Where to Swim Within 30 Minutes of Lansing

It’s not too late to squeeze in more swim days before summer slips away! While we all love a day trip to Lake Michigan, moms can always use another local swimming option in their back pocket. Here’s a roundup of pools (including some indoor pools for rainy days) and natural swimming spots within 30 minutes of Lansing:

North of Lansing

  • Kick back on the sandy beach at Motz Park in St. Johns. While there’s no shade on the beach itself, there are several small trees in the grassy area just behind the sand, as well as a large, covered pavilion. There’s also a beach house with toilets and changing rooms. Free admission.
  • Sleepy Hollow State Park in Laingsburg is one of our family favorites for two reasons: I’ve never seen the beach crowded and Lake Ovid, which has a “no wake” rule for boaters, is noticeably quieter and calmer than Lake Lansing. Bathrooms and a pavilion are set back from the beach, with grills, small shade trees, picnic tables, and a couple swing sets in between. You need a Recreation Passport to access the state park.
  • Grab a $12 family pass for the St. Johns High School pool. Summer open swim hours are Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from 1:15-4:45 p.m.

East of Lansing

  • Is it even summer if you haven’t hit up Haslett’s Lake Lansing? The beach is technically at Lake Lansing South, and it has you covered with a bathhouse, shady spots within a stone’s throw of the water, and huge, enclosed wooden playground nearby. $3 per car admission fee for Ingham County residents ($5 for non-residents).

Children dig at the beach at Lake Lansing, Michigan

  • East Lansing’s Family Aquatic Center is a kids’ summer dream come true. With zero-depth entry, a splash pad, and slides (including a 190-foot tube slide), a day here will occupy both toddlers and older kids. Note that this is the priciest option on our list, charging $11 per person over age 2 (East Lansing residents get in for $8, and there is a discount for both if you come after 5 p.m.). That said, you might want to look into a 10 visit pass for your family, or a season pass.
  • Park Lake in Bath Township is a hidden gem right in our backyard, and ice cream at Park Lake Creamery right next door only makes a swim day sweeter. This is a small, simple beach, but you can’t beat the location and price: free! Be sure to check out Wiswasser playground just down the road.

A family enjoys Park Lake in Bath Township, Michigan

South of Lansing

  • Valhalla Park in Holt has a small lake and beach, with bathrooms/changing rooms, a playground, and plenty of shade nearby. Free.
  • Also in Holt, Burchfield Park is part of the Ingham County parks system, with a $3 parking fee for county residents ($5 for non-residents). There’s a beach and bathhouse at Bigfoot Lake.
  • Take a dip at the small lake in Potterville’s Fox Memorial Park, part of the Eaton County park system. There’s also a playground, bathroom, and shade nearby. $3 per car for county residents, $5 for non-residents.
  • Need to get out of the sun or rain? Try the open swim hours at Mason Aquatic Center, located in the high school. A punch card for a family of four is $8.
  • Eaton Rapids Community Pool is open year-round, with summer open swim hours Monday-Thursday. Grab a punch card for your family! $8 for up to four members, and $1 per additional member.
  • No shivering in Charlotte Aquatic Center’s heated pool! The pool is open to the public Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. They just ask swimmers to avoid any areas that may have lessons going on. $4 entrance fee. Be sure to check out their special events, like swim-in movies!

Within Lansing

  • Within the city of Lansing, check out the outdoor pool at Hunter Park, which has zero-depth entry and a splash pad for little kids, and a rock wall over the deep end for adventurous older children and their parents. For an indoor option, try Schmidt Pool in South Lansing. I will say, this pool is technically heated but noticeably chillier than other nearby, indoor pools, according to my kids who’ve taken swim lessons here through Lansing Parks and Recreation. Free admission to both city pools. Note: there is policy of only two children under the age of five per adult.
  • My kids could spend all day at Hawk Island Park. An oasis of water and woods in the southern half of Lansing, this Ingham County park offers a splash pad (with shade!), concessions, numerous pavilions, a bathhouse, a sandy beach on the lake, and a huge, castle-themed playground. $3 parking fee for county residents, $5 for non-residents.

A toddler on the beach at Hawk Island Park, Lansing, Michigan

Have I missed any swimming spots? Drop your family’s favorites in the comments!

If you’re looking to take a little trip with water involved, be sure to check out Lansing Mom’s Five Favorite Michigan Beaches.

Elizabeth Hansen
I’m Liz, stay-at-home mom to four kids (preschool age to middle school), freelance writer, and a Lansing resident since 2017. I'm a mediocre homemaker, mildly successful gardener, and not great at doing voices during bedtime stories. When not at home, I'm probably shuttling kids in the van, getting alone time at a coffeeshop or used bookstore, or volunteering at church, school, or St. Vincent's Refugee Services.


  1. We live near Motz in St. Johns and love we are so close to this hidden gem. It is a super fun for the kids. A few years ago, they built the changing area and bathrooms. There is a trail you can walk around the lake. Fishing can be done across the road.


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