Places to go swimming in Marquette County.

Indoor pools

On Lake Superior

Lake Superior is not the warmest place to swim. The first basic trick for where to swim is to look for the wind direction. A wind directly on shore will produce the warmest swimming spot. If the wind is from the East, anywhere along the beach from McCarty's Cove to the Island is a good spot. If the wind is from the North, Presque Isle near the Pavilion and Little Presque Isle. If the wind is out of the north, the beaches along M-28 are your spots.

The water temperature is usually good for swimming in late July and August. Before and after that, it's dipping season. Good for a cool off and that's about it. 

McCarty's Cove (City of Marquette)

McCarty's Cove is the center point of swimming for the city. McCarty's features a nice sand beach and small islands to climb on and in some places jump off of. The cove to the South of the islands is more protected and often a bit warmer than the section toward Picnic Rocks.

Lifeguards are on staff in the summer months.

Presque Isle, near the Pavilion (City of Marquette)

The sand is a bit coarser here. Just out from the shore the sandy bottom gives way to sandstone  and interesting sights if you bring a mask. This is a good place to see surfers in the fall.

This beach is unguarded.

Presque Isle, Black Rocks (City of Marquette)

The water depths and steep cliffs make this a popular place to jump. Do go for a visit, and if the water is calm and warm enough, take a leap. Don't jump when the waves are big and the lake is cold. The beach is rounded rock and easy to walk on without footwear.

This location is unguarded.

South Beach (City of Marquette)

Near the city operated electric generating plant, South Beach is often an early season swim because the water is just a tad warmer. The water is shallow and that contributes to warmer water early. The break wall to the northeast protects this beach from some bigger waves from that direction. Additional amenities are playground equipment and bathrooms.

This beach has lifeguards in the summer months.

Wetmore Landing (North of Marquette)

A large sandy cove: Wetmore is a short walk from the parking lot on County Road 550. To the South end of the cove you will find some rock formations to play on. The size of the cove protects the top water from blowing out, and the shallow water make this a good swimming spot.

This beach is unguarded.

This is a Michigan DNR location. You must have a recreation sticker to park in the parking lot.

Little Presque Isle (North of Marquette)

Little Presque Isle is unique in the options it provides.

First off, you have the island itself that you must wade to. Depending on Lake levels it can be less than knee deep, or over the waist deep. Whatever the water depth, it is a great hike. Most people will navigate the island in a counter clockwise direction. The South side of the island has sandstone cliffs and some erosion problems. From year to year, you will find changes in the trail as a result. As you work your way around to the East and North the rock becomes granite. The North East edge of the island has high cliffs that people jump off of. You can get down to the waters edge at this point, but it's not easy to find a good path. Kids and adults alike will have fun climbing on rocks. As you get back to the South West end of the island, there are some small coves with rocky water edges that are easy to swim in. However, rocky makes getting in and out less comfortable. As a result few actually swim there. NOTE: Like Picnic Rocks in Marquette, the wind will push water through the channel between the shore and the island at a pretty good rate. If there is a strong wind from the West or East, use caution or maybe choose to hike the island a different day.

If the wind is from the North or North East, the sandy shoreline West of the island is a good place to swim. Close to the island you will find the mouth of the Harlow River and that contributes to warmer water early in the season. If quiet beaches are your goal, keep going past the river mouth and the number of swimmers goes way down. You can often spend a few hours there and not run into another walker swimmer. 

If the wind is from the South, there are some small stretches of sand to the South of the island that can be your spot when the wind is from the South.

This beach is unguarded.

This is a Michigan DNR location. You must have a recreation sticker to park in the parking lot.

Welcome Center (Harvey)

This is a nice sandy beach that surprisingly doesn't get a lot of traffic. The best time to swim here is when the wind is from the North East.

This beach is unguarded.

M-28 rest stops (East of Harvey)

East of town a few miles, these beaches are out of the normal local attention. Many of the people you see here are passing by on M-28 and stopping for a break. The beach is down a bit from the level of the highway, but it's a reasonably short trip. Unlike most beaches in the area bonfires seem to be permitted here, so locals who want a bonfire on the shore will make the trek here. Also, this is a frequent place to go if you want good Aurora Borealis pictures.

This beach is unguarded.

Inland lakes


Caution should be used when swimming in rivers. Spring is a dangerous time as the water is cold and fast moving. Wait until mid to late summer.

Rope Swings

Rope swings come and go. These are the ones that seem to be around much of the time.

  • Dead River, just east of the 550 bridge
  • Chocolay River, near the corner of Lakewood lane and Green Bay Street (more kid friendly)

Swimming safety

The City of Marquette uses a flag system to tell you what the water safety of it's beaches are. The system is explained at the city's water safety page

Please don't swim on/off break walls. They frequently have currents that cause drowning. Don't walk on them when the waves are large. The waves will cary you away before can react. Too many drownings have already taken place.

Please don't swim at Picnic Rocks. The winds push top water through the channel between the shore and the rocks creating currents. It's one of the most frequent places for drowning. If you want to swim, just go down a bit to the South and you'll have safe swimming.