The Best Swimming Spots in North Dakota: Lakes, Rivers, and More

Written by Kaleigh Moore
Updated: August 1, 2023
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North Dakota’s swimming spots are truly breathtaking. From tranquil rivers to shimmering lakes, the state offers an array of natural wonders that provide perfect escapes on a hot summer day. Whether you’re in the mood for a dip in the refreshing water or simply looking for an idyllic spot to relax and unwind, North Dakota has plenty of options to suit your needs. Therefore, grab your sunscreen and towel and let’s explore nine of the best swimming spots that North Dakota has to offer.

The 9 Best Swimming Spots in North Dakota

1. Raging Rivers Waterpark.

If you’re looking for a fun-filled day of water activities, Raging Rivers Waterpark in Mandan, North Dakota, has everything you need. Firstly, the lazy river with waves provides a calming floating experience while simultaneously giving thrill-seekers a chance to ride mini waves. This water park is located at 2600 46th Ave SE, Mandan, and is ideal for anyone seeking aquatic adventures.

Upon arrival, you’ll notice plenty of seating space, from lounge chairs to green grass for those who prefer picnicking under blue skies. The park’s friendly staff are always available to assist with any needs or answer questions about the amenities. The two-speed waterslides provide additional thrills and spillage into refreshing waters that ease away all your worries and psyche up your adrenalin to heights unknown.

For kids seeking entertainment suitable for their age range, there are kiddie pools where they can safely play with friends. In addition to all these features, Raging Rivers Waterpark offers sheltered areas so swimmers can retreat when they need a break from the sun’s rays. 

The spot-lit area ensures long hours of swimming fun without being interrupted by daylight constraints. Raging Rivers Waterpark ticks all boxes necessary to create lifelong memories offering captivating experiences that one yearns to revisit again and again.


Outdoor waterparks provide a thrilling way of staying cool and having fun in the sun.


2. Splashers of the South Seas Waterpark

Most people think of waterparks as outdoor hubs made for enjoying the sunshine. Splasher’s of the South Seas Waterpark, breaks the norm and creates a memorable experience for both young and old indoors. This family-friendly water attraction is located inside the Canad Inn hotel in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It’s a massive place with plenty of features to attract visitors and provide a thrilling experience from dusk to dawn.

Splashers of the South Seas Waterpark has something for everyone, including those who aren’t guests at the hotel. Upon arrival, you’ll notice cabanas around the park that offer a relaxing spot to rest after your aquatic activities before bouncing back again for more fun. In addition to one’s relaxation needs, an arcade console offers different games where players can win tickets redeemable for prizes.

The lazy river, slides, and hot tub excite children and adults alike. The Rarotonga slide features a unique bowl-shaped design that makes you feel like you’re riding in a giant cereal bowl. 

3. West River Community Center Waterpark.

West River Community Center Waterpark, located at 2004 Fairway St in Dickinson, is a sporty oasis providing endless aquatic pleasure irrespective of the weather outside. If you desire an element of fun, excitement, or sports in your life, this attraction has everything to offer. 

One fantastic feature of the West River Community Center Waterpark that everyone can enjoy is the dual pool options, both indoor and outdoor, that ensure that no matter what climatic conditions are outside, you can still have tons of fun aquatic activities anytime all year round.

For those seeking to create treasurable memories, the lazy rivers with soft-flowing waves should provide a soothing experience. The two slides dotted around this area ensure the inclusion of other visitors who crave thrills as they cruise down them.

The West River Community Center’s amenities portfolio goes beyond pools. Sports enthusiasts can spend their time at the rock climbing wall and gymnasiums with basketball courts. The racquetball areas also promote fitness activity management and provide access to alternative fitness centers. 

The locker rooms provide sufficient accommodation; no need to worry about whether you can store your belongings as you explore all the exhilarating options. Tennis courts and golfing areas are situated further ahead, promising extra adventure in one entertainment hotspot.

4. Shipwreck Bay Water Playland

Ahoy there, mateys! If you’re looking for an adventure on the high seas without leaving North Dakota, look no further than Shipwreck Bay Water Playland. Tucked away in Holiday Inn at 3803 13th Ave S, Fargo, this hidden gem is among the best swimming spots in the area. 

Once inside, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a pirate’s paradise. The centerpiece of the playland is a replica pirate ship that kids can climb aboard. It’s so realistic; it feels like you’re setting sail with Blackbeard himself.

Children can also exercise agility by attempting to escape the rubble by descending one of the six slides into the wading pool below. Many land-based activities are available in Shipwreck Bay if you need to rest your sea legs after all that swashbuckling excitement. Challenge your mates to a game of table tennis or impress them with your skills in video games.

5. Williston Area Recreation Center

Are you ready for a treasure trove of aquatic adventures and land-based excitement? Look only as far as the Williston Area Recreation Center. Located at 822 18th St. East in Williston, North Dakota, this recreation center boasts amenities catering to every member of your crew. 

For those who love making a splash, the waterpark offers a Flow Rider, where challenging waves crash into patrons as they try to hang ten. Consider also trying your hand (and feet) at diving from the elevated platforms into the long-course pool below.

For safe swimming options or lessons available for younger ones, take a plunge in an instructional pool so everyone can enjoy learning to navigate rough waters. But swimming isn’t your favorite way to stay active. Fear not — Williston Area Recreation Center boasts four indoor tennis courts that will have you feeling like Serena Williams in no time.  

The golf simulation stations allow patrons to tighten their swings before hitting real golf courses. These stations are perfect for anyone looking to practice their form before stepping onto more challenging courses deep within densely forested areas.

Indoor swimming pool

Williston Area Recreation Center’s aquatic area offers a variety of swimming activities.


6. Lake Metigoshe.

A hidden gem of North Dakota – Lake Metigoshe- lies along the US-Canadian border. This enchanting waterhole boasts natural beauty and provides endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whether you’re looking to cool off on a hot summer day or bundle up for winter activities, Lake Metigosh has you covered.

During the warmer months, kayaking and boating opportunities abound at Lake Metigoshe State Park. With crystal clear waters surrounded by lush greenery, it’s no wonder this park is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts. But what if swimming is more your thing? Don’t worry; there’s plenty of room to take a refreshing dip in these pristine waters too. And when you’re ready to dry off, head to one of the park’s many playgrounds, where you can camp out and relax.

Even during those colder winter months when most lakes in the area freeze over, Lake Metigoshe remains open for business. Ice fishing and cross-country skiing are popular pastimes that attract visitors from far and wide. Bring your gloves and scarf because temperatures drop below freezing point during this cold season.

Beyond its aquatic offerings, nearby woodlands teem with wildlife, making any nature lover’s heart skip a beat. Marvel at majestic pine martens as they scamper through the trees or catch sight of graceful white-tailed deer bounding through the underbrush. Additionally, look for towering moose grazing amid the forest tangles if you’re fortunate enough to walk further into these forests.

Lake Metigoshe State Park

During the warmer months, kayaking and boating opportunities abound at Lake Metigoshe State Park.

©Roderick Eime from Australia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

7. Ashtabula Lake.

Make sure Lake Ashtabula is on your radar if you’re searching for a location to get in on some serious water fun. Over 5,000 acres of this scenic North Dakota treasure are covered, and its crystal-clear waters are ideal for swimming. Beyond just plunging yourself into its incredible depths, Lake Ashtabula, located in the eastern section of the state, is home to several activities. 

Boating enthusiasts will have plenty of space to stretch their sea legs and catch some thrills while gliding along this expansive lake. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try camping near the shoreline to get lost in the tranquility of the surrounding nature.

But it’s fishing that floats your boat. Don’t worry because Lake Ashtabula has got you covered with ample watersport opportunities when it’s not too crowded. Reel in bass or northern pike while taking in breathtaking views over calm waters. Beyond all these fantastic recreational possibilities, Lake Ashtabula also offers an environmental education program perfect for young learners. Kids can see how this beautiful ecosystem is connected and learn about wildlife conservation efforts.

The best part of swimming at Lake Ashtabula may be its clearness alone—the pristine waters are enough to make even mermaids jealous. The water clarity levels here offer unrivaled visibility making diving around wholly different. Fish darting around like fireworks would be hard for swimmers or divers not to take note. So why wait? Head down to Lake Ashtabula today. This lake ranks among North Dakota’s best swimming spots.

8. Lake Sakakawea

Lake Sakakawea, located in central North Dakota, is a breathtakingly gorgeous getaway from the busy city. This clear waterhole is a popular tourist site, only 50 miles from Bismarck. It covers 1,550 kilometers across six counties and is in an idyllic setting. One of the lake’s most popular activities? Swimming.

It’s no doubt that Lake Sakakawea is a top pick for North Dakotans looking for fun in the sun. And with so much space to spread out on the beach or swim near shore — it’s easy to see why this lake ranks among North Dakota’s top spots for swimmers.

Sakakawea is truly breathtaking. All year round, its beautiful scenery stays unrivaled and grabs every visitor’s attention. Whether you’re admiring vibrant autumn foliage bursting with colors or watching winter snowdrifts paint everything white, lace patterns glimmering in the light like gold dust flung into the air—this place has something special.

Indeed, one genuinely unforgettable experience you will enjoy while at Lake Sakakawea is catching a sunset over its glistening surface. There’s nothing quite like watching as the sun drops below your view, giving rise to shimmering and dazzling radiance right before your eyes. It is like having front-row seats to nature’s very own theatre show.

Government Bay at Lake Sakakawea

Lake Sakakawea covers 1,550 kilometers across six counties and is in an idyllic setting.

©Life Atlas Photography/

9. Beaver Lake.

Do you crave a getaway to a secluded lake? Look no further than Beaver Lake in North Dakota. Found in Beaver Lake State Park, this stunning area spans approximately 275 acres and is expertly tucked away in Logan County – about 20 minutes from the nearest small town. Beaver Lake provides the perfect lake getaway for peace-seekers. You can put your worries on hold and stretch out on the scenic sandy swimming beach or take a refreshing dip. 

While swimming may be reason enough to visit this beautiful state park, it’s not all Beaver Lake offers. The area was important to early settlers and people who lived here long ago; evidence of their presence remains today – a silent reminder of how much history lies here. With modern and primitive campsites nearby, visitors have easy access to water while camping under star-filled skies.

Don’t take our word for it! Visit Beaver Lake for stunning views that will take your breath away. Take advantage of picnic shelters where you can sit back with some nibbles and enjoy an abundance of wildlife at play around you or set sail on calm waters from boat ramps built elegantly around these delicate water bodies framed by trees lining up neatly together, creating a picture-perfect scenery.

And if simply enjoying nature isn’t enough adventure for you, fear not. The numerous trails winding through the hills surround the lakeshore, giving every trekker a scenic view of the landscapes. In case of any change in weather patterns, there are air-conditioned cabins where you can rest and unwind after a packed day of exploration.

Beaver Lake, North Dakota

Beaver Lake is found in Beaver Lake State Park and spans approximately 275 acres.

©David Becker, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Dive into Adventure And Make Lifetime Memories

North Dakota’s best swimming spots offer diverse natural wonders that will provide the perfect escape from the summer heat. From thrilling waterparks to tranquil lakes, there is no shortage of options for those seeking aquatic adventures or just a relaxing day by the water. 

Remember to stay safe and follow safety tips during your swim so you can make unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t wait any longer; grab your swimsuit and explore all the magnificent swimming spots that North Dakota has to offer.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © MAD.vertise/

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