8 Fun Swim Vacations This Summer

Sunshine and warmer temperatures make summer a perfect time to spend in the water, especially during vacation. While coastal areas offer a chance to swim in the ocean, inland areas provide plenty of lakes and rivers for swimming. Whether you’re looking for a seaside destination or a lakeshore place to visit, the following areas offer fun ideas for a swim vacation this summer.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has no shortage of places to swim. In fact, this 500,000-acre park has a few thousand miles of flowing water for swimming, rafting, and other water activities. There’s no admission fee to enter the park, making it a budget-friendly swim vacation spot. The gateway towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are packed with entertainment, and hundreds of affordable Gatlinburg cabins are nestled in the surrounding foothills, with most featuring spas and hot tubs for even more time in the water. When you’re not swimming or soaking, the park has tons of hiking trails that offer a chance to see natural beauty, along with local wildlife and forests.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake National Park provides an unusual swim vacation spot where you can visit an underwater volcano. The park allows swimming from mid-June through late October, but note that there’s only one access point to the lakeshore. Visitors can take Cleetwood Cove Trail to reach the lake and go for a swim in its beautiful waters. Fishing is also allowed during this time. Other activities to enjoy include a scenic drive around the rim surrounding the lake, boat tours, and trolley tours. Accommodations within the park include cabins, a lodge, and campgrounds.

Table Rock Lake, Missouri and Arkansas

Table Rock Lake offers 40,000 surface acres of water to explore. The central part of the lake has plenty of areas for swimming, boating, fishing, and other water activities. You’ll also find dining options where you can enjoy a meal while staying in your boat. The eastern part of the lake offers swimming holes and shallow, calm waters for kids and very young children, and easy access to the Branson area for entertainment and other attractions. The lake’s western part offers a more rugged environment with tons of great fishing spots. Several accommodations are available in the Table Rock Lake area, including lakefront resorts and campgrounds.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore provides a great place to go swimming in Lake Michigan. Visitors can get to the lake from several access points, including Platte River Point, North Bar Lake, and Peterson Road. Other outdoor activities include climbing the famous sand dunes for scenic views of the area, scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Hiking trails provide another way to explore the area. Sleeping Bear Dunes has a few places for camping, such as Platte River Campground, North Manitou Island, South Manitou Island, and D. H. Day Campground.

Kill Devil Hills Beach, North Carolina

For an ocean vacation spot, Kill Devil Hills has plenty to offer, including miles of beaches for sunbathing and swimming. The beach also has a fishing pier and other places to fish from the shore. Visitors can also take a boat out on the water to glide through the Atlantic or fish in deeper waters. Guided boat tours are also available. As the oldest Outer Banks town, Kill Devil Hills has several attractions and amenities, including the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Paradise Fun Park, restaurants, shops, and more. Accommodations range from oceanfront beach homes to luxury hotels.

Reid State Park Beach, Maine

Reid State Park offers a saltwater beach and lagoon for swimming. Both areas include lifeguards for added safety. The park provides a great swim vacation for those who want to avoid crowds and take in stunning natural views. Visitors can also go fishing, explore hiking trails, and watch for piping plovers and other local birds. Natural heritage hikes provide guided narratives through the park. Several campgrounds are available within a short distance from Reid State Park. Hotels and vacation rental homes can also be found in nearby Georgetown and other towns.

Laguna Beach, California

Laguna Beach in Southern California offers several beaches where you can swim in the Pacific Ocean. Sleepy Hollow Beach, Agate Street Beach, Treasure Island, and Fisherman’s Cove are just a few of the area’s beaches that make outstanding swimming spots. This community, located roughly halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, is also known for its tide pools, sea caves, and bluffs overlooking the water. Other water activities to enjoy in Laguna Beach include snorkeling, surfing, and stand-up paddle boarding. The town offers shopping, dining, and other amenities. Visitors can stay in beachfront hotels, resorts, cottages, or bed and breakfasts.

Flathead Lake, Montana

Flathead Lake provides more than 200 square miles of water for swimming, fishing, and other water activities. It’s the biggest natural freshwater lake on the Mississippi River’s west side. Visitors can get to the water from several public access sites, such as Yellow Bay, Sportsmans Bridge, Juniper Beach, and Woods Bay. A few areas mainly offer fishing sites, while others have swimming areas, boat launches, picnic facilities, and other amenities. Power boating, sailing, and waterskiing are also allowed in the lake. Rental cabins and other accommodations can be found in the area. Public campgrounds around the lake are also available.




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Scott brings philosophical insights and witty wordplay to his writing for Unfinished Man. With wide-ranging interests from bikes to beers, he explores the novelty in everyday life. Scott aims to both inform and entertain readers with his perspectives on culture, technology, and the pursuit of living well.

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