The Best Swimming Holes In Alaska

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Published: December 7, 2022
© Kit Leong/
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Swimming in Alaska is undoubtedly not a sport for the weak-hearted. It calls for a thick skin, an ambitious disposition, and the capacity to let go of all inhibitions. The simplest method to cool off and have fun is to enjoy these swimming holes in Alaska during scorching summer days.

These swimming holes in Alaska are unquestionably a must-see if you’re brave enough to dive into some frigid water this summer.

Refuge Cove State Recreation

The Refuge Cove State Recreation Site in Alaska is well-liked for swimming and relaxing. For many locals, access to the beach couldn’t be any easier since it runs along the edge of their community. 

This location has tables, chairs, pit toilets, fire rings, and footpaths. This is a great place to spend an afternoon with your family. Here, tanning is fairly common, and some people also go stargazing on clear nights. Visit for a swim in the daytime, and remain for a night of amazement.

Swimming Holes in Alaska: Chena Lake

Beautiful aurora over the night sky at Chena Lakes, Fairbanks, Alsaka
Beautiful aurora over the night sky at Chena Lakes, Fairbanks, Alsaka.

©Kit Leong/

Chena Lake, which lies at the North Pole, comprises several parks, all of which are rather distinctive. Two bathing areas with pristine beaches, a campsite with 45 spots, two covered shelters, and a range of entertainment and recreation like pedal boats, sailboats, kayaks, and canoes are available.

A horseshoe pit, makeshift restrooms, and children’s activities are also available. Many people like camping in the area, and a few are even fortunate enough to have access to a camping area that is only accessible by boat. Due to the wide range of activities available, including fantastic swimming facilities, Chena Lake is the ideal destination for nature lovers.

McCarthy’s Swimming Hole

A neighborhood favorite, this swimming hole is a treasure. It’s the ideal place to unwind on a steamy summer afternoon. After a 5-minute walk from the Kennicott River, where you may park your car, you can reach the swimming hole at the second footbridge. 

Enjoy some beach time and sunbathe or perhaps go snorkelling. In the summer, when the sun is out, the water is relatively warm. A terminal glacier lake, ice cliffs with cascading boulders, and glacial silt beaches are just a few of the remarkable geographical features that may be found here if you choose to go close to the toe of Kennicott Glacier. 

Between swims, there is a lovely, peaceful 30-minute walk. If the need arises, you can also find portable toilets on the street just beyond the second footbridge.

Swimming Holes in Alaska: Goose Lake

Goose Lake in Anchorage, Alaska
Goose Lake in Alaska.

©Joey Mendolia/

Goose Lake is situated close to the university area in the heart of Anchorage. When you saw Pacific loons breeding at the opposite side of the lake from the middle of May to mid-September, you wouldn’t believe you were in the middle of Anchorage. 

To see the loons up close, hire a paddleboat at the Paddleboat Cafe. Respect the warnings and keep your distance. Additionally, keep an eye out for Canadian Geese, herring and mew gulls, American Wigeons, and some songbirds. A quick dinner is also available at the cafe. Alternately, stroll around the lake’s 3-mile constructed pathway. 

In addition, Goose Lake, among the few beaches in town, is the most well-liked swimming site in Anchorage during the hot summer months. A sizable parking space, a playground, and walking paths through the woods are within a short distance of the lake. When the weather is warm and bright, municipal lifeguards are on patrol.

Little Campbell Lake

This is a fantastic area of nature nearby Anchorage that is accessible, peaceful, and picturesque. Little Campbell Lake, located in the northeastern region of Kincaid Park, is encircled by a dense forest with pathways and is teeming with lily pads. Little Campbell Lake is a popular destination for folks who want to take a dip and tan in the summer when temps in Alaska soar. 

It resembles a private summer camp more than a public park because of the long swimming pier that extends 50 feet into the water and a few tiny boats that are idling across the lake. Additionally, the sandy bottom starkly contrasts the majority of Alaskan lakes.

Most people use wetsuits, but because the summertime highs are typically in the mid-sixties, you can frequently get by with just a neoprene cover. Given constant sunshine or rain, water temperatures can shift by 5 to 10 degrees in a matter of days.

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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

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