The Best Swimming Holes In Nebraska

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Published: December 9, 2022
© Michael Kaercher/
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Did you know that swimming holes in Nebraska are renowned for having crystal-clear water? Before casting, anglers can frequently see fish below the surface, and swimmers with goggles can view a variety of amazing underwater views. 

There are many locations where you can go swimming in the clear, refreshing water, even though they may not have the ultra-blue color of the seas in the tropics. Here are the top swimming holes in Nebraska.

Sandy Channel State Recreation Area

Welcome to Nebraska sing.
Ready to discover the best swimming holes in Nebraska? Let’s dive in.

©Michael Kaercher/

This recreation area is an excellent option for fishing, boating, kayaking, and camping. Sandy Channel is a well-liked fishing location for largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, and yellow perch.

This region spans around 180 acres, comprising 52 acres of water in six lakes, and is situated three miles south of Elm Creek. Scuba divers can enjoy a picturesque setting thanks to the clear water. Sandy Channel has recently added handicap-accessible restrooms, boat ramps, tables and chairs, grills, walking paths, and kiosks.

These lakes don’t have any bathing areas or boat ramps, but you can launch a sailboat or an electric boat from the shoreline. You might see some wildlife in the area, such as a group of turtles lounging in the delightful sunshine.

Swanson Reservoir State Recreation Area

The largest of the four recreational areas is Swanson Reservoir State Recreation Area. Swanson is a lake and land development of 3,957 acres of land in the southwest, close to Trenton. 

In addition to other attractions, the region is great for boating, camping and in-season hunting. Visitors enjoy the park to cool off during the warmer months at a dedicated swimming beach. No lifeguards are on site, so be sure to have good swimming abilities and use the necessary gear to stay safe. 

The Good Life Marina provides a trailer court with electricity hookups, munchies, groceries, bait, tackle, water ski gear, gas, hunting, fishing, and park access permits.

Swimming Holes In Nebraska: Calamus Reservoir

Calamus State Recreation Area is one of the most well-liked locations in Nebraska for campers, angling, boating, picnicking, and climbing. It is situated among the state’s stunning sandhills. The region’s highlights include a 5,123-acre lake and 4,958 acres of rolling hills terrain that is blanketed in local vegetation and wildflowers. 

The Calamus River is 1.2 miles long and has 3.5 miles of additional waterways winding through the region. There are no lifeguards on duty in Calamus Reservoir but keep in mind that swimming 50 yards from docks and boat ramps is prohibited.

The lake has four docks and five ramps and welcomes all kinds of boats. The Calamus River is also accessible via the Calamus State Recreation Area.

Lake McConaughy

Lake McConaughy
Lake McConaughy is the largest and deepest lake in Nebraska.

©Bob Pool/

Nearly all aspects of Lake McConaughy are enormous. It is Nebraska’s largest reservoir, with 30,000 surface acres and one of the largest dams of its kind in the world. This reservoir is also home to some of the biggest fish, many of which have set multiple state records. The popular moniker “Big Mac” refers to the lake’s size. 

Most Nebraskans and citizens of the surrounding states are aware of Lake McConaughy State Leisure Area, which is eight miles northeast of Ogallala and fantastic for outdoor pursuits. Camping, boating, windsurfing, swimming, water skiing, picnicking, diving, hunting, angling, and other outdoor activities are available. Lake Mac’s white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters are super popular!

Long Pine Creek

North-central Nebraska’s Long Pine is a 153-acre land spanning Long Pine Creek. The region is popular for camping, fishing, climbing, and archery ranges. The location is popular for wading, playing, and floating rather than swimming. 

Take a tube and float around. You can occasionally get off your floatation device to enjoy the nice water and splash around. Long Pine keeps bringing in new visitors who are searching for tranquillity, beauty, and nature. In the winter, the area’s stillness and beauty are unparalleled.

Swimming Holes In Nebraska: Enders Reservoir

Generally referred to as the Southwest Reservoirs, Enders Reservoir State Recreation Region combines recreational activities with wildlife. The Enders reservoir protects wildlife by allocating a section of the area as a wildlife refuge in the autumn and winter. 

The recreational amenities are less developed at this lake than at the other three since it is considered a refuge. 5,700 acres make up the total region, including the lake. The Enders Wildlife Refuge occupies 2,146 acres of the lake’s western shore out of the total 4,000 acres. 

Enders is an excellent getaway for outdoor enthusiasts who want to take advantage of nature’s gifts in a quiet, uncrowded environment. You can purchase park permits at the park office.

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Welcome to Nebraska sing.
Ready to discover the best swimming holes in Nebraska! Let's dive in.
© Michael Kaercher/

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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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