The Most Beautiful Lakes in America for Swimming

The Most Beautiful Lakes in America for Swimming

Beyond their pristine settings and peaceful waters, lakes act like time machines, taking us back to carefree summer days spent swimming from shore to shore, racing to the swim platform, and watching a perfectly reflected moon rise over the smooth surfaces.

Whitefish Lake, Montana

Whitefish Lake, Montana PanoramaNathan Dugan/Shutterstock

Set at the base of the snow-capped Rockies in Northwestern Montana, sparkling Whitefish Lake is scenic defined. And whether you choose to join the crowd at City Beach in Whitefish (where you can also rent paddleboats) or take a solitary swim at Les Mason State Park, you won't be entering a frigid zone: Whitefish Lake is shallow enough to warm up, making it one of the best swimming lakes near you. Find the most scenic getaway in your state.

Lake Jocassee, South Carolina

nature around upstate south carolina at lake jocassee gorge mountainsdigidreamgrafix/Shutterstock

Looking for a swimming lake near you? Speckled with islands and rimmed with waterfalls—even kids can swim under Wright Creek Falls as they tumble into the lake—Lake Jocassee keeps its cool during South Carolina's sultry summers. It's less crowded than other lakes, too, thanks to a single public access point at Devil's Fork State Park. Lake Jocassee is particularly popular with scuba divers, who flock to the lake for its clean, clear water and cool sites like a sunken Chinese junk, a cemetery, and a basketball hoop.

Walden Pond, Massachusetts

CONCORD, MASSACHUSETTS, USAAlizada Studios/shutterstock

It looks like a lake, but the moniker is correct: Walden Pond really is a pond—and here's the difference between a pond and a lake. Still, offering up a sandy beach, forested shoreline and broad expanse of water, the deepest natural body of fresh water in Massachusetts is popular with swimmers, kayakers, and literary types looking to commune with nature the way Henry David Thoreau did in the 1840s.

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