10 Swimming Lakes near Philly You Need To Discover

Dive into Parvin State Park; the water's fine! (And a little chilly...) Photo by Cait Sumner
Dive into Parvin State Park; the water's fine! (And a little chilly...) Photo by Cait Sumner
4/26/24 - By Cait Sumner

There are no two ways about it: Kids love swimming! Lake swimming is the perfect way to cool off when the beach or the pool is too crowded, or when you just want to mix it up a bit. There are quite a few swimming lakes in the Philadelphia area that offer great little beaches, picnic areas, and, of course, swimming! As an added bonus, most of these swimming lakes are located in state parks, which offer lots of other great activities, including camping and hiking. Most swimming lakes in the Philadelphia area are open Memorial Day through Labor Day. So get your bathing suits on, load up the car, grab the sunscreen, and head out to one of these great local swimming lakes in the Philadelphia region!

Looking for more summer fun? Check out our favorite Jersey Shore Beaches, or browse our roundup of Where to Go Camping with Kids. For all the best Philadelphia-area swimming spots, our guide to Beaches, Pools, Spray Pads, and Water Parks has got you covered.


Swimming Lakes for Families in Pennsylvania

1. Blue Marsh Lake—Leesport, PA

Just past Reading, Pennsylvania, this man-made lake features a very small beach area. Amenities include picnic tables, grills, concessions, and public restrooms. There's not a ton of sand here. However, there's plenty of grass to spread out the towels and get some sun. When you want to take a break from the water, you can enjoy hiking, biking, or horseback riding.

2. Locust Lake State Park—Barnesville, PA

Two hours from Philadelphia, this state park offers a perfect camping spot with a lake. Visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, a playground, boating, and hiking. The sand beach is open from late-May to mid-September, 8am to sunset. 

3. Tuscarora State Park—Barnesville, PA

Open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset, Tuscarora State Park offers a beach, boating, public restrooms, showers, concessions, a picnic area and pavilion, a fishing pier, and hiking (and the park is ADA accessible). The sand beach is open from late May through mid-September. Buoys mark designated swimming spots.

4. Beltzville State Park—Lehighton, PA

This Pennsylvania state park offers a 525-foot beach that is open from 8am to sunset daily from late May through mid-September. The lake also has a bathhouse with showers and concessions. Swimmers are advised to swim at their own risk. Other activities offered here include hiking, boating, mountain biking, wildlife watching, hunting, fishing, and picnicking. 

Atsion Recreation Area in New Jersey
Atsion Recreation Area in New Jersey features a gorgeous sand beach and swimming. Photo by the author

Swimming Lakes for Families in New Jersey

5. Atsion Recreation Center in Wharton State Forest—Shamong, NJ

One of the most beautiful lake beaches in the area, Atsion has gorgeous sand and a large swimming area with lifeguards. Just off the beach, there is a playground and a picnic area with tables and grills. There's also a snack bar and a few beautiful trails and camping nearby. Inner tubes, rafts, and other flotation devices are not permitted. 

6. Hooks Creek Lake at Cheesquake State Park—Matawan, NJ

This spot features swimming, a family camping area, freshwater fishing, and a picnic area. In addition, children and parents can learn about the area's unique ecology at the nature center. Here, guests can explore the three different habitats found at the park and discover facts about the Indigenous Peoples and early colonists that inhabited the area. The area also features five hiking trails.

7. Parvin Lake at Parvin State Park—Pittsgrove, NJ

Located at the edge of the Pine Barrens, this spot offers a beach area as well as the option to camp, canoe, boat, explore hiking trails, go fishing, and grill or picnic. Inner tubes and rafts are not permitted in the swimming area. Parking areas, bathhouse, first-aid station, canoe rental, and a concession stand are all located near the swimming lake.

8. Round Valley Recreation Area—Lebanon, NJ

This beautiful beach also offers playgrounds and volleyball courts. A concession stand sells snacks and beach supplies. Swimming is allowed in the designated areas from Memorial Day to Labor Day when lifeguards are on duty (10:30am to 5pm), but not in the main reservoir, which is usually reserved for scuba diving and snorkeling but is closed in 2024 due to a restoration project.

9. Lake Nummy at Belleplain State Forest—Woodbine, NJ

Families can swim on the north side of Lake Nummy while visiting Belleplain State Forest. In addition, guests can expect plenty of spots to picnic, camping opportunities, and ranger programming. Other amenities include a beach complex with changing area, first aid station, playground equipment, and concessions. Pets are prohibited at the beach, so leave your canine friends at home.

10. Bellmawr Lake—Bellmawr, NJ

Only about 20 minutes away from Philadelphia, this swimming lake's location is a big perk for Philly families, though it's important to note that this swimming lake charges $12-$17 per person depending on the day. Bellmawr Lake has lifeguards and sells a variety of floats to enjoy. If you bring your own, make sure it is small so as not to impede on other's personal space. On-site concessions are available; make sure to bring cash since credit cards only accepted for more than $10. However, there is an ATM located at the main entrance. Pets are not allowed at the lake. 

This post has been updated for 2024 by Hillary Moses Mohaupt.

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