The Best Swimming Holes in Minnesota

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: August 16, 2023
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There are just a few months of warm weather here in Minnesota. That explains why so many Minnesotans hurry outside as soon as the sun emerges in the spring and remain there until the weather turns chilly once more. Many of us use the extra time we have during the summer to engage in our favorite outdoor pursuits, like swimming and hiking.

Here are our favorite swimming spots in the land of over 10,000 lakes!

The waters of Square Lake are among the purest in Minnesota and attract swimmers and scuba divers from all around the Twin Cities.

Lake Minnetonka Swimming Pond

Lake Minnetonka, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lake Minnetonka Regional Park is home to the Lake Minnetonka Swimming Pond.

©Nikolay Donev/

Within the Lake Minnetonka Regional Park in Minnetrista is the Lake Minnetonka Swim Pond. The six-foot maximum depth of the 1.75-acre swimming hole at Lake Minnetonka is enclosed entirely by sand.

The pond has enormous beach umbrellas for shelter, filtered, chlorinated water, a dressing area, and food stands. For those one year of age and older, a pass is necessary. An adjacent play area with a nautical theme is also available.

Public access to Lake Minnetonka’s southwest side is provided via the Three Rivers Park System’s Lake Minnetonka Regional Park near Minnetrista. Picnic areas, a fishing dock, disc golf, bike and hiking routes, a boat launch, and an access point for boats are also available.

Square Lake Park

Square Lake Park, Stillwater, Minnesota

Square Lake is just a few miles north of Stillwater in Minnesota.

©Krueger’s Media Design/

In the City of May, Square Lake is situated seven miles to the north of Stillwater. The exceptional water quality of Square Lake led to the Metropolitan Council designating Square Lake Park as a “Special Recreation Feature” for the entire area. 

The lake, whose waters are among the purest in Minnesota, attracts swimmers and scuba divers from all around the Twin Cities. On the east side of Square Lake, next to the beach and picnic area, the park contains a fishing pier. 

This area offers visitors a motorized boat launch with 12 trailer slots if you want to launch a boat. The entrance has an open speed and is accessible during the winter. The size of bluegills is typical, however, during the summer, some fishermen have success finding bigger fish in deeper water towards the border of the foliage. There are lots of northern pike. Winter spearers have caught fish weighing more than 20 pounds.

Cedar Lake East

Cedar Lake East Beach, Formerly Hidden Beach, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Cedar Lake East Beach used to be Hidden Beach.

©Oneconscious at English Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons – License

Despite a variety of modifications over the years, Minneapolis locals still flock to Hidden Beach to unwind and get some sunshine. The beach, which is on the east side of Cedar Lake, earned its moniker from the meandering paths that one must travel before arriving there. 

Because of this, Hidden Beach used to be a quiet retreat for Minneapolis’ unconventional society devotees seeking a beach with a distinctive ambiance from one of the city’s busier summer locales. Interestingly, Hidden Beach used to be the only nudist beach in the Twin Cities. 

The city of Minneapolis has been trying to crack down on alcohol use in an effort to enhance Hidden Beach’s former, more rebellious reputation. But the beach still draws a diverse group of people, including skateboarders, tattooed twenty-somethings, and reggae bands.

Quarry Park and Nature Preserve

Quarry Park and Nature Preserve, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Quarry Park and Nature Preserve is a tranquil place to swim.

©jpellgen/Flickr – License

The county owns this 643-acre regional park, which is situated near County Road 137 and Seventh Street South. The park contains granite quarries, rock outcroppings, bluff lands, moist meadows, and forests of oak trees. To save this location indefinitely, a conservation easement was purchased from Stearns County by a Scientific Nature Program.

You can take a swim in two of these quarries to cool off. The surrounding steep cliffs and dense forests make this swimming hole the epitome of tranquillity. The deeper of the two swimming holes is Quarry #2. It has a depth of 116 feet and is encircled by high rocks. 

Quarry No. 11 is also fantastic. It has a fantastic sandy beach and is 40 feet deep, making it ideal for children. Additionally, a sizable pier is available for jumping off of. You will undoubtedly have a blast swimming in any quarry. Bring a kayak if you want to float, or just show up and swim. You’ll have a blast either way.

Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls, St. Paul, Minnesota

There are a number of activities available at Hidden Falls Regional Park.

©Sam Wagner/

Just below Lock and Dam 1, Hidden Falls Regional Park is situated along the Mississippi River bluffs. You can go bird watching, fishing, picnicking, strolling, and riding at this lovely park. 12 of the 16 picnic tables at Hidden Falls are covered by an open shelter, which offers seating for about 60 people. At 110 volts, electricity is accessible. 

Multiple roasters, coffee makers, crock pots, and other electric appliances could overload the power supply. There are also water fountains, two fire rings, one boat launch, paved trails, and BBQ grills scattered across the area.

Find the hidden, spring-fed waterfall by going on a short stroll through the forest, which is located immediately below Mississippi River Blvd. In addition to getting down close to the river on a calm sandy beach, Hidden Falls Regional Park has plenty of open space and places for picnics. Seasonal views can be enjoyed all year round on the trails. It’s a wonderful park to visit for a relaxed day of family enjoyment.

Summary of The Best Swimming Holes in Minnesota

Here’s a summary of the best swimming holes in Minnesota and where they are located:

Swimming HoleLocation
1Lake Minnetonka Swimming PondWithin Lake Minnetonka Regional Park in Minnetrista
2Square Lake ParkIn the City of May, situated seven miles to the north of Stillwater
3Cedar Lake EastMinneapolis, just south of I-394
4Quarry Park and Nature PreserveNear County Road 137 and Seventh Street South, Waite Park
5Hidden FallsAlong the Mississippi River in St. Paul

The photo featured at the top of this post is © jpellgen/Flickr – License / Original

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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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