For the few months of summer, you can’t keep us Minnesotan’s inside. Who needs AC when you have so many places to cool off with a nice swim outside? Of course, in the land of 10,000(+) lakes there are plenty of places to go for a swim outside. We looked for the most unique, the places that really set themselves apart for this list of Minnesota’s outdoor swimming spots. Grab your suit (or not) and go jump in the water, because summer doesn’t last forever.
1802 Co Rd 137
Waite Park, MN 56387
For hiking, fishing, climbing, biking, and of course, swimming, this beautiful park just outside of St. Cloud is one of the best in the state. Work up a sweat enjoying the majestic and expansive park and then cool off with a swim in the Quarry. Formerly inaccessible to swimmers, it has now been opened up for public use and has quickly become one of the coolest and best places to hit the water. Those looking for an even bigger rush can dive from the top of cliffs into the water.
7622 McCarthy Beach Road
Side Lake, MN 55781
McCarthy makes this list by simply being a fantastic, clean, safe, and fun place to swim. No frills, no hassles, just clear blue water waiting for you to dive in surrounded by miles and miles of beautiful parkland. The sand is soft and deep, the water is clean, and it’s an ideal place to bring the whole family. Minnesota may have a lot of lakes, but some of them are just better for swimming than others. McCarthy is exactly that. It’s tucked away in the far north, not far from Dylan’s birthplace, and has all the peaceful majesty you can expect from the wooded areas of Northern Minnesota.
2000 Upton Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55405
The (not so) Hidden Beach has been a Minneapolis favorite for years and years. Some locals have lamented the fact that it’s no longer a secret, but it’s still one of the most unique places to swim and relax, to lay in the sun, sink into a mud pit or whatever else you enjoy at the beach. Okay, so it has it’s fair share of interesting characters (so maybe not a place to bring the kiddos), but the people-watching is the best anywhere. And you still have to trek to find it, keeping those less-enthusiastic at bay. Famous for once being the only nude beach in Minneapolis, it’s still a special (and interesting) place to go for a swim.
Related: Best Public Pools In Minnesota
26389 Cty 7 Blvd
Welch, MN 55089
Known as a peaceful, relaxing place to lay back on an inner tube, canoe, or kayak, floating down crystal clear waters, maybe splashing a little along the way, there are plenty of places to pull up and jump in the water to swim as well. Spending time on this quiet alternative to Apple River is a must-have experience for a Minnesota summer. Time seems to stand still as you float, feeling the cool water on your skin. Nothing else seems important.And then dive in and enjoy the cool, refreshing water on your skin.
Seven Bridges Road
Duluth, Minnesota 55804
This has been a popular swimming spot in Minnesota since your grandparents were swimming together, and it’s still one of the best places in Minnesota to enjoy the water. In Lester Park near Duluth, the water flows deep and the cliffs run high so it’s perfect for jumping from heights that might make your mother chew her nails in nervousness. The beautiful surrounding area seems almost untouched by humans, despite its long history, and it’s a great, secluded area to get some more wild swimming on.
Related: Best Places to Sunbathe In Minnesota
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.