There's no two ways about it: kids love swimming. Lake swimming is perfect for 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 lakes nearby that offer great little beaches, picnic areas, and, of course, swimming. As an added bonus, most of these lakes are located in state parks, which offer lots of other great activities including camping and hiking. So get your bathing suits on, load up the car, grab the sunscreen, and head out to one of these great local swimming lakes.
Atsion Recreation Center in Wharton State Forest- Shamong, NJ
One of the more beautiful lake beaches in the area, Atsion has gorgeous sand and a large swimming area. Just off the beach, there is also a playground and a picnic area with tables and grills. There's also a snack bar and a few beautiful trails and camping nearby.
Dutch Springs- Bethlehem, PA
Dutch Springs offers a really unique lake-going experience; it's actually a waterpark! Featuring inflatable slides, trampolines, and more, this lake is for the more adventurous set. You can even go on a scuba diving adventure and see a submerged plane, helicopter, fire truck, and more. There is a grassy area where guests can set up chairs and umbrellas. It also offers paddleboat, paddleboard, and kayake rentals. Camping is also available.
Blue Marsh Lake- Leesport, PA
Just past Reading, PA, this man-made lake features a very small beach area. There's not a ton of sand here, but there's a lot of grass to put blankets down on. Best for those who won't miss sand castles.
Enjoying the water at Parvin State Park.
Parvin State Park- Elmer, NJ
Parvin State Park has a great little beach and lake perfect for the little ones. It has plenty of shaded areas under trees, and a large picnic grove with tables and grills, so pack a cooler and bring some charcoal. Parvin also has a snack bar, campgrounds, and canoe rentals.
Round Valley Recreation Area- Lebanon, NJ
This beautiful beach also offers playgrounds and volleyball courts. A concession stand sells snacks and beach supplies.
Lake Absegami in Bass River State Forest- Tuckerton, NJ
This 67-acre well-shaded beach has been around since the 1930s. It also offers several great trails if you find yourself in the mood for a walk. In fact, all of the trails start at the beach parking lot.
Lake Nummy in Belleplain State Forest- Woodbine, NJ
This tree-lined beach is a great escape from city living. Camping is also available.
Bellmawr Lake- Bellmawr, NJ
This one has mixed reviews, but it's only about 20 minutes from Philadelphia, so the drive can't be beat. Bellmawr Lake also offers beach volleyball and a beach bar for parents.
Just a warning that many of these places are populated with ticks, especially the NJ state forests. Be sure to check yourself and your littles before you head home.
Photos provided by the author. Header image of Atsion Recreation Area.