and stay behind for more fun.

11. Flathead Lake Swimming Lake, Montana

Flathead Lake Swimming in Montana Flathead Lake is one of the best swimming lakes in MT.  The lake itself is two hundred square miles, and it is surrounded by six different state parks. It has to be one of the best lakes to swim in if you need somewhere fun to spend a few hours swimming in. The lake prides itself as being the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi with 185 miles of shoreline and 200 miles of water. 

Flathead Lake, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA

Beauty is everywhere around this lake and you will want to venture over to Wild Horse Island during your visit.  There are many areas to swim within this lake since it is within Flathead Lake State Park.  Non-residents of Montana will pay an entrance fee to the park which it’s currently $8 per vehicle. Other fun things to do at this lake include fishing, camping, boating, sailing, waterskiing, and camping. As you can imagine, you can also picnic here with family. In the summer, things get more fun as locals sells fruit and produce including apples, cherries and plums, along the roadside. If you are looking for what to do in Montana or where to go swimming in Montana, this is the place to be! 

12. Bottomless Lakes Swimming Lake, New Mexico 

Bottomless Lakes Swimming in New Mexico – Bottomless Lakes in New Mexico contains nine different lakes, but only one of them is considered swimmable.  These lakes in this park appear deeper than they really are as they are sink holes ranging from 17-90 feet deep. However, there are tons of aquatic plants whose color turn the lake greenish-blue and makes it look deeper than it really is – the name “Bottomless Lakes” is derived from the illusion of great depth of the lake.

Bottomless Lakes Swimming Lake
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

If you are looking for one of the best swimming lakes in NM, you must head over to Lake Lea which is the lake that is swimmable at Bottomless Lakes.  While there is no fee to use this swimming lake, you must pay a fee to enter the Bottomless Lakes State Park.  Currently, this fee is $5 per vehicle.  If you choose to park elsewhere and walk into the park, or ride a bicycle there, you will not be charged an entrance fee.  So, if you are in that part of New Mexico and wondering about a free swimming lake near me, this is the place to visit. 

13. Lake George Swimming Lake, New York

Lake George Swimming in New York – Lake George is a massive swimming lake in Lake George, NY.  This is a popular summer destination and while there is no fee to go swimming in the lake as it’s free swimming in the lake, you normally need to pay for parking. Lake George is surrounded by natural beauty and is a popular vacation spot for families that love mountains, forest, and trails. It’s also a great lake for fishing and certainly swimming, so make a trip to this lake in New York for a refreshing swim in the lake. 

Lake George, New York
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The main swimming area of this lake is over at Million Dollar Beach and parking is currently $10 in the beach lot.  There are lifeguards at this section of the swimming lake in NY and you are only able to swim there when the lifeguards are on duty.  

14. Lake Mahave Swimming Lake, Nevada and Arizona 

Lake Mahave Swimming in Nevada and Arizona – This lake is a swimming lake in both Laughlin NV and Bullhead City, AZ and most people skip over it, because they don’t know much about it.  Since this lake is part of Lake Mead, and almost everyone knows that Lake Mead is dangerous when it comes to swimming, no one usually wants to risk venturing into Lake Mahave.  However, the swimming in this lake is wonderful at both Boulder Beach and Willow Beach. 

Lake Mahave Swimming Lake
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

There isn’t a fee for swimming, but you will need to pay the entrance fee for Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  That fee is currently $25 per vehicle, but it will allow you to access the area for seven days straight.  This is a secret swimming lake to add to your bucketlist of swimming lakes to visit. Lake Mohave was created in 1951 and extends for almost 70 miles through steep walls of the Canyons. You won’t want to miss swimming in this lake if for nothing but for the history and amazing view it offers. 

15. Lake Powell Swimming Lake, Arizona and Utah

Lake Powell Swimming in Arizona and Utah – A good portion of Lake Powell is in AZ, but you will also find this swimming lake in part of UT as well.  You will find this amazing swimming lake in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  There are no lifeguards at Lake Powell, so all swimming is at your own risk. If you’re in this area and wondering about public swimming lakes near me or place to go swimming near me, then this should be on your list! 

Lake Powell

It is prohibited to swim in the marinas, as well as in any of the launch areas, so make sure you choose your swimming area wisely.  There is no fee for swimming, but you will need to pay the park entrance fee, which is currently $30 per vehicle.  That fee will allow you to enter Glen Canyon for seven days in a row.  Lake Powell is also more than just a place to swim. You can camp here, stay in a boathouse or simple take a tour to learn more about the lake and its history. The boat tour is very scenic and take you through Antelope Canyon, Rainbow Bridge, and more fascinating places.  If you want to spend more than just a few hours at Lake Powell, you could stay at Lake Powell resort. We think this lake is one of the best lakes to swim and should be on your list!  

16. Lake Washington Swimming Lake, Washington State

Lake Washington Swimming in Washington State – Lake Washington is a swimming lake in Seattle, WA and it is the largest freshwater lake near the city.  It also happens to be the second largest natural lake within the entire state.  There are numerous beaches up and down this lake’s shoreline, but Madrona Park Beach is one of the more popular ones.  It is only open during the summer months and lifeguards are available during specific hours each day.

Lake Washington Swimming Lake

We think that if you are local in Seatle, this could answer your question for a swimming place near me as you can easily get here for a quick swim. If you’re interested in getting a boat and sailing the lake, the University of Washington rents out boats right on the lake and you pay by hour. And if you’ve never been to this lake before and want to do more while you’re in Lake Washington, then take a 30 minute very scenic  tour that included a live narration of the history of the park 

17. Lake Houston Swimming Lake, Texas

Lake Houston Swimming in TexasLake Houston is a swimming lake in TX that is to the west of the San Jacinto River.  And as you can imagine, it’s close enough to Houston (just about 15 miles north of Houston) that if you live in Houston and wondering – where are swimming lakes near me located – Lake Houston will fit your needs. 

Lake Houston Swimming Lake
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

This lake was created back in the 1950s when the Lake Houston Dam was constructed. However, do not let that distract you from the true beauty that has formed since that time.  This swimming lake is used as a waterfowl sanctuary, so you will see plenty of wildlife during your visit.  So if you’re in Houston and wondering about a public swimming lake near me or swimming areas near me, head out to Lake Houston for a day of fun. 

18. Lake Arrowhead Swimming Lake, Virgina 

Lake Arrowhead Swimming in Virginia Lake Arrowhead is a swimming lake in Lake Arrowhead Park in Luray, VA.  This swimming lake in VA offers magnificent views of the Shenandoah Valley and you can do so much more than there swimming.  We recommend spending a few days in this area, so you can do a little hiking, kayaking, and even fishing. 

Lake Arrowhead Swimming Lake
Credits: Luray Parks

The Lake Arrowhead Beach opens on Memorial Day weekend every year and stays open until Labor Day.  However, the beginning and end of the season offers weekend only swimming, while the rest of the season has swimming all week long.  There are lifeguards on duty when the beach is open and the cost to swim ranges from $3 for children to $5 for everyone ages 13 and up.  This could be a swimming lake near you if you’re close to Luray, VA. 

19. Lake Michigan Swimming Lake, Michigan

Lake Michigan Swimming in Michigan – There are many swimming destinations around Lake Michigan, so you will not need to limit yourself when you want to jump in.  However, as one of the best swimming lakes in MI, you must realize that one of the best places to swim is over in Sleeping Bear Dunes. This is also one of the best lakes beaches around as well as a great swimming lake! The name, Lake Michigan itself, is derived from the word “Michi Gami” which is an Ojibwa word that means Big Lake. That literally says it all! 

Lake Michigan Swimming Lake
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

There are quite a few beaches there for your swimming pleasure and if you tire of the water, you can always do a little hiking or climb the massive sand dunes.  There are no lifeguards on duty at these beaches, so take care when swimming and pay attention to the potential rip currents.  While there is no fee for swimming, you must pay the entrance fee to enter the park.  Currently, that fee is $25 per vehicle, and it covers seven consecutive days of entry.  Lake Michigan also has several scattered islands, as well as 59 lighthouses on the beaches! Yes, 59 lighthouses as this lake played a key role in the shipping industry many years back. Think how much fun it it so try to find all 59 lighthouse in Lake Michigan and if you don’t find all, at least take a lighthouse tour while you’re there. 

20. Lake Anza Swimming Lake, California

Lake Anza Swimming in CaliforniaLake Anza is a swimming lake that can be found within the Tilden Regional Park, which is in Berkeley, CA.  This swimming lake is open every summer and they check for toxic blooms regularly to keep swimmers like yourself safe.  There are lifeguards on duty at certain times, but you are allowed to swim in this swimming lake when lifeguards are not present.  The cool thing about this lake is that they test for bacteria weekly from April through October and then using the results, determine when the water is safe to swim in or not.

Lake Anza Swimming Lake
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

When the lake has unsafe and hazardous levels of bacteria, it is closed and designated with a red stop sign. If the bacteria content is questionable and with increased risk in health if swimming or wading occurs, the lake is designated as yellow. When bacterial content meets stated guidelines, and there are no health risks for a swimmer, the beach is open to everyone with a green light. So, watch out for red, yellow, and green light, very much like a stop sign so you know if the lake is open for swimming or not. 

21. Big Bear Lake Swimming Lake, California

Big Bear Lake Swimming in California– If you live in California and wondering about places to go swimming near me, you’ll probably have a lot of options. However, one of our favorite swimming spots is Big Bear Lake. Big Bear Lake is a swimming lake in CA, and it is in the middle of southern part of the state.  A swim in these waters will have you marveling at all the natural beauty within the San Bernardino National Forest.

Big Bear Lake, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA

While there are many spots to swim in Big Bear Lake, you will find that McDill Swim Beach and East Boat Ramp Beach are your best options.  The first beach offers lifeguards, while the East Boat Ramp Beach does not.  Meadow Park is part of this lake and is very child-friendly for parents wanting a safe swimming place for children. This part of the lake has sandy beaches so you get a lake and a beach, and also has a floating dock and family restrooms. If you’re into kayaking, then the Boulder Bay Park in Big Bear Lake is the perfect place to go with the family as it’s also shallow enough in some parts to wade in. Regardless of where you swim, always wear a life jacket if your swimming skills are limited, especially if you’re in a swimming lake. 

22. Lake Perris Swimming Lake, California 

Lake Perris Swimming in California – Lake Perris can be found within the Lake Perris State Recreation Area in the state of CA.  At first glance, you will think that there is nothing around this swimming lake in CA, because it looks so barren and unappealing.  However, if you pay closer attention, you will begin to notice that there is plenty of wildlife wandering around the forest.

Lake Perris Swimming Lake
Credits: Alexis Madrigal, Flickr CC BY 2.0

While there is no fee to go swimming in this lake, you will need to pay to enter the park.  Currently, the cost to enter is $10 per vehicle.  It is important to note that there are no lifeguards at Lake Perris, so it is always going to be a swim at your own risk situation.  So, if you’re close to the Lake Perris State Park, and looking for “swimming area near me” or “swimming lakes near me” then this public lake is a good start.

23. Lake Berryessa Swimming Lake, California

Lake Berryessa Swimming in California – This swimming lake is in the Napa Valley in CA.  Lake Berryessa is one of the larger freshwater lakes in this state and it is perfect for swimming and so many other water sport activities. Swimmers can access the swimming lake from designated day use areas. 

Lake Berryessa, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Bill Williams, Flickr CC BY 2.0

You will want to visit this lake after a thrilling day of wandering through vineyards and wineries or hiking the nearby trails.  There are numerous beaches around this lake, but it is important to note that there are no lifeguards at any of them. You are basically swimming at your own risk so wear a life jacket when needed. And since water can be shallow in certain places, you should not dive or jump off heights. And of course, don’t try to swim across the lake as it can get dangerous when you’re not close to the shoreline. And stay hydrated when swimming here, especially during the summer when the heat can be intense.  We love Lake Berryessa and it’s yet another good swimming lake in California that we can add to our list of beautiful lakes to visit in the USA. 

24. Lake Norman Swimming Lake, North Carolina

Lake Norman Swimming in North Carolina – Lake Norman is a swimming lake that is less than twenty miles from Uptown Charlotte in NC.  While the summer months bring fun in the sun, this is actually a destination you will love to visit year-round.  When you are inside Lake Norman State Park, you can swim in the lake at the beach that is just over a hundred yards in length.  Lifeguards are only available during the summer months, during the daytime hours.  There is only a cost of swimming if the lifeguards are on duty. 

Lake Norman Swimming Lake
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Those costs are $6 for anyone age 13 and over and $4 for anyone younger than 13.  And then the lifeguard is not working, you can swim for free, but at your own risks, but at least this could be great for free swimming near me, if you are wondering about swimming destinations near you. Also, keep in mind that even though Lake Norman might have different swimming areas, most of them are restricted to boat owners or people who houses on the waterfront. The one open place you can swim in is Lake Norman State Park, and this swimming area is excellent with a large parking lot, restrooms, and concession stands. 

25. Lake Travis Swimming Lake, Texas

Lake Travis Swimming in Texas – Lake Travis is a big swimming lake in TX, and it is one of the best freshwater lakes in the state.  There are plenty of parks around this lake, so you will have quite a few options when it comes to swimming. This rocks alone make this one of the best swimming lakes in the US, as well as one of the most scenic lakes in Texas. Lake Travis is 63.75 miles but it has over 271 miles of shoreline. You can get into Lake Travis from any of the points along the miles of the lake.

Lake Travis, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Randall Chancellor, Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

We understand how it can be confusing to figure out which of the many places to visit in Lake Travis. We like to think that Mansfield Dam Park is one of the best, but you may want to add Bob Wentz Park and Hippie Hollow Park to your list as well.  The fees are slightly different for each park when it comes to entering, but the average is $5 per person.  That fees covers swimming in Lake Travis for the entire day.  And like other lakes, there are also plenty of things to do when visiting the lake including inflatable water park, playground on the lake, boat tours, ziplines, etc. 

26. Mono Lake Tufa Swimming Lake, California

Mono Lake Tufa Swimming in California – Mono Lake is another CA swimming lake that everyone must visit at some point during a vacation.  You will find this lake near the Sierra Nevada mountains, as well as the Great Basin.  This is one of the smaller swimming lakes in the USA, but there is still plenty of space for swimming and having fun.  This lake has quite the high salt level (almost 3x as salty as the ocean), so when you are trying to swim in this swimming lake in CA, you will find that you are basically floating along. 

Mono Lake Tufa Swimming Lake
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Be careful of opening your eyes in this swimming lake as the high salt level can cause some painful stinging. Also avoid swimming here if you have cuts as that can really sting! So, if you are looking for salt lake swimming, this is a good place to start. Mono Lake is about 65 miles of water and is one of the oldest lakes in North America at an estimate age of 1 million year old. Swimming here is akin to going back in history to experience something that you could otherwise not have had access to. Visit Mono Lake even if it’s just to see a lake that old! 

27. Lake Gregory Swimming Lake, California 

Lake Gregory Swimming in California – Lake Gregory can be found within the Lake Gregory Regional Park.  This swimming lake in CA is in what is known as the San Bernardino Valley. And if you are local, then consider this for “lake swimming near me” and head out here with the kids for a day of beach and lake swimming. 

Lake Gregory, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

There are eighty-four acres for water sports and to swim in this lake. There are even water slides and a floating water park for you to enjoy, something you don’t see in many other lakes. As far as fun lake goes, this one is one to put on your list of best lakes with beaches to visit with kids. If you are planning to visit the Lake Gregory area, and wondering about the public lakes near me, or places to go swimming near me, this would be one to put on your list. And when you’re here, you can also enjoy fishing and kayaking as well as other water sports. And when you need a break, simply enjoy the sandy beach until you’re ready to go back into the lake for another swim. 

28. Bear Lake Swimming Lake, Idaho and Utah

Bear Lake Swimming in Idaho and UtahBear Lake is a massive swimming lake in both ID and UT.  Despite its location, this gorgeous sparkling lake is often dubbed the Caribbean of the Rockies.  There are many beaches scattered around this lake, so you can easily choose the one you love the most.  Some beaches cater to families, while others are smaller and yet a lot less crowded.

Bear Lake, swimming lakes near me
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

We dare say this is one of the most beautiful lakes in the USA, and if you’re in the area, then this lake should get on your list of the best lake swimming near me, or places to go swimming near me! It’s also a very family-friendly lake, if you take your kids along! And, if you want to do more on this lake besides swimming in the lake, you can fish, do some boating, or just simply relax on the beaches.  During the winter months you could do some skiing, ice fishing, and even snowmobiling, if you’re feeling adventurous enough.

29. Jordan Lake Swimming Lake, North Carolina 

Jordan Lake Swimming in North CarolinaJordan Lake State Recreation Area is where you will find the gorgeous swimming lake of the same name in NC. If you’re in Apex, NC and need to know “the swimming spots near me”, this beautiful lake should make your list. If you enjoy lake swimming, then this destination should be on your bucketlist. 

Jordan Lake, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

There are seven different beaches along the shoreline of this swimming lake, so you can easily beach-hop until you find the one you love the most.  Some of the swim areas though, are reserved for on-site campers. There are numerous campsites for those interested in camping and staying a little longer than just a day swim. To enter the recreation area, you must pay an entrance fee of $7 per vehicle.  Jordan Lake State Recreational Area where this lake is located is about 14000 acres big, so there’s plenty to enjoy. And to make a visit here even more special, you might spot a bald eagle or osprey, a few of the wildlife that is common in this area. 

30. Lake Sonoma Swimming Lake, California

Lake Sonama Swimming in California – Sonoma County is incredible, which is why Lake Sonoma should be at the top of your swimming lake list in CA.  This lake is surrounded by vineyards, so plan on marveling in the beauty and taking pictures for a little longer than you planned.  This fact alone makes this one of the most beautiful lakes in US.

Lake Sonoma Swimming Lake
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

While you can swim in many different areas of this lake, the designated swimming beach area is over at Yorty Creek.  There are no lifeguards on duty at this lake, even in the beach area.  It is best to swim with a partner or wear a lifejacket, so you do not run into problems during your swim.  So, if you are looking for a lake beach experience in a swimming lake or water you can swim in, perhaps even a swim hole, then Lake Sonama should make your list. 

31. Lake Chelan Swimming Lake, Washington State 

Lake Chelan Swimming in Washington State  is a swimming lake in WA, and it is known for its water, which is crystal clear.  Most people think the best time to visit this swimming lake in WA is during the months of July and August, because the water is at its warmest and the surrounding scenery is simply spectacular. Trust us, warm weather makes swimming in a lake fun! Lake Chelan is 50.5 miles long and so there’s plenty of space to have decent fun here. There are also smaller lakes nearby that you can enjoy for many other activities including cruising, tubing, rowing, canoeing, jet skiing, and other water activities. If the weather is right, you can also go parasailing at Lake Chelan.

Lake Chelan, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

This is the best spot for relaxing and getting away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities.  So, if you need a break from life and want, head to this beautiful beaches for a good swim. And if you and the kids love to snorkel, go boating, or do so many other water available sport at this lake including swimming in the lake, then head to this pristine lake! 

32. Lake Grapevine Swimming Lake, Texas

Lake Grapevine Swimming in Texas – Lake Grapevine has at least seven thousand acres of water, which is why it is one of the best swimming lakes in the Fort Worth and Dallas, TX areas.  While fishing is popular in this lake, you may prefer to use it as your very own swimming lake in TX especially if the temperature is warm from the heat of the Texan sun! Lake Grapevine is about 20 miles from Dallas, so if you are in Dallas, this will be a great lake to swim in. The lake is about 8,000 acres and is recognized as the best lake in the Dallas-Forth metro area.

Lake Grapevine Swimming Lake

Lake Grapevine comes with an amazing feature for kids – a floating water park! Apart from being one of the best lakes to swim in, Lake Grapevine is also an exceptional place for hiking, camping, fishing and boating. Rent a cabin and take the family camping for a long weekend, or put up some tent and enjoy outdoor camping. If your kids enjoy biking, take them on the biking trail for an early morning peaceful ride. There are quite a few parks surrounding or nearby Lake Grapevine including one of our favorite, Rockledge Park which has direct access to beautiful views of the lake and access to a great trail. 

33. Lake Conroe Swimming Lake, Texas

Lake Conroe Swimming in Texas– The water quality of Lake Conroe swimming lake in TX is perfect, which is why it is loved by both swimmers and fishermen alike.  This swimming lake also has a park which great as you can take a break and explore the rest of the park when you’re not in the water.  

Lake-Conroe, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

You will love spending time at this Lake Conroe Lake inside the East Texas Piney Woods community. Lake Conroe  is also just about an hour from Houston, making it a swimming place that is easily reachable when in Houston and wondering about “swimming lakes near me”. Lake Conroe is so clear that it is the reserve drinking water for Houston in case of emergencies. It is also a great place to fish, swim, and engage in other watersports including jet skiing, fishing, and boating. 

34. Lake Ouachita Swimming Lake, Arkansas

Lake Ouachita Swimming in Arkansas – There are a few different lakes in Arkansas, but the best swimming lake of them all is Lake Ouachita.  You will find this lake inside Lake Ouachita State Park and it is surrounded by the beauty of the Ouachita National Forest.  This is a manmade lake, the largest in the state of Arkansas, with over nine hundred miles of shoreline as well as 40,000 acres of clear water. 

Lake Ouachita Swimming Lake

There are never any lifeguards on the beaches on this lake, so if you swim here as you can for free, please be safe.  If you’re around the area, then this would be the nearest manmade lake for swimming near me, in case you’re wondering. And while you’re visiting the lake, you could do some kayaking, boating, fishing, and other watersport including scuba diving, and jet skiing.

35. Lake Coeur d’Alene Swimming Lake, Idaho

Lake Coeur d’ Alene Swimming in Idaho– Swimming is very popular at Lake Coeur d’Alene, but after spending a little time in the water, you may decide to do a little kayaking or another water sport during your stay. There are many beaches along the shoreline, so you can easily go from one to the next until you find your favorite swimming spot.  Being on the beach make this spot a great location when you’re searching for beaches and lakes, or lakes with beaches, or even swimming lakes with beaches – that way you can swim and still chill at the beach when you’re tired. 

Lake Coeur d’Alene, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Coeur d’Alene Lake is quite large that it is the second largest lake in Idaho. It is set against the backdrop of a beautiful mountain, so swimming in this lake is extra scenic. The lake itself is just about 26 miles long but it’s part of a larger system of 135 miles of parks, beaches, trials, campground, etc. The lake is fed by two rivers and is considered a natural lake. You should have this lake on your list of lakes to swim in especially if you want to check off swimming in the best lake in Idaho.

36. Canyon Lake Swimming Lake, Arizona

Canyon Lake Swimming in Arizona– Are you in Arizona and wondering lakes to swim near me? Or even lakes near me to swim? You don’t have to think too much as we’ve found the perfect lake to swim in! Canyon Lake is a swimming lake in AZ, and you can easily reach it in less than an hour from Phoenix.  This lake is inside the Tonto National Forest, so while you do not need to pay a swimming fee, you will need to pay to enter the park area.  The price will be worth it though, as you look as the massive red rock cliffs looming in the distance. 

Canyon Lake Swimming Lake
Credits: Arizona Office of Tourism’s industry

And if you have a swim raft for lakes, your trip will be so much cooler. Of course, you don’t want your raft to wander too far as that could be dangerous. If using a raft, please find one that anchors to the bed of the lake (and there are many of them) and make sure you keep an eye on the kids!  And when you’ve had your fun of swimming in designated areas only, go boating or hang out on the beach with family. Canyon Lake is also known for the red cliffs that dot the shorelines as well as a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday living. Come visit Canyon Lake for the gorgeous sight and stay to enjoy the lakes and more! 

37. Lake Crescent Swimming Lake, Washington State

Lake Crescent  Swimming in Washington State Lake Crescent can be found within the borders of Olympic National Park in the state of Washington.  The clear blue water sparkles under the shining sun and there are so many things you can do when you are not in the water. This nearby lake to swim in is a great place to visit when you’re in Washington State. This lake is the second deepest lake in Washington  (close to 1000 feet) so be careful if you plan on swimming here, as depths can be deceiving. Lake Crescent is just about 18 miles from Port Angeles and so easily reachable. 

Lake Crescent, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

There is no swimming fee at this swimming lake, but you will need to pay to enter the park.  Currently, the fee per vehicle is $30.  However, that fee will allow you to enter this park for seven consecutive days so we think it’s worth it. You could use a swim raft or swim platform if you like, but be sure to stay safe and keep an eye on the kids at all times. This is one of the best swimming lakes in Washington State and you should have it on your list when you make that trip to the area. 

38. Lake Tahoe Swimming Lake, California 

Lake Tahoe Swimming in California Lake Tahoe is not only a swimming lake in CA, it is the largest alpine lake within the North American continent.  While it is true that there are more than three hundred days of sunshine in this part of the country, it doesn’t stop Lake Tahoe from being really cold most of the year.  Lake Tahoe is divided into Tahoe South and Tahoe North. Up in Northern Lake Tahoe, Sand Harbor Beach is the swimming destination of choice, while Regan Beach is down to the south. 

Lake Tahoe Swimming Lake

So, if you’re visiting the popular and beautiful Lake Tahoe area and asking yourself about a nearby lake to swim or lakes to swim near me, this should be top of your list of best swimming lakes to swim in! Lake Taho is about 2 hours from Sacramento, 45 mins from Reno and has been declared as American’s Best Lake by USA Today. Visit the lake and find out what the hype is about, and at least get to swim in a famous lake. 

39. Pyramid Lake Swimming Lake, Nevada 

Pyramid Lake Swimming in Nevada– One of the largest natural lakes in Nevada is Pyramid Lake, and it is basically a history lesson waiting to happen since it is what is left of Lake Lahontan. Lake Lahontan was a large lake that extended from California into Oregon. Over thousands of years, climate change caused the lake to largely disappear and break up into smaller-sized lakes that quickly dried up too. The only part left of the lake is Pyramid Lake and Walker Lake (which is also fast disappearing). 

Pyramid Lake, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: WikiPedia

You should know that you can also reach this lake from the state of CA.  There is no charge to enter this swimming lake from the CA side and it is easier to reach the beach from there as well. So, if you’re around the corner, this would be a free beach to swim in or a free swimming lake near you! Where you’re at this lake, also plan to do non-swim activities including boating and camping. After all, with the park at about 125,000 acres, there has to be plenty to see and things to do in Pyramid Lake including touring the really cool Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum. 

40. Lake McConaughy Swimming Lake, Nebraska

Lake McConaughy Swimming in Nebraska – This swimming lake in NE is considered the largest lake in the state.  There are many beaches for swimming at Lake McConaughy and some of them have lifeguards on duty for part of the year.  As you are in the water, you will want to keep an eye to the sky, so you have the chance to see the eagles that are known to fly above the water. 

Lake McConaughy Swimming Lake
Credits: vicki watkins, Flickr CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking for a swimming lake which also doubles up as a great beach, then this is the swimming lake to swim in that you should visit. And apart from swimming there are so many other things to do here including – boating, camping, fishing, picnicking,  hanging out in the  playground – during your visit. The lake is surrounded by gorgeous white sand and it’s hard not to want lay on the beach, relax with a drink, and watch the world go by. Vehicular traffic and camping is not allowed which make it the park all the safer for families with kids to visit. 

41. Echo Lake Swimmng Lake, Maine

Echo Lake Swimming in Lake Maine– This swimming lake can be found within Acadia National Park in ME and it is the perfect summer destination for many families.  The deepest portion of this lake is only a little more than sixty feet. And like most other swimming lakes in Maine, this one is set in a spectacular location. Due to it’s location and relative shallowness for some distance, it is one of the swimming lakes in Maine that is family-friendly and recommended for kids. 

Echo lake
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

There is a designated area for swimming and there is a lifeguard on duty when the beach is open for swimming, typically from Memoria Day to Labor Day. We recommend you take your camera with you when you visit this swimming lake, because there is so much beauty that will be surrounding you. We think it is one of the most beautiful swimming lakes in the US. So, if you’re a nature lover and want to take pictures of one of the prettiest lakes to swim in Maine, head out to this swimming lake! And there is also a plus – the water is much warmer than the ocean, and did we mention that this lake is nestled within the high cliffs that are part of the Beech Mountain? That means it’s an absolutely beautiful lake to visit. 

42. Deer Lake Swimming Lake, Minnesota 

Deer Lake Swimming in Minnesota – This swimming lake in MN is one of the best in the state.  In fact, Deer Lake has earned the nickname of the Lake of Changing Colors, because the water can look blue one minute and green the next. It is considered the state’s most interesting inland waters as even though the deer river flows from this lake; the lake has no inlets allowing it to keep the same water levels all year. The surroundings and beautiful turquoise water make you feel like you’re somewhere so remote and it thus more relaxing.

Deer Lake

Deer Lake is also clear and beautiful up to the first 13 feet of water, making it even more breathtaking. The lake is 4094 acres and goes to a maximum depth of 121 feet. The shoreline extends to 26 miles. There are twenty-five islands within this swimming lake and while you may not be able to swim to any of them, you can easily see them in the distance.   So, if you never ever visit any other lakes on our list, please visit Deer Lake MN. And if you plan your day right, you might be able to spend a few days in this area, perhaps stay at a Deer Lake resort or rent some a nearby cabin for you and the family.

43. Lake Red Rock Swimming Lake, Iowa

Lake Red Rock Swimming in IowaLake Red Rock is a swimming lake in IA, but people flock there in droves to participate in the numerous other water activities that are offered. It’s also known as Rock Red Lake (because of surrounding red stand stones) and people come up here as well for camping and to enjoy the surroundings. You can certainly rent a cabin and stay a few days in the area. It is Iowa’s largest and most famous lake and spans 15,000 acres of water and 35,000 surrounding dry land. It’s just about a 45 mins drive from the city of Des Moines. 

Lake Red Rock, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Carl Wycoff, Flickr CC BY 2.0

Even though this swimming lake is almost fifteen thousand acres in size, the best place to swim around here is over at North Overlook Beach.  So, this is one of those lakes that also has a beach component to it so you can get out the water and relax on the beach when you’re tired or need a break. We think Lake Red Rock or Red Rock Lake is a great place for camping with family and a great lake to swim in with the family. And, if you’re in the right place and look carefully, you might see white pelicans in the water. 

44. Lake Carlos Swimming Lake, Minnesota 

Lake Carlos Swimming in Minnesota – This MN swimming lake was created thousands of years ago when the glaciers began to melt.  This picturesque lake is perfect for photographers who are seeking the perfect shot.  As you do a little swimming in the lake, you will want to keep an eye out for the gorgeous views and the wildlife in the distance. 

Lake Carlos Swimming Lake
Credits: Wikipedia

Lake Carlos is a prefect place for people in the Minnesota area, looking for public swimming lakes around them to swim in. It is a deep lake that supports relatively diverse fish community. The lake has several upstream lakes that flow into it and from the head of the Long Prairie River. The lake is 2605 acres with 13 miles of shoreline. Its maximum depth is 163.  If you are in the city of Alexandria in Minnesota, this lake is just about 5 miles north of you and should address you need for the “nearest swimming hole near me”. 

45. Lake of the Ozarks Swimming Lake, Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks Swimming in Missouri – The Lake of the Ozarks is the largest lake in the state and there are many beaches scattered along the one thousand mile plus shoreline.  There are two gorgeous sandy beaches within the Lake of the Ozarks State Park section making this swimming lake one that can easily get crowded as it’s quite popular. We think it’s one of the best lakes in Missouri for swimming of course and advice that you head out to the lake early if you want it less crowded, especially during mid-summer when things can get hectic. 

Lake of the Ozarks, Best Swimming Lakes in the USA
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The two beaches at Lake of the Ozarks, are basically named Public Beach 1 and Public Beach 2.  There are no lifeguards at either of these beaches, so you will always be swimming at your own risk.  The beaches only open in the summer, so you will want to plan your swimming lake visit carefully to avoid a lot of crowds. So, if you’re in the area and looking for free swimming lakes near me, or free beaches near me, this location should meet all your needs for a nearby swimming lake to swim in and beach to chill on! Lake of the Ozarks is in the Lake of the Ozarks State Park, which offers over 80 miles of lakefront and so many water activities. It also has over 17,000 surrounding land so if you’re not into swimming in the lake, or just need a break from swimming and other water activities, you can relax in the ample relaxing space surrounding the lake. 

46. Lake Texoma Swimming Lake, Texas and Oklahoma 

Lake Texoma Swimming in Texas and Oklahoma – This swimming lake is one of the largest reservoirs within the US and it is one of the most popular lakes as well.  You will find this swimming lake to the north of Fort Worth and the eighty thousand plus acres of water allows everyone enough space for swimming and other water sports. Lake Texoma is known as Texomaland to locals and it straddles the Red River that flows between two states – Texas and Oklahoma.

Lake Texoma Swimming Lake
Credits: GrapevineTxOnline.com, Flickr CC BY 2.0

It is also really close to Dallas -Fort Worth, which makes it easy to get and not as remote. If you were coming from a different state and flew into Dallas-Fort Worth airport, it’ll take less than an hour drive to arrive here. If you want to escape, you need to wander over to the beach at Eisenhower State Park.  There is no swimming fee, but there is an entrance fee for the park.  Currently, that fee is $5 per person over the age of 12.  This is one of the best swimming lakes in Texas and Oklahoma.

47. Torch Lake Swimming Lake, Michigan 

Torch Lake Swimming in Michigan – Torch Lake is a swimming lake in MI, and it is the longest inland lake within the state.  While this lake is very popular for fishing and boating, you will find plenty of options for swimming close to the shoreline. You might already know that it’s one of the best swimming lakes in Michigan. 

Torch Lake, Best Swimming Lakes
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

There are no lifeguards on duty on many of the beaches, but the water is fairly calm.  However, caution is still urged, and it is recommended that you do not swim alone. Torch Lake is a beautiful lake and look very much like Caribbean waters, so you don’t have to go too far to feel the Caribbean love. As you can imagine, this is not only going to be one of the best free beaches near you, but it’s also on the best inland lakes in Michigan for swimming! 

48. Lake Ontario Swimming Lake, New York

Lake Ontario Swimming in New YorkLake Ontario is a massive lake that goes all the way from New York State to the country of Canada.  While there are plenty of shorelines in NY, the best place to go swimming in this lake is in the city of Rochester.  There is no charge for swimming in the lake at the Rochester beaches and there are lifeguards on duty during specific hours during the summer months. 

Lake Ontario Swimming Lake
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Always check the Lake Ontario water level before getting into the water as it can vary, but the swim lifeguards keep an  eye on that so you shouldn’t have to worry when you swim during the hours that the swimming lake in attended by guards.  Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of America that are interconnected. The four others lakes include – Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Superior, and Lake Huron. These are the largest freshwater lakes in the world, and Lake Superior is the second-largest lake in the world! So, when you’re swimming in Lake Ontario, be sure to remember that you are swimming in a lake, but not just any lake but, a world renowned lake! 

49. Lake Winnipesaukee Swimming Lake, New Hampshire

Lake Winnipesaukee Swimming in New Hampshire – This swimming lake was created thousands of years ago as the glaciers were melting.  Lake Winnipesaukee NH might be one of the smallest swimming lakes in the US, but it is the third largest one within the northeastern states. Also known as Winnipesaukee Lake NH, you can plan to do more than just swim in a lake when you get here. Make sure to check Lake Winnipesaukee weather before you begin your trip to make sure you have the perfect weather and water temperature to enjoy your long dip in the lake. If you have plenty of time here, you could rent a hotel or camp around Lake Winnipesaukee. 

Lake Winnispesaukee, Best Swimming Lakes
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The best part about swimming in the many parts of this lake, though, is there are more than two hundred islands scattered throughout the water.  You can’t beat taking a tropical island vacation on over 200 islands in just one day. And, if you are in the mood for a truly scenic drive, then take what is known as the Loop Drive and drive the 81-97 miles loop (depending on your route) that takes you through the quaint villages while you see so many breathtaking views of the lake. Be sure to have your camera ready as there are plenty to see and admire. If you visit in the fall, then you’re in for an even more special treat with the Fall Foliage Scenic Drive around the lake.  This lake is simply one of favorite most beautiful lakes in US and the world! 

50. Spring Lake Swimming Lake, California

Spring Lake Swimming in CaliforniaSpring Lake is a relaxing destination, and one of Sonoma county’s most popular swimming lake. It is located in Spring Lake Regional Park which is popular park with trails, beaches, biking, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, paddling, and of course swimming and picnicking. There is also a special summer swimming lagoon.

Spring Lake Swimming Lake
Credits: Spring Lake State Park

This swimming lagoon is open daily from Memorial day all the way till Labor day. And as if all the other activities already mentioned are not enough, Spring Lake has an inflatable floating water park that is a hit for all kids. People come here to get some sun and take a cool dip.  There are different beaches available on the shoreline, but you may choose to leave the water early so you can go hiking or do a wine tasting at a nearby winery.  You are afterall, in Sonoma county, and no way should you visit there without visiting a winery. 

These are the 50 best swimming lakes in the USA, and while you will want to visit them all, we recommend beginning with the one that is closest to your home.  This will allow you to check one off your list immediately and allow you to answer that question of “where are swimming lakes near me”.  You can check off the rest of the lakes gradually. 

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