When the heat of summertime peaks, Illinois and Indiana offer multiple spots for swimming. Plan a road trip within one of these states and check out the best swimming lakes, natural springs, aquatic centers and the longest public swimming area in any state park.
Located in Central Illinois, Lake Shelbyville has three swimming beaches that are among the most popular in the region. The 9th Street or Dam West Recreation Area is in Shelbyville, Sullivan Beach is located in Sullivan, and Wilborn Creek Recreation Area is in Kirksville. Lake Shelbyville is a reservoir lake spanning 11,100 acres. Swimming hours are from 8 a.m. until dusk; a daily admission fee is required. For more information, call (217) 774-2244 or 1-800-874-3529.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
The Visitor Center for the Indiana Dunes ("The Dunes"), can be found at 1215 N. State Road 49 in Porter, Ind. The West Beach opens at 7 a.m. and is the only beach area with shower facilities and lifeguards on duty. West Beach is on North County Line Road in Portage, Ind. It's located at the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan and features ample parking, places to hike and more. For visitor information, call (219) 926-7561.
Hidden Paradise Campground
Located in Saint Paul, Ind., is the home of Dream Lake, 15 acres of spring-fed rock quarry. Dream Lake has an average depth of 25 feet, making it a popular place for scuba diving as well as swimming. Learn more about fees and other information by calling (765) 525-6582.
Illinois Beach State Park
Illinois Beach State Park is in Zion, Ill. and boasts 39,600 feet of beach access, the longest public swimming area in any state park. There are no lifeguards, so swimmers must play it safe and always swim with a buddy. The park also features picturesque hiking trails, fantastic fishing areas, picnic spots and more. Call (847) 662-4811 for details on parking and admission fees.
Sholem Aquatic Center
One of the premier aquatic complexes in Central Illinois, the Sholem Aquatic Center is located in Champaign at 2205 Sangamon Drive. It features multiple water areas, including the 8,000 square foot “Beach” with zero-depth entry, two tube slides and body slides. The Plunge is a 197-foot enclosed body slide that offers a thrilling ride in complete darkness. The center always has lifeguards on duty. Call (217) 398-2581 for operational times and admission fees.
Illinois and Indiana feature a variety of swimming hot spots. From idyllic lakeside retreats to the splashing fun of a state-of-the-art water park, ample swimming and water attractions can be found in either of these Midwestern states.