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Swimming in Lake Superior

by CoachDalzell Online Now Jan 13, 2010 at 8:18 AM

We have scheduled a vacation in Duluth for the week of the 4th of July of this year. We have two children, ages 12 and 10. Will it be possible to swim in Lake Superior without a wetsuit? I dont mean extended hours of swimming, just normal at the beach days. Thanks for your help.

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  • PR-7's Profile Photo

    Swimming in Lake Superior

    by PR-7 Online Now Jan 13, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    The first thing to know about swimming in Lake Superior, even in early July -- the water is COLD!! I don't mean refreshing cold, I mean dangerous cold. Take a look at the graph of water temps in western Lake Superior over a 100 years of sampling (second graph):


    Note that, even in early July, the temperature is still only a few degrees (C) above freezing.

    Duluth and Hiway 61 have areas of spectacular scenery. But it's not a place for a day at the beach for a pleasant swim. It's just too cold.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Swimming in Lake Superior

    by goodfish Online Now Jan 14, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    PR-7 is right. Superior is very deep and very cold. Most of the bigger "up north" resorts and hotels along the lake have swimming pools for that very reason. An adult might be able to take it for a short while (and some locals do) but most visitors find it just too icy.

    You can always try. Start with your toes and see what they tell you!

    North MN climate is very change-able so come prepared for anything - you could have 90's and you could have 60's. And bring LOTS of bug spray!!! I don't know if you'll have a car but if you do, take a day trip up to Grand Marais. It's a nice little harbor town with a lighthouse, and a fun place to hang out for a day.

    Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse near Two Harbors are also musts, and those are only 25 miles or so north of Duluth.

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