It is almost always free to swim at a lake beach as far as I know. You can usually bring food and beverages and bring a cooler to keep the things you want cold. Alcohol is usually not allowed. Some lake beaches offer a dock outside of the swimming area if you are into fishing and a playground nearby for the little ones. Some lake beaches have concession stands, pavilions, grills, restrooms and lifeguards. These are certainly bonuses for a lake side beach, but rarely will you find all of the above, unless it is an extremely popular beach. Most lake beaches also have plenty of space to throw around a football or Frisbee and set up a few chairs for sitting or sunbathing. One drawback of lake beaches is contamination. There are fish and other lake animals that deficate and urinate in the water. There is plant life and algae that can make it more dangerous to swim, by getting tangled up in it. Also, you should be updated with current water conditions; this could be high or low levels, infestations of water fleas, zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, Flowering rush, and carp.
In any case always prepare for your day on the lake beach so that everyone is comfortable. Here is a short list to consider:
- Sunscreen, especially for the little ones and those of a lighter complexion
- Sunglasses, which I forget half of the time, UV rays can cause damage to the retina which you won’t discover until later
- Plenty of water, be prepared there might not be fresh water available at that location, you can still get dehydrated while submerged in water
- Life jackets, water wings, and goggles, you might not want to keep your eyes open for too long in lake water because of bacteria and if there is no lifeguard it’s best to have your child in a secondary protection beside your own eyes.
- Chairs are nice in case all of the picnic tables are full and you don’t want to be on the hot sand
- Food or snacks if there is no concession stand and you or the kids need a little refueling as swimming takes a lot out of you
- Towels and dry clothes, it’s nice to grab a towel when that cold wind blows in or it’s time to get in the car and you don’t want your seats wet
After all is said and done and you have left the house, once you get to the beach you will be glad that you prepared and enjoy it even more.