Confession – I am not a huge fan of swimming in lakes.. embarrassing, I know, since I hail from the Land of 10,000 Lakes and am a proud Minnesotan! When I was a kid I was always thinking about the fish lurking below that snacked on little girl’s toes. Then there was the time at a friend’s cabin when we saw a snake slithering it’s way through the water while we were swimming- I don’t know if anyone has ever gotten out of the water so fast! As an adult, it’s the seaweed that catches your leg and then you think that toe-nibbling fish has finally found you. Not to mention the fish smell at some beaches it totally gross! So basically, everything about fish in lakes disgusts me.

That said, I don’t want my fears to become my kids’ fears, so toughen up and do my MN parental duty of bringing my kids to the lakes in the summer. On the other end of the spectrum, I could bring my kids to a public swimming pool instead but sometimes the concrete jungle is just not in order.

Last summer I found the perfect solution to my fishy lake woes <cue the drum roll> Man-Made Swimming Ponds. They look like a lake. They’re surrounded by a beautiful (clean) sandy beach. And best yet, the water is filtered, lightly chlorinated and without fish! No mysteries in the deep and no off-putting smells.

Two of our new favorites spots are now Lake Minnetonka Regional Park and Lake Elmo Park Reserve (I haven’t had a chance to get to the swimming pond at Elm Creek, but have it on my summer bucket list). The amenities offered at both of these “Ponds” also solve a lot of the other headaches that come along with taking kids to the beach:

  • They offer restrooms/showers/changing rooms and concession stands
  • There are lifeguards on duty (check for hours)
  • I also liked that the pond is very well roped off, separating the shallow areas from the deep
  • Both sites had plenty of umbrellas so you could get out of the sun (although if going on a weekend you’ll want to get there early to catch an umbrella spot)

On the downside:

  • They do charge admission, though only a small fee
  • They can get busy (though not busy enough to deter us from going back again) so if you’re looking for a quiet peaceful beach you may want to look elsewhere

Even if you love lake swimming you may still be interested in checking out some of these man-made ponds. I thought they were an incredible lake experience for my the little ones. Here are a few you can find in the Metro area:

sKIDaddlers was started by 2 local Minnesota moms with a love for traveling and a knack for research.  Learn more about us and what you can find on our site here.

Swimming Ponds




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