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10 great places to swim in metro Detroit

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The weather is finally starting to heat up, which means it’s time to get to your nearest body of water. Whether its pools, lakes, or rivers, there’s plenty of great places to take a plunge in Southeast Michigan. And if you’ve got toddlers, there’s also some accessible splash pads in the area.

None of the places on this list are more than an hour away, though you will need your passport for one of them (but trust us, it’s worth it). And you might also want to check out our list of the best hiking trails in metro Detroit.

Here’s your guide to the best places to swim in metro Detroit.

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Pinckney Recreation Area

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A great spot for hikers and backpackers, Pickney gets you a little more seclusion some other places on this list. There’s 11,000 acres of land to explore, as well as some small lakes for swimming and fishing (though some PFAS warnings have been issued so don’t eat the fish). There’s a fee to rent a campsite, but the rest of the park is free with a Recreation Passport.

Kensington Metropark

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There are a couple of beaches at the park for swimming in Kent Lake, and a number of casual, well-tended hiking and walking trails. The farm area where you can interact with animals is pretty popular as well. Entry costs $10 per vehicle.

Rouge Park

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Detroit’s largest park has two Olympic-sized swimming pools open seven days a week. Admission is $2.

Northwest Activities Center

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A number of organizations and services are available at the center, including a health club and pool. There’s a resident ($10) and non-resident ($15) guest fee, but on Saturdays anyone can enter for $5 and youth get in free during “community time” from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Adams Butzel Recreation Center

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Butzel and a number of other recreation centers—Heilmann, Kemeny, Patton, Williams, Young—all have indoor pools available year round for swimming. Most have a membership or guest fee that comes with access to an aerobics center, but kids can often find a time to get in for free.

Stony Creek Metropark

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One of the more underrated nature locations in Southeast Michigan, Stony Creek is a great place to hike, bike, or relax. It’s also has a couple of beaches where you can take a dip, boat, or fish. Entry costs $10 per vehicle.

Belle Isle Beach

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By far the best place to swim in the city. It does get a little crowded when the weather’s nice, but that only adds to the pleasant vibe. Bring a beach towel, some refreshments, and maybe a bluetooth speaker, and luxuriate in the views of the downtown skyline. You will need a Michigan Recreation Passport to enter the island (though they rarely check it).

Michelle Gerard

Wayne County Family Aquatic Center

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Open seven days a week starting June 15 (and the weekends plus Memorial Day prior to that), the outdoor aquatic center has a wave pool, water slides, and shallow splash area for the young ones. There’s a sliding scale admission price based on age, with a discount for Wayne County residents.

Lake Saint Clair Metropark

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The mile-long shoreline offers a number of places to swim, either at the beach or the Olympic-sized pool. Of course you could also walk or bike along the accessible paths, and enjoy the waters by boating or windsurfing. Entry costs $10 per vehicle, plus an additional $5 for adults to use the pool (children get in for free).

Point Pelee National Park

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Yes it’s in Canada and it’s a bit of a drive. But if you’re willing to make the trek, it’s more than worth it. There’s several nice beaches, a great lookout point at the … point, and the whole family can get in for CA$15.70 (plus a toll when crossing the border). The wooded, paved path is also great for biking enthusiasts.

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Pinckney Recreation Area

A great spot for hikers and backpackers, Pickney gets you a little more seclusion some other places on this list. There’s 11,000 acres of land to explore, as well as some small lakes for swimming and fishing (though some PFAS warnings have been issued so don’t eat the fish). There’s a fee to rent a campsite, but the rest of the park is free with a Recreation Passport.

Kensington Metropark

There are a couple of beaches at the park for swimming in Kent Lake, and a number of casual, well-tended hiking and walking trails. The farm area where you can interact with animals is pretty popular as well. Entry costs $10 per vehicle.

Rouge Park

Detroit’s largest park has two Olympic-sized swimming pools open seven days a week. Admission is $2.

Northwest Activities Center

A number of organizations and services are available at the center, including a health club and pool. There’s a resident ($10) and non-resident ($15) guest fee, but on Saturdays anyone can enter for $5 and youth get in free during “community time” from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Adams Butzel Recreation Center

Butzel and a number of other recreation centers—Heilmann, Kemeny, Patton, Williams, Young—all have indoor pools available year round for swimming. Most have a membership or guest fee that comes with access to an aerobics center, but kids can often find a time to get in for free.

Stony Creek Metropark

One of the more underrated nature locations in Southeast Michigan, Stony Creek is a great place to hike, bike, or relax. It’s also has a couple of beaches where you can take a dip, boat, or fish. Entry costs $10 per vehicle.

Belle Isle Beach

Michelle Gerard

By far the best place to swim in the city. It does get a little crowded when the weather’s nice, but that only adds to the pleasant vibe. Bring a beach towel, some refreshments, and maybe a bluetooth speaker, and luxuriate in the views of the downtown skyline. You will need a Michigan Recreation Passport to enter the island (though they rarely check it).

Michelle Gerard

Wayne County Family Aquatic Center

Open seven days a week starting June 15 (and the weekends plus Memorial Day prior to that), the outdoor aquatic center has a wave pool, water slides, and shallow splash area for the young ones. There’s a sliding scale admission price based on age, with a discount for Wayne County residents.

Lake Saint Clair Metropark

The mile-long shoreline offers a number of places to swim, either at the beach or the Olympic-sized pool. Of course you could also walk or bike along the accessible paths, and enjoy the waters by boating or windsurfing. Entry costs $10 per vehicle, plus an additional $5 for adults to use the pool (children get in for free).

Point Pelee National Park

Yes it’s in Canada and it’s a bit of a drive. But if you’re willing to make the trek, it’s more than worth it. There’s several nice beaches, a great lookout point at the … point, and the whole family can get in for CA$15.70 (plus a toll when crossing the border). The wooded, paved path is also great for biking enthusiasts.