25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio
Ohio lakes offer visitors every type of outdoor experience, from water skiing to patiently waiting for the tug of a fish on the end of a line. Visitors channeling their inner Thoreau will fall in love with peaceful Findley Lake where motorized boats are limited to quiet electric motors that play nicely with canoes and sailboats, and the lake is surrounded by woods. Families looking for outdoor fun amenities beyond the water will appreciate Lake Hope State Park and Salt Fork State Park for volleyball, mini-golf, horseshoe, hiking, and more. From swimming to s'mores, visitors can create new family summertime memories at these beautiful Ohio Lakes. Photo: JasonAberts/Fotolia
»Adams Lake State Park
Adams Lake State Park is situated in Ohio's Bluegrass Region and is known as one of the most biologically interesting and scenic areas in the state. This unique, quaint, 50-acre park is a nature enthusiast's dream complete with prairies and a charming, serene lake. This day-park allows only electric motor powered boats and non-powered watercraft on the lake. Anglers will have their pick of fish to catch, including bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass, carp, crappie, and bullhead. There is one ¾-mile long walking path that follows the southern part of the lake for visitors to utilize, and additional trails can be found on the neighboring Adams Lake Prairie State Nature Preserve.
Address: 14633 State Route 41, West Union, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: sianc/Fotolia
Atwood Lake is an easy drive both from Akron and Cleveland, perfect for a summer getaway. The 1,500-acre lake is a top choice for boating and sailing with 28 miles of shoreline. It features a beautiful wide, sandy beach with amenities like picnic shelters, changing rooms and showers, a children's playground, and a vending area. Atwood Lake sits on 2,500 acres of parkland and campgrounds. Visitors can choose from 500 camping lots with and without full hookups or vacation cabins. There is an Activity Center with free Wi-Fi and daily activities, a Nature Center, and hiking trails. Visitors will also find a camp store here. The park hosts two annual festivals.
Address: 9500 Lakeview Road NE, Mineral City, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: elkit/Fotolia
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Berlin Lake and the surrounding wildlife area have been developed specifically for fishing and hunting. Walleye, bass, and crappies dominate the fishing here, although anglers will also find largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Fishing is productive year-round, and there are several boat launches and commercial boat liveries available. The deliberately developed hunting area includes a distribution of meadows, fields, shrubby uplands, and woods, all of which make for a variety of game. Visitors will also have access to an archery range in the wildlife area that is open from sunrise to sunset at no charge. A section of the area is reserved for dog training.
Address: Wildlife District Three, 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Emilia/Fotolia
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Once an Ohio canal system feeder lake, 3,100-acre Buckeye Lake is also home to Ohio's oldest park, Buckeye Lake State Park. The park has been a vacation hot spot for decades with numerous recreational opportunities like swimming, boating, water skiing, and fishing. The lake is one of few that are designated an unlimited horsepower lake, but visitors will also find canoes, rowboats, kayaks, pontoons, and sailboats. There are nine launch ramps and 135 dock rentals. Buckeye Lake features three public beaches that are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Anglers will appreciate abundant fishing, especially for crappies and bass. The park also has four picnic areas with grills, three shelters, and a playground.
Address: 2905 Liebs Island Road, Millersport, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Photography by Jack/Fotolia
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»Burr Oak Lake
Burr Oak Lake and State Park are located in a remote area of southeastern Ohio. The lake was created by the Tom Jenkins Dam across Sunday Creek in 1950. Naturalists and those who are drawn to wilderness areas will love Burr Oak. It is situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and visitors might see wild turkey, white-tailed deer, and grouse, as well as lakeshore waterfowl and beaver. There are four boat launches providing access to the 664-acre lake. Visitors will also have fun playing at an 18-hole disc golf course (BYOD); fishing Burr Oak Lake for bass, bluegill, and crappie; swimming; playing volleyball; picnicking; and hiking seven park trails.
Address: 10220 Burr Oak Lodge Road, Glouster, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Alla/Fotolia
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Chippewa Lake, one of Ohio's natural inland lakes, is 14,000 years old and originated from the melting of a glacial ice sheet. The lake and surrounding shoreline was privately owned until the Medina County Parks purchased the western shoreline and the lake itself in 2007. Now the general public and visitors have access to the lake, beaches and boat ramps, park and shelter, picnic areas, and basketball and tennis courts. Visitors need to purchase valid Ohio fishing licenses to fish the lake for bluegill, perch, largemouth bass, and other local fish. Adjoining wetlands are great for bird watchers, Chippewa Inlet Trail accommodates hikers, mountain bikers, and cross-country skiers.
Address: 6364 Deerview Lane, Medina, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Dmytro Titov/Fotolia
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»Dillon State Park
Dillon State Park consists of an expansive 2,285 acres of diverse natural characteristics including a hardwood forest, scenic lake shoreline, and verdant valley. Visitors will enjoy exploring the inlets and coves of 1,560-acre Dillon Lake by boat, or they can choose a more laidback approach by kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard - all of which can be rented from the Campground Store. Fishing for catfish, crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, and muskie is plentiful; all that's required is an Ohio fishing license. There is a 1,360-foot swim beach, wading pool, pickleball, volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts, and a shooting range. Hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails are also found in the area.
25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Stephanie/Fotolia
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»East Fork State Park Lake
Rolling hills, verdant river valleys, rushing cascades, marshes, and swamp forests provide a natural backdrop for East Fork Lake and State Park. The 2,600-acre William Harsha Lake sits in the midst of East Fork State Park offering visitors unlimited horsepower boating, kayaking, fishing, hybrid striper sport fishing, and swimming along a 1,200-foot swim beach with changing rooms and showers, plus a vending area. The park offers picnicking with grills, shelters, and drinking water. Avid hikers and backpackers will love the 46 miles of backcountry trails, the 16-mile Backpack Trail, and the 32-mile Perimeter Trail. Hunting is permitted in a designated area of the park and includes ADA accessible blinds.
Address: 3294 Elklick Road, Bethel, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: martinsvanags/Fotolia
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The quiet waters of 93-acre Findley Lake accommodate motorboats with electric motors only, along with rowboats, canoes, and kayaks, to preserve the lake's natural ambiance. The 435-foot swim beach offers beachgoers concessions near designated swim areas. The state park is a heavily wooded area of regrowth secondary forest on former farmland. Surrounding the park is Ohio dairy land where cows and crops are common sights. About 16 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails weave throughout the park where nature lovers can see towering pines, a variety of hardwood trees, woodland wildflowers, and perhaps a white-tailed deer, red fox, or other animals. Findley State Park is also a butterfly sanctuary for rare Duke's skipper butterflies.
Address: 25381 State Route 58, Wellington, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Alla/Fotolia
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»Grand Lake St. Marys
Grand Lake at St. Marys was once the largest manmade reservoir in the world at 13,500 acres. Its original purpose was as a feeder lake to the Miami-Erie Canal. Today, it accommodates unlimited horsepower boats, although there is a 300-foot no-wake zone along the 52 miles of shoreline. The lake features four public swim beaches, and nine public boat launches. Anglers will appreciate the variety of fish, including bass, crappies, bluegills, walleye, perch, bullheads, and others. The lake has two ADA accessible fishing areas on the east and west banks. Visitors will also find mini-golf, basketball and volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, playgrounds, bike rentals, a nature center, and two dog parks.
Address: 834 Edgewater Drive, St. Marys, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Bryan/Fotolia
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Once the “Midwest's Million Dollar Playground,” 5,800-acre Indian Lake was a high-demand resort area in the early 20th century. The lake and 800-acre park are still popular among boaters, anglers, beach goers, and campers. Both the size of the lake and the unlimited horsepower boating make this a great location for water skiing. Boaters can enjoy some swim time near Red Oak Island, Walnut Islands, and Oldfield Beach. There is excellent fishing for bass, walleye, perch, bluegill, and crappie. The park offers eight shaded picnic areas, five shelters, grills, and tables. The park also includes easy hiking trails, a nature center, children's playgrounds, a sand volleyball court, and bicycle rentals.
Address: 12774 State Route 235 North, Lakeview 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: tinadefortunata/Fotolia
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»Jackson Lake State Park
Jackson Lake State Park is a comparatively smaller park than most in Ohio, covering a little over 105 acres. However, it is revered for having among the most picturesque countryside in the state. Its peaceful lake is the focal point, offering anglers some excellent fishing opportunities with bluegill, bass, muskie, carp, and catfish. The lake itself covers over 240 acres, allowing boats of any horsepower as long as they stay at idle speed. There is a 200-foot sand beach that can be used for sunbathing and swimming in designated areas as well as five picnicking areas. During the winter, ice fishing, sledding, and ice skating are popular here.
Address: 35 Tommy Been Road, Oak Hill, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: evolutionnow/Fotolia
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The Kiser Lake area was once the home of the mighty Shawnee warrior Techumseh, and it is the place where the Shawnee held famous frontiersman Simon Kenton captive. The 396-acre lake is also known for crystal clear waters and serene surroundings. The tranquil ambiance of the lake is due in part to its no motorized boats policy, making it a dream destination for sailors. Kiser Lake has four boat launch areas and a single boat ramp. Swimming and scuba diving are also popular here during summer. The lake sits amidst 531 acres of rolling woodlands and low wetlands. The park offers five hiking trails, a campground, volleyball court, playground, nature center, and horseshoe pits.
Address: 4370 Kiser Lake Road, St. Paris, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Richtsteiger/Fotolia
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»Lake Hope State Park
Lake Hope State Park is located within the 29,000-acre Zaleski State Forest in the canyon of Big Sandy Run in southeastern Ohio. The area is rugged, massively forested, and known for its steep gorges and slender ridges that feature the remains of forgotten iron and mining production industries. The park itself sits on just under 3,000 acres with the lake taking up 120 acres. Visitors are welcome to rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, paddleboards, hydro-bikes, and pontoons. Boats with electric motors are also permitted on the lake via the singular launch ramp. There is also a 600-foot swimming beach close to the dam, several hiking trails, fishing, and hunting opportunities.
Address: 27331 State Route 278. McArthur, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: sianc/Fotolia
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»Lake Logan State Park
Lake Logan State Park is a 318-acre park that features a 400-acre lake located in the wooded oasis of Hocking County, Ohio's hill country. It is one of the finest fishing lakes in the state, and visitors with boats of no more than 10 horsepower are welcome to enjoy this bountiful fishing spot. It has an abundance of muskie, catfish, crappies, bluegill, saugeye, and northern pike, and anyone with a valid fishing license is welcome. There is a 527-foot swimming beach near Lake Logan Road, and across the street is the Pine Vista Hiking Trail offering two trails ideal for wildlife observation and nature study.
Address: 30443 Lake Logan Road, Logan, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: rxr3rxr3/Fotolia
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»Lake Milton State Park
Lake Milton State Park is a 1,700-acre reservoir that boasts the finest water-related recreational activities. In addition to the lake, boaters can access a part of the Mahoning River just south of the lake. Dock spaces are available for visitors to rent seasonally, and there are three launch ramps. This is an angler's paradise thanks to the ODMR Division of Wildlife who stocked the lake with a multitude of fish species. These include walleye, largemouth bass, and channel catfish. There is also a 600-foot swimming beach featuring a playground, sand volleyball court, and basketball court. An easy nature trail and paved walking/biking trail can also be found at the park.
Address: 16801 Mahoning Avenue, Lake Milton, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Alla/Fotolia
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»Maumee Bay State Park
Maumee Bay State Park is a one-of-a-kind natural environment due to the union of Lake Erie and the land. This nearly 1,350-acre park is one of the Midwest's finest recreational facilities, boasting scenic meadows, lush marshes overflowing with wildlife, and wet woods. Visitors can boat on Lake Erie if they have a reservation for the marina; there is an additional 57-acre lake within the park ideal for non-motorized boat activities like canoeing and sailing. Fishermen can expect to catch walleye, freshwater drum, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and channel catfish. The park also features two sand beaches available for swimming, four distinct walking trails, the Trautman Nature Center, and an 18-hole golf course.
Address: 1400 State Park Road, Oregon, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Jacob Lund/Fotolia
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»Mineral Springs Lake
Mineral Lake Springs is a unique and pristine natural oasis in the less commercialized southwest region of Ohio at the edge of Appalachia. The lake is surrounded by 5.5 miles of picturesque shoreline that opens up to 500-acres of abundant rolling woodlands. Mineral Springs Lake is 100 acres, nourished by mineral spring water brimming with health giving minerals. Visitors are welcome to fish, hike the miles of trails, swim at the family beach, and camp. There are laundry facilities, showers, and a general store on the campgrounds. Several additional attractions are also nearby, including the Ohio Trail, Amish Country, and the adjacent Davis Memorial Park.
Address: 160 Bluegill Road, Peebles, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: rxr3rxr3/Fotolia
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Mosquito Lake sits on roughly 2,500 acres of vast marshes and mature woodlands, offering wildlife a safe haven and attracting many nature lovers. It is one of the biggest lakes in Ohio, allowing for unlimited horsepower to be used on the lake. There are five launch ramps, and you can rent rom among the 250 docks available on a seasonal basis. Additionally, visitors can rent fishing boats, kayaks, pontoon boats, and paddle boats. There is also an archery range, an 18-hole disc golf course, dog park, 600-foot swimming beach, and volleyball and basketball courts. Various trails can be used for hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, and mountain biking.
Address: 1439 State Route 305, Cortland, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: beerlogoff/Fotolia
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»Portage Lakes State Park
Portage Lakes State Park sits on 411 acres, featuring wetlands that attract shorebirds and waterfowl, and several surrounding lakes that cover just over 2,000 acres. Each of the lakes allow no more than 400 horsepower except for Nimisila Reservoir on which only electric motors can be used. Turkeyfoot Lake is a public 900-foot swimming beach, and Cottage Grove and Rex Lake feature a number of swimming areas. Visitors can fish for walleye, muskies, largemouth bass, carp, and bullhead, among other fish species. There are also four trails for hiking or running, a dog park, an 18-hole disc golf course, volleyball courts, and horseshoe pits.
Address: 5031 Manchester Road, Akron, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Irina84/Fotolia
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Punderson Lake sits on over 740 acres of parkland. A 150-acre natural lake, it offers an abundant number of recreational activities and is Ohio's leading winter sport park, featuring cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowmobiling opportunities. The grounds boast a resort manor house, scenic campground area, family cabins, and a championship-rated 18-hole golf course. Punderson Lake allows only electric motors, and anglers can expect to catch bluegill, catfish, largemouth bass, and brown and rainbow trout. There is also an 18-hole disc course, seven hiking trails, one multi-use trail, and a 600-foot public beach. An archery range, playgrounds, a tennis course, and volleyball and basketball courts are also part of the park.
Address: 11755 Kinsman Road, Newbury, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: kozorog/Fotolia
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»Salt Fork State Park
Salt Fork State Park is Ohio's biggest state park spanning over 17,200-acres in rural Guernsey County. It consists of a mixture of misty valleys laced with several streams, open meadows, and forested hills. The fishing opportunities are vast here with large populations of bluegills, crappies, largemouth bass, walleye, and muskies. The best areas to fish are the various embayment areas and the artificial reef on the lake's north branch. Boats with any horsepower are welcome on the nearly 3,000-acre lake, allowing for wakeboarding and waterskiing. There is also an archery range, 18-hole golf course, 2,500-foot swimming beach, miniature golf course, 72 miles of horseback riding trails, and 14 scenic hiking trails.
Address: 14755 Cadiz Road, Lore City, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: srki66/Fotolia
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»Strouds Run State Park
Strouds Run State Park features a little over 2,600 acres of undisturbed hardwood forest that drapes over the various coves and hills of the park. The jagged terrain and picturesque lake offer visitors a one-of-a-kind wilderness escape in the southeastern region of Ohio. Only boats with a maximum horsepower of 10 are permitted on the roughly 160-acre Dow Lake. Largemouth bass, channel catfish, rainbow trout, and crappie are the prominent fish species here. There is a 900-foot sand beach located on the lake's east side for swimmers and scuba diving as well as six trails for hiking, fifteen for mountain biking, and ten horseback riding trails.
Address: 11161 State Park Road, Athens, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: schankz/Fotolia
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»Tappan Lake Park
Teppan Lake Park is located between Uhrichsville and Cadiz, it sits on 5,000 acres of land with 2,350 acres of water surface. It is the ideal locale for swimming, hunting, boating, fishing, and camping. The center of entertainment within the park is the Activity Center, which consists of a camp store, nature center, snack bar, Laundromat, and camping registration office. The swimming beach is open during the summer months featuring a floating obstacle course, inflatable slide, a pavilion, and sand and water volleyball. They provide pontoon, paddle boat, paddleboard, and kayak rentals, and the nature center hosts interpretative programs. There are 14 miles of trails to choose from, all varying in difficultly level.
Address: 84000 Mallarnee Road, Deersville, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: Tappan Lake Park
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»Wingfoot Lake State Park
Wingfoot Lake State Park is a wondrous place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Covered in groves of stately trees, lush greenery, and an exquisite lake, this is the best place for a relaxing outing with the family. The park is located just a few minutes from Akron, and there are a wealth of activities to engage in at the park thanks to their archery range, 18-hole disc golf course, dog park, ball-fields, badminton courts, mini golf course, and gold driving range. Visitors are welcome to bring their boats of no more than 10 horsepower to fish for bluegill and bass, and they can also use alternative paddle crafts.
Address: 993 Goodyear Park Boulevard, Mogadore, OH 25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio - Photo: YAROSHIK/Fotolia
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25 Best Swimming Holes & Lakes in Ohio
- Adams Lake State Park, Photo: Courtesy of sianc - Fotolia.com
- Atwood Lake, Photo: Courtesy of elkit - Fotolia.com
- Berlin Lake, Photo: Courtesy of Emilia - Fotolia.com
- Buckeye Lake, Photo: Courtesy of Photography by Jack - Fotolia.com
- Burr Oak Lake, Photo: Courtesy of Alla - Fotolia.com
- Chippewa Lake, Photo: Courtesy of Dmytro Titov - Fotolia.com
- Dillon State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Stephanie - Fotolia.com
- East Fork State Park Lake, Photo: Courtesy of martinsvanags - Fotolia.com
- Findley Lake, Photo: Courtesy of Alla - Fotolia.com
- Grand Lake St. Marys, Photo: Courtesy of Bryan - Fotolia.com
- Indian Lake, Photo: Courtesy of tinadefortunata - Fotolia.com
- Jackson Lake State Park, Photo: Courtesy of evolutionnow - Fotolia.com
- Kiser Lake, Photo: Courtesy of Richtsteiger - Fotolia.com
- Lake Hope State Park, Photo: Courtesy of sianc - Fotolia.com
- Lake Logan State Park, Photo: Courtesy of rxr3rxr3 - Fotolia.com
- Lake Milton State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Alla - Fotolia.com
- Maumee Bay State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Jacob Lund - Fotolia.com
- Mineral Springs Lake, Photo: Courtesy of rxr3rxr3 - Fotolia.com
- Mosquito Lake, Photo: Courtesy of beerlogoff - Fotolia.com
- Portage Lakes State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Irina84 - Fotolia.com
- Punderson Lake, Photo: Courtesy of kozorog - Fotolia.com
- Salt Fork State Park, Photo: Courtesy of srki66 - Fotolia.com
- Strouds Run State Park, Photo: Courtesy of schankz - Fotolia.com
- Tappan Lake Park, Photo: Tappan Lake Park
- Wingfoot Lake State Park, Photo: Courtesy of YAROSHIK - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of JasonAberts - Fotolia.com
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