The 6 Best New Jersey Lakes For Swimming

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: May 24, 2023
© Bruce Goerlitz Photo/
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The 6 Best New Jersey Lakes For Swimming infographic
The 6 Best New Jersey Lakes For Swimming infographic


New Jersey provides a number of excellent swimming lakes in the Northeast, in addition to its world-famous beaches. Try one of these stunning New Jersey lakes this summer for a change of pace from the waves of the coast.

These lakes are typically located within magnificent state parks with other recreational possibilities like hiking paths.  Please be aware that weather and staffing fluctuations may affect the swimming hours at the lakes. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the NJ DEP’s daily swimming schedule. The six top swimming lakes in New Jersey are provided below.

1. Lake Wawayanda

Dock stretches across Wawayanda Lake in early springtime
Due to its crystal-clear waters, Wawayanda State Park’s Lake Wawayanda is a well-liked vacation spot in the hot summer months.

©Ezume Images/

Lake Wawayanda, located in Wawayanda State Park, is a popular tourist destination during the warm summer months due to its pristine waters. Hills, trails (including a section of the Appalachian Trail), and peace and quiet all contribute to the park’s reputation as a must-visit destination. The clarity of the lake is much appreciated by swimmers, as it allows them to see fish swimming by. There are showers, bathrooms, a first-aid facility, and a snack bar all conveniently located near the beach. Canoes, paddleboats, and rowboats are all available for rent to guests. Weekends at the lake can get crowded, so plan accordingly. The park charges a fee per vehicle.

2. Lake Marcia

Lake Marcia
A natural spring that feeds Lake Marcia in New Jersey provides a great swimming and cooling environment.


Lake Marcia, fed by a natural spring, is a pleasant place to cool off and swim. There are lifeguards on duty and a bathhouse and snack bar just next to the beach. High Point also features a campground, a picnic area, and more than 50 miles worth of trails. The third week of June is when it’s likely swimmers will be able to enjoy the water.

3. Lake Hopatcong

Lake Hopatcong
The largest freshwater lake in the state of New Jersey is Lake Hopatcong, which has a surface area of 4 miles.


Lake Hopatcong, at four square miles, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of New Jersey. Hopatcong State Park’s lake is a fantastic spot for various aquatic pursuits. Lake Hopatcong’s 45 miles of shoreline are home to marinas, restaurants, and public beaches, making it a fantastic escape for the day. During the summer months, when lifeguards are present, swimming is permitted. There are playgrounds and volleyball courts and playgrounds close to the beach, in addition to changing rooms and a concession.

4. Atsion Lake

Atsion Lake
Atsion Lake, which is situated in the Wharton State Forest, is a popular destination for families seeking a tranquil change of pace from the Jersey Shore.

©Andrew F. Kazmierski/

Relax and refresh at Atsion Lake’s crystal-clear waters. Families looking for a relaxing change of pace from the Jersey Shore flock to Atsion Lake, which is located in the Wharton State Forest. Three changing rooms and shower huts are available for swimmers’ convenience. There are also concession stands, nature crafts, pathways, and a playground near the lake. The park is popular on weekends, so if you want to go, you should probably go before 10 a.m., when it closes. During the summer, a $10 entrance fee is imposed per vehicle.

5. Swartswood Lake

Sunset at Swartswood Lake in New Jersey.
Visitors of all ages can engage in water sports including swimming, boating, fishing, and even kayaking at Swartswood Lake thanks to its calm waters.


In 1915, New Jersey’s first state park, Swartswood, was created so that locals may have easy access to one of the state’s biggest freshwater lakes. The park’s major feature is Swartswood Lake, where visitors of all ages can enjoy water sports including swimming, boating, fishing, and even kayaking in its placid waters. The lake has a small yet clean and friendly swimming area and beach. Pedal boats, kayaks, and canoes are also available for rent to guests. Conveniences including restrooms, changing rooms, showers, a first-aid area, and a snack bar may all be found right next to the beach.

6. Hooks Creek Lake

Fall at Hooks Creek Lake
This 6-acre Hooks Creek Lake, located in Cheesequake State Park, provides tourists with a serene contrast to the nearby Jersey Shore.

©Angela Feltes/

Nestled within Cheesequake State Park, this 6-acre Hooks Creek Lake offers visitors a tranquil alternative to the surrounding Jersey Shore. The lake is tidy and rarely busy on weekdays. There are picnic spots, playgrounds, food stands, and changing rooms around the lake. The park is also wonderful for families to spend time exploring. There are both saltwater and freshwater marshes, as well as five separate routes, camping areas, an animal-filled nature center, and a crabbing bridge.

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Autumn on Lake Marcia at High Point State Park in New Jersey
© Bruce Goerlitz Photo/

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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.

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