Scattered throughout Illinois, swimming holes are a great way to beat the summer heat, water-ski, swing on a tire swing or just tan in the sun. Illinois' state parks provide some of the largest swimming holes across the state, with many open daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Located in Lena, just six miles from the Wisconsin state line in northwestern Illinois, Lake Le-Aqua-Na is part of the 715-acre Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area. The name "Le-Aqua-Na" is the result of a citywide naming contest that combined the city's name, Lena, with the Latin "aqua," which means water. The lake is man-made with clear water and 600 feet of available beach swimming. The beach is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and admission is free as of 2011. Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area 8542 North Lake Road Lena, IL 61048 815-369-4282
A great swimming hole with 350 feet of beach, the 50-acre Olson Lake is part of Rock Cut State Park in Loves Park, which is located in the tip of northeastern Illinois. Open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., the beach comes equipped with lifeguards, playground areas and paddleboat rentals. As of 2011, admission to the beach costs $3 per person. Rock Cut State Park 7318 Harlem Road Loves Park, IL 61111 815-885-3311
With 1,000 feet of swimming beach, Clinton Lake is a great place to catch some summer rays while waterskiing or laying out. For more private swimmers, you can venture off to any other part of the lake, as long as you keep within 100 feet of bridges, ramps and docks. Clinton Lake is part of the Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, which is located in DeWitt in east-central Illinois. The beach's daily rate is $1 per person and hours are 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Clinton Lake State Recreation Area 7251 Ranger Road DeWitt, IL 61735 217-935-8722
Rocky Point Beach
Rocky Point Beach offers 200 feet of swimming beach and is part of Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area in Kinmundy, which is located in southern Illinois. Water-skiing is also welcome at the lake, but boat swimming or off-beach swimming is prohibited. Admission is free and the beach is open during all park hours. Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area 6924 Omega Road Kinmundy, IL 62854 618-547-3381
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