Historic Walden Pond is open for cooling off this summer. Photo by Todd Van Hoosear/CC -BY-SA 2.0
Historic Walden Pond is open for cooling off this summer. Photo by Todd Van Hoosear/CC -BY-SA 2.0

Best Swimming Lakes and Ponds Around Boston

There are plenty of area beaches that are perfect for families looking to spend the day outside, but some kids prefer the warmer and calmer waters of one of Massachusetts' many swimming lakes. We’ve rounded up swimming lakes and ponds around Boston where you and your kids can splash around in freshwater all summer long. A few popular spots are closed in 2020 or open only to residents, but most are open to any family looking to take a dip or cool off.

Looking to stay closer to home? These local spraygrounds and splash pads are another way to beat the heat this summer. Don't miss our summer fun guide for more fun activities, outdoors or in.

2020 Note: Due to COVID-19, access and opening status of local ponds and lakes are uncertain at any given time. Please check in with pond or lake personnel before you visit.


Walden Pond has a roped-off swimming area for little kids. Photo by Tim Sackton/CC by-SA 2.0

Walden Pond—Concord

2020 update: Parking lot will close once it reaches capacity. Call park staff at 978-369-3254 before heading out.
Since it’s one of my favorite spots for summer swimming, I had to include Walden Pond here. Walden’s waters are super clean and warm, plus there are lifeguards and a roped-off swimming areas for smaller kids. A bathhouse with restrooms and changing areas is easily accessible near the main beach. Daily parking fees of $8 for Massachusetts vehicles and $15 for out-of-state cars apply.

Cochituate Lake—Natick, Wayland

2020 update: Follow state park guidelines when swimming in Natick, and Wayland Town Beach information when swimming in Wayland.
People flock to the three sections of Lake Cochituate—north, middle and south—for boating, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing, and, of course, swimming. There are plenty of places to picnic, and nearby trails are perfect for stretching your legs. When swimming in areas managed by Cochituate State Park, daily parking fees are $8 for Massachusetts vehicles and $15 for out-of-state cars. The Wayland Town Beach also allows out-of-towners to visit and swim (save for July 3-5, 2020), but pre-registration this summer is required for $15 per non-resident, because capacity is limited.

Hopkinton Reservoir, Hopkinton State Park—Hopkinton

2020 update: Park and swimming areas are open, but follow state park guidelines when visiting.
Hopkinton may be best known for being the start of the Boston Marathon, but it’s also home to the terrific Hopkinton State Park. There are two designated swimming areas that are monitored by lifeguards and the Main Area waterfront has an accessible ramp, so anyone can use the facilities. The state park also has ample spots for picnicking and trails for exploring. Daily parking fees of $8 for Massachusetts vehicles and $15 for out-of-state cars apply.


The water and beaches are super-clean at Houghton's Pond. Photo by cathgarn via Instagram

Houghton’s Pond—Milton

2020 update: Park and swimming areas are open, but follow state park guidelines when visiting.
You can’t go wrong with a trip to Houghton’s Pond in the Blue Hills Reservation. This pristine waterway offers lots of outlets for recreation, like swimming, fishing, picnicking, and hiking. The pond is a great place to bring children because it also has a playground, concession area, restrooms, and first-aid station. The swimming area is monitored by lifeguards.

Lake Quinsigamond—Worcester

2020 update: Park and swimming areas are open, but follow state park guidelines when visiting.
This lake has two different areas where you can enjoy a day of swimming. The Regatta Point area on Lake Quinsigamond has swimming and sailing and a great spot for picnicking; and the Lake Park location offers up swimming and picnicking as well as tennis courts. Daily parking fees of $8 for Massachusetts vehicles and $15 for out-of-state cars apply.

The Mystic Lakes—Arlington, Medford, Winchester

2020 update: Park and swimming areas are open, but follow state park guidelines when visiting.
While the western shore of the Mystic Lakes is occupied by private homes, the eastern shore is open to the public. The most popular spot for freshwater swimming in the lakes is at Shannon Beach, where you’ll also find a playground, trails, and bathrooms. There are sometimes lifeguards on duty, and locals rave about the free parking.


A swim in Pearce Lake is a great reward after a hike through Breakheart. Photo courtesy of Department of Conservation and Recreation

Pearce Lake, Breakheart Reservation—Saugus

2020 update: Park and swimming areas are open, but follow state park guidelines when visiting.
Head north to Pearce Lake in Breakheart Reservation for a peaceful swim. The lake has a sandy beach with a supervised swimming area, a picnic area, and first aid station that’s open in the summer. Take to the trails of the reservation before heading to the lake to cool off. The free parking is a nice bonus.

Chebacco Lake—Hamilton & Essex

2020 update: Centennial Grove is open to Essex residents only as of June 2, 2020.
This 209-acre pond spans across two towns and offers boating, swimming, and year-round fishing. While there are lots of private houses along the Chebacco Lake, the best place for the public take a dip is at Centennial Grove where there is a small beach and bathrooms. This area is only open after 1pm on weekdays and on weekends. 

Morses Pond—Wellesley 

2020 update: This swimming area is open to residents only for the 2020 season.
Morses Pond is a bit of a hidden gem in the local freshwater swimming scene. But it’s one that’s well worth adding to your list of places to head when the temperature rises. There’s a roped-off swimming area that’s monitored by lifeguards, plus a playground, picnic, and barbecue areas, and even an ice cream truck that makes regular visits. There are also canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards for rent if you're feeling adventurous. You can buy a season pass or one-day pass, depending on how often you plan to swim.

Arlington Reservoir—Arlington

2020 update: The Arlington Resevoir is closed for swimming this summer.
The Arlington Reservoir is a great place to take kids for a freshwater dip. It has a swimming area with a beach that’s monitored by lifeguards, a concession stand, a bathhouse, and even a playground. Buy a season pass if you plan to come often, or a day pass for a one-time visit. If you’re feeling really adventurous, ride your bike to the reservoir, which is very close to the Minuteman Bikeway. 

RELATED: Family-Friendly Bike Trails Near Boston

Crystal Lake—Newton

2020 update: Crystal Lake is closed for swimming this summer.
Visit the beautiful 33-acre Crystal Lake in Newton this summer for a day of fun in the sun. While much of the lake is surrounded by private homes, there are two town parks, a town beach, and a bathhouse that are open to the public. Only Newton residents can buy summer-long swim passes, but anyone can purchase a day pass for $10 per person.

 

 


Arlington Reservoir
250 Lowell St.
Arlington, MA 02474

Cochituate State Park
43 Commonwealth Road
Natick, MA 01760

Crystal Lake
Rogers Street
Newton, MA 02459

Hopkinton State Park
164 Cedar St.
Hopkinton, MA 01748

Houghton's Pond
840 Hillside St.
Milton, MA 02186

Morses Pond
Turner Road
Wellesley, MA 02482

The Mystic Lakes - Shannon Beach
1 Mystic Valley Parkway
Winchester, MA 01890

Breakheart Reservation
177 Forest St.
Saugus, MA 01906

Walden Pond
915 Walden St.
Concord, MA 01742

Lake Quinsigamond
10 N. Lake Ave.
Worcester, MA 01612

Chebacco Lake
Essex, MA 01929

Wayland Town Beach
25 Parkland Drive
Wayland, MA 01778
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