Winter is on its way out and there are warmer days on the horizon, so we did the research to find the best swimming holes in the area. Swimming touts health benefits such as full-body muscle toning, excellent cardiovascular exercise, a reduction of stressful forces acting on your body, flexibility and mental tranquility. Here, Dallas swim pros shared their favorite places to make waves.
Knights of Columbus Outdoor Pool
Where: 10110 Shoreview Road, Dallas, TX, 75238
What: Check out what DFW TriClub founder David Bertrand calls “a hidden gem.” This six-lane, competition-length pool has a personal community vibe, but leaves the invite open to the public.
Lake Grapevine, Sand Bass Point
Where: 399 Sand Bass Drive, Grapevine, TX 76051
What: Here, you can swim along the coast after a bike on neighboring trails. “It is the best for swimming,” DFW TriClub and SMU Triathlon Team Coach Mark Reisman says. Another of the club’s coaches Lyndsi Biegning notes that it’s easy to get to from anywhere in the area. And because of the very low boat traffic, the scenic cove area is the prime spot for new swimmers to tread, says Scott Eder, General Manager of Team Cambridge Triathlon Racing. The drawbacks? Reisman cautions that there are some stickers on the lake floor and that it’s a trek to get to the bathrooms.
Joe Pool Lake, Lynn Creek Park
Where: 5700 Lake Ridge Parkway, Grand Prairie, TX 75052
What: “This is probably the most common place where triathlon races are staged as it is very swimmer-friendly,” Eder says. Bieging adds that the small shallow coves directly across from Lynn Creek Park are somewhat protected from boats and allow for some good swimming. Although it is not comfortable to walk barefoot on the “beach,” Reisman notes that there are a lot of places to barbecue with a nice woodsy backdrop and restrooms nearby. The large amount of lake weed in the water; however, can be intimidating to less-experienced swimmers.
Lake Ray Hubbard, Windsurf Bay Park
Where: 5556 Locust Grove Road Garland, TX 75043
What: Frank Cortese, Owner and Head Coach of Tri-Now Endurance, says that “although not very pretty, this spot is a favorite amongst the regulars.” For instance, Bieging likes to make a 1.5-mile loop from the shore to the sixth buoy of the no-wake zone and back. Plan to get here early; however, because “boaters and beer drinkers break out around 11am,” Eder says.
Lake Ray Roberts, Lake State Park
Where: 100 PW 4137, Pilot Point, Texas 76258
What: This is “the cleanest lake” according to Jim Montgomery, Co-Head Coach of the Dallas Aquatic Masters, who grew up in lake-loving Wisconsin. Montgomery’s co-head Bobby Patten adds that this lake is not very busy with people or boats and you can tackle a roped-off route that is approximately 300 meters long. Best yet? There’s a large beach and nearby restrooms.
Lake Grapevine, Lake View Park
Where: 2800 Lakeview Blvd., Grapevine, Texas 76051
What: Although not a designated swimming area, Cortese says that this swim spot is very popular and has minimal boat traffic. Marshall King, Founder of NTX Open H2O, recommends going with an organized group to this spot since there aren’t buoys.
Lake Lewisville, Little Elm Park
Where: 701 W Eldorado Pkwy, Little Elm, TX 75068
What: Cortese says this is where you can go to show off your strokes in an inlet, marked-off swim area and enjoy a huge beach with proximate bathroom and shower facilities. Reisman loves that there’s “real sand without stickers” and swimmers can do a 300-meter loop within the no-wake area.
SMU Barr Pool
Where: 6206 Ownby Drive, Dallas, TX 75205
What: If you’re still not a fan of braving the open water, get your heart pumping in the comfort of a local outdoor pool. SMU’s “50-meter pool with a lifeguard and ample beach chairs make it a no-brainer,” Reisman says. “At $5 a visit, it is worth every penny.” Montgomery also considers this is one of the best pools in the area.
The coaches emphasized that swimmers take precautions for swimming in open water such as staying in roped-off swim areas, tying a brightly colored buoy to yourself, swimming close to shore, swimming only as far as you honestly think you can go, and informing someone who isn’t swimming where you will be and when you plan to be back. When outside of roped-off areas, swim beside a kayaking partner to enhance your visibility to boaters.
Look out for Marshall King’s updates on open-water swimming workouts held by triathlon clubs. It is safest (and undoubtedly most fun) to swim with a group.