There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day than plunging into a cool pool of water, and Illinois is home to a number of outdoor swimming options! Check out this roundup of the best swimming holes in the Illinois. Where will you go for a dip in Illinois this summer? Comment below and tell us!
Bell Smith Springs/ Bay Creek in Shawnee National Forest
Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois is home to many natural swimming holes, but some of the most beautiful are found near Bell Smith Springs and Bay Creek. The area’s crystal clear swimming spots are fed by stunning rocky streams. Travelers will pass through magnificent canyons and sandstone cliffs exploding with trees and flowers on their way to these swimming holes, making it well worth the extra exercise.
Lake Le-Aqua-na owes its name to a local naming contest. The beginning and end of the title spells “Lena,” the name of the city the lake is located in. The phrase is broken by the word “aqua,” which, of course, means water.
Lake Le-Aqua-na is almost totally transparent and famous for its sandy beach, which is 600 feet long. Admission to Lake Le-Aqua-na’s beach is free, and it’s open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Kinkaid Lake Spillway
While this spot is a local favorite, the Kinkaid Lake Spillway is one of the best-kept secrets in Illinois. Once found, swimmers are greeted by an idyllic, three-level cascade spilling into an invigorating, fresh water pool. Travelers should bring stiff-soled sandals, sneakers or hiking boots for entrance to the area and for navigating the falls.
Rend Lake is a perfect swimming spot for families. The outdoor space stretches for miles so visitors can relax near both bustling and secluded areas on the water. The lake is easy to reach and has ample amenities. Swimmers will find sunny beaches along the lake’s South Sandusky Day Use area, perfect for a variety of beach activities. Fisherman also frequent this spot, as the waters are renowned for large crappie and catfish.
With so many great swimming holes in Illinois, it’s hard to pick one. For more information on fun places to explore in Illinois this summer, check out EnjoyIllinois.com.
–Illinois Office of Tourism