Swimming at the Park Lake

June 23, 2016  |  Permalink

A hot dry summer makes a lot of us yearn for a swim. Many of our state parks have great swimming pools to enjoy. But visiting natural swimming holes or park lakes is also very inviting. The scenery of the natural settings gives swim trips another dimension to make the trips even more memorable. The most spectacular places to cool off are mountain streams or waterfall plunge pools. The down side, to some folks, with these places, is that the water is usually cold. The water in a park lake becomes warmer as the summer goes on but remains a good way to cool down on a hot summer day.

The swim beach at Montgomery Bell State Park is located on Lake Acorn and has been enjoyed by park visitors for many decades. Pickett Civilian Conservation Corp Memorial State Park has a beach area dating back to the days of the C.C.C. and is perhaps one of the most beautiful. Big Ridge State Park also has a swim beach that dates back decades.

Long Hunter and Rock Island State Parks have great swimming areas on the shoreline of a big reservoir. Paris Landing, Nathan Bedford Forrest and Pickwick Landing also have swim beaches on the big lakes in West Tennessee.

Natchez Trace and Chickasaw State Parks in West Tennessee have swim beaches on their park lakes. When I was a child, I loved to go to the swimming area on Cub Lake at Natchez Trace State Park on a summer day. I have fond memories of the life guards, diving deck, and especially the changing house where you put your dry clothes in a metal basket and got a numbered safety pin to wear on your swim suit. Today, the changing house and diving platform are only memories. Indeed, most lake beaches are "swim at your own risk" with no lifeguards present. But, memories of a beautiful place to cool off are still available.

Make some memories soon by cooling off in a park lake on a hot summer day.

Randy Hedgepath as a young boy swimming at Natchez Trace State Park's Cub Lake. 

About the author

Randy Hedgepath

Tennessee State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath is a native of west Tennessee, where his family’s farm was just 15 miles from the Tennessee River. After graduating from UT Martin and working seasonally for several years for the National Park Service and Tennessee State Parks, he has spent the last 33 years with state parks. Randy worked as a ranger/naturalist at South Cumberland State Park on the Cumberland Plateau and at Radnor Lake Natural Area in Nashville until 2007 when he was given the opportunity to be the statewide naturalist for the state park system.