For those who misinterpret, public bathing does NOT mean men and women can bathe naked together in’s basically a term for places that offer cleansing things like saunas, mineral spas, oil rubdowns, massages, and swimming.

Public bathing is nothing new – it goes back as far as the sixth century, and probably further. Public bathing as we know it is simply going swimming in a lake, ocean, or pool...and usually there will be a nearby bath house where you can change from street clothes into your swimming suit.

Decades ago, there was a bath house at one particular Michigan lake that had a little reputation which drew both male and female potential swimmers. What was the draw?

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The girls and boys changing areas were located under one roof; someone had somehow made a hole in the metal slab that was under the changing bench...just big enough where anyone could see what was going on in the changing room of the opposite sex. For the guys, there was nothing more unnerving than standing there with nothing on from the waist down and seeing a female eye peering at you from the other side. Girls and guys got their one was safe.

Bath houses on the public beaches throughout Michigan could be from the most elaborate to just a simple one or two room shack. Many even were attached to a concession stand or snack area that made going to the beach even more fun.

The gallery below takes you back and shows some of those old bath houses, from 1880 to the 1950s...

Michigan Bath Houses: 1880-1950s


Michigan At The Beach: 1900-1955

The Mineral Baths of Michigan

Park Lake Resort & Beach, Bath