Ann Arbor Swimming Lakes

The Best Ann Arbor Swimming Lakes

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Are you looking for the best Ann Arbor swimming lakes? Check out these lakes within an hour of Ann Arbor with beaches. The list includes a Great Lake and a variety of inland lakes.


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Michigan State Parks

Michigan Department of Natural Resources operates state parks and recreation areas throughout the state. Several DNR sites near Ann Arbor offer swimming. I could not find beach hours on the DNR website. I would recommend only swimming during daylight hours. Note most of these beaches are not staffed with life guards. Swim at your own risk.


Brighton Recreation Area

Brighton Recreation Area includes a swimming beach at Bishop Lake. This beach is also the location of Jump Island Inflatable Water Park. While you can swim without paying for Jump Island, it may be a disappointing experience for kids watching others on the inflatables.

Jump Island Brighton

In the photo above you can just make out the buoys marking the edge of the swim area in front of the inflatables.

Learn more about Brighton Recreation Area on the DNR Website.

At a Glance

Address: 5426 Bishop Lake Rd, Brighton
Price:
DNR Recreation Passport – $12 with your Michigan license plate or $17 when purchased separately



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Hayes State Park

W. J. Hayes State Park in Irish Hills has a swimming beach on Wamplers Lake.

People out enjoying the summer heat on Wampler's Lake.

Posted by W. J. Hayes State Park on Saturday, June 29, 2019

Learn more about Hayes Park on the DNR Website.

At a Glance

Address: 1220 Wamplers Lake Road, Onsted
Price:
DNR Recreation Passport – $12 with your Michigan license plate or $17 when purchased separately



Island Lake

Island Lake has two beaches – one at Kent Lake and Spring Mill Pond.

There is a beach house at Kent Lake that includes restrooms, vending machines, and boat rentals.

Did you visit the park today? It was another busy day at the beach! Both Spring Mill Pond and Kent Lake filled to capacity. Hopefully you got to get out and enjoy the beautiful day 🙂

Posted by Island Lake Recreation Area on Sunday, July 30, 2017

Learn more about Island Lake Recreation Area on the DNR website.

At a Glance

Address: 6301 Kensington Road, Brighton
Price:
DNR Recreation Passport – $12 with your Michigan license plate or $17 when purchased separately



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Pinckney Recreation Area

Pinckney Recreation Area has 3 swimming beaches – Silver Lake, Halfmoon Lake, and Bruin Lake. Both Silver Lake ad Halfmoon Lake offer public access. Bruin Lake is restricted to those camping at the campground.

HOT & MUGGY today – but COOLER at the Lake!

Posted by Pinckney State Recreation Area on Friday, August 12, 2016

Learn more about PInckney Recreation Area on the DNR website.

At a Glance

Address: 8555 Silver Hill Road, Pinckney
Price:
DNR Recreation Passport – $12 with your Michigan license plate or $17 when purchased separately



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Sterling State Park

Sterling State Park is the only state park on Lake Erie and is under an hour from Ann Arbor. Personally, I prefer swimming in the Great Lakes to a smaller inland lake.

Fireworks tonight @10pm. Weather is great. Lots of parking still.

Posted by Sterling State Park on Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Learn more about Sterling State Park on the DNR website.

At a Glance

Address: 2800 State Park Road, Monroe
Price:
DNR Recreation Passport – $12 with your Michigan license plate or $17 when purchased separately



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Waterloo Recreation Area

Waterloo Recreation Area is the largest state park in the lower Peninsula. It includes Portage Lake for day use and one for use of those staying at Sugarloaf Campground.

It’s a gorgeous day at the Portage Lake beach! Why aren’t you here cooling off?

Posted by Waterloo Recreation Area on Thursday, July 11, 2019

Learn more about Waterloo Recreation Area on the DNR website.

At a Glance

Address: 16345 McClure Road, Chelsea
Price:
DNR Recreation Passport – $12 with your Michigan license plate or $17 when purchased separately



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Regional Parks

There are also beaches at Washtenaw County’s Independence Lake and the Huron-Clinton Kensington Metropark.

Beach at Independence Lake County Park

Independence Lake offers both a beach for swimming and the Blue Heron Bay Spray Park (see details above).

The beach at Independence Lake is located a bit of a distance from the water park. Personally, I found the beach rather rocky when we visited when my daughter was a preschooler. We have not returned. But I grew up on the east coast and am used to the ocean.

If you plan to visit often, I suggest buying a vehicle admission passes for $30/calendar year ($45 non-resident). The vehicle admission pass is also valid at Rolling Hills.

Get more details on Independence Lake County Park from Washtenaw County’s website.

At a Glance

Address: 3200 Jennings Rd, Whitmore Lake
Hours: Beach: 10a-8:30p Daily
Blue Heron Bay: 10a-5p Friday-Monday
Season: Beach is manned Memorial Day-Labor Day
Blue Heron Bay: July 31-Labor Day (except August 30)
Price:
$6 vehicle admission for county residents and $4 Blue Heron Bay admission for county residents ($10 vehicle, $5 BHB for non-residents)



Kensington Metropark

Kensington Metropark has two beaches – Martindale Beach and Maple Beach.

There are no lifeguards available at either Kensington Metropark beach. Swim at your own risk.

Martindale Beach is also the location of the Splash ‘n’ Blast which has two slides and a splash pad for an additional fee.

Get more details on Kensington Metropark from Huron-Clinton Metroparks website.

At a Glance

Address: 4570 Huron River Parkway, Milford
Hours: 10a-8p
Price:
price
$10 daily vehicle admission, $40 annual pass for Livisngton, Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, and Washtenaw Residents



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Other Ann Arbor Swimming Options

In addition to the lakes above, several Ann Arbor area parks are great for splashing, mostly with rivers and ponds. They are especially great choices outside of the traditional swim season of Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Ann Arbor Parks for Splashing

Lakes and rivers are just a couple of options for swimming in the Ann Arbor area. Check out our list of places to get wet for summer swimming fun.

10 Places to Get Wet: Ann Arbor Swimming Pools

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