The Best Swimming Holes in Michigan

Written by Kirstin Opal
Published: November 14, 2022
Image Credit CJ32/Shutterstock.com
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One of the Great Lake States, Michigan has four great lakes that account for one-fifth of the world’s surface freshwater and more than 60 miles of coastline. Michigan features more than 11,000 inland lakes in addition to Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Superior, and Lake Huron. 

Here, you may find some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in all of nature. But Michigan also has a lot of great swimming holes if you’re looking for them. The majority are accessible and worth the trip to such outlying areas. Bring your swimwear and dive into some of the state’s stunning freshwater sites as the summer heats up.

Millenium Park

One of the biggest urban parks in the country, Millennium Park includes sections in Grand Rapids, Walker, Grandville, and Wyoming. The area is rich in natural resources, offering distinctive ecosystems and sizable natural areas for animals to thrive. 

It has 1,400 acres of hilly terrain and six miles of shoreline on the Grand River. The site has a six-acre beach and splash pad, boat rentals, approximately 18 miles of trails, and numerous other recreational and rejuvenating activities.

You’ll be able to enjoy the refreshing water at Millenium Park from the beginning of May through Halloween. The beach and splash pad portion requires a regular entrance fee, and season passes can be purchased.

Pickney Recreation Park

Tourists, those looking to cool off, fishermen, and other outdoor enthusiasts will find heaven at Pinckney Recreation Area. Pinckney is renowned for its vast network of trails and collection of top-notch lakes for swimming and fishing. A backcountry experience is provided by the 26 miles of multi-use route and distant campsites. 

There are two public beaches for water activities – one at Halfmoon Lake and Silver Lake. The beach at Bruin Lake is solely accessible to campers. Speaking of, if you’re looking for a place to enjoy a long weekend, camping is available at Pickney Recreation Park. 

If swimming isn’t your thing, you can still beat the sweltering summer heat by renting a paddleboard, canoe, kayak, or row boat! One of the biggest perks of this area is that the water is relatively warm throughout the summer months! 

Ocqueoc Falls

There are few sights as breathtaking in Michigan as Ocqueoc Falls. The only widely accessible cascade in the United States, Ocqueoc Falls is the biggest waterfall in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. There are roughly six miles of walking and bike trails at Ocquoec. 

Plunge in the waterfalls after you’ve worked up a sweat from hiking the paths! You can witness at this location where the Ocqueoc River carved a path through the limestone bedrock that forms the region’s foundation. 

Near the top of the falls, one may find the ruins of an old mill race. The falls also have a State Forest Campground there if you’re wanting an extended trip. Because of the rushing water from the falls, we suggest this spot for adults only, as the water can be a bit rough for kids. 

Ocqueoc River, Michigan
Ocqueoc Falls has a State Forest Campground if you’re wanting an extended trip.

Richard345/Shutterstock.com

Olive Shores

This 20-acre, largely wooded lot with 738 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline, a dramatic dune formation, and substantial beech-maple-hemlock woods. There is a large network of boardwalks and staircases that cross the dune to connect directly to the beachfront. 

Decks offer lounging, Lake Michigan vistas, and an exhibit showcasing the location as the setting for a sequence in the Tom Hanks film “Road to Perdition.” A visitor of Olive Shores has this to say about the area: “A great place to stop for a rest or swim when kayaking along the shoreline!” 

The beach is big enough to set up a lounge chair and umbrella and enjoy an entire day relaxing in the sun. The water gets warmest in the middle of July but is tolerable around Memorial Day. Be sure to bring the whole family to this gorgeous Michigan swimming hole! 

Fisherman’s Island

Fisherman’s Island State Park is a 2,678-acre park with miles of pristine Lake Michigan beachfront. Only a few miles separate it from the city of Charlevoix. Fisherman’s Island, a tiny island that is a part of the park and is close to the picnic area, is situated offshore. 

We’d suggest bringing water shoes, as the floor of the lake is a bit rocky. It’s relatively shallow, making it great for younger or less experienced swimmers. The beachfront at the campground hosts even better options for water activities! 

Turn right (westward) on Bell Bay Road after traveling 1.5 miles south on US-31 from Charlevoix to get to the park’s main entrance. It is 2.5 miles to the designated Fisherman’s Island State Park Entrance from US-31.

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Fisherman's Island

CJ32/Shutterstock.com
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About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs, her 14-year-old dog, 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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