The Best Swimming Holes in Michigan

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: August 25, 2023
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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.

An overview of 5 terrific swimming holes in the great state of Michigan.

Millenium Park

Millennium Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Millennium Park in Grand Rapids, MI features a 6-acre beach for swimmers.

©Kyleveldman / Public Domain – License

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

One of the public beaches for water activities at Pinckney Recreation Area is the amazing Silver Lake.

©Dale Fisher, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Public Domain (Gemeinfrei) – License

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

Ocqueoc River, Michigan

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


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 want 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. 

Olive Shores

Sunrise at Bradford Beach on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Lake Michigan has countless shorelines that provide ample opportunities for swimming and other water activities.


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

There’s a terrific beachfront within Fisherman’s Island State Park for swimming and more.

©Notorious4life / CC0 1.0 – License

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.

Summary of the Best Swimming Holes in Michigan

RankSwimming Hole
1Millenium Park
2Pickney Recreation Park
3Ocqueoc Falls
4Olive Shores
5Fisherman’s Island

The photo featured at the top of this post is © CJ32/

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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