15 Swimming Lakes near Boston You Need To Discover

Even the littlest ones will love splashing at these swimming lakes near Boston.
Even the littlest ones will love splashing at these swimming lakes near Boston.
6/7/24 - By Elyse Andrews

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 kids can splash around in freshwater all summer long. Read on for our picks for the Boston's top swimming lakes for summer fun.

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.


swimming lakes and ponds near Boston Summer fun sunshine  
Cool off this summer at the top swimming lakes near Boston! Crystal Lake photo courtesy of the City of Newton

Swimming Lakes You Need to Discover - West of Boston

1. Walden Pond—Concord

Since it’s a favorite spot for summer swimming, we have to start with Walden Pond. Walden’s waters are super clean and warm, plus there are lifeguards and 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 $30 for out-of-state cars apply.

2. Cochituate Lake—Natick, 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 $30 for out-of-state cars. The Wayland Town Beach also allows out-of-towners to visit and swim with a day pass.

3. Hopkinton Reservoir, Hopkinton State Park—Hopkinton

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 $30 for out-of-state cars apply.

4. Lake Quinsigamond—Worcester

This lake has two different areas where families 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 $30 for out-of-state cars apply.

5. Crystal Lake—Newton

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 membership passes, but non-residents can purchase a day pass for $15 per person.

6. Morses Pond—Wellesley 

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 the 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. Non-residents can purchase season passes; $190 for adults and $90 for children. Daily passes are currently only available to residents for $5. 

7. Arlington Reservoir—Arlington

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, a playground, and even summer concerts. Buy a season pass if you plan to come often, or a day pass for a one-time visit. Those who are feeling adventurous can ride bikes to the reservoir, which is very close to the Minuteman Bikeway. As a bonus, Arlington Recreation hosts free summer concerts every other Thursday.

8. Breezy Picnic Grounds Waterslides—Douglas

Summer is a breeze here with three 300ft waterslides (plus a kiddie slide for little ones under 42"), a swimming hole, picnics in the park, a concession stand, lifeguards, and free parking. This place is the definition of how to spend a lazy summer day, basking in the summer warmth and glow.

swimming lakes and ponds near Boston Summer fun sunshine  
Swimming lakes near Boston offer summer fun for any age. Houghton's Pond photo courtesy of Mommy Poppins

Swimming Lakes You Need to Discover - South of Boston 

9. Houghton’s Pond—Milton

Visitors 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 and parking is free.

10. Oldham Pond—Pembroke

This 189-acre pond offers 300 yards of beachfront to stretch out and play on. There are also on-duty lifeguards, a playground, and bathrooms on site. Along with swimming, the pond also allows small motorboats, fishing, and paddleboarding. 

11. Sunset Lake—Braintree

Located just outside of the city in South Braintree, this lake brings the amenities for families. Along with enjoying cooling off in the lake, families can also take advantage of the playground, a waterfront gazebo, and great freshwater fishing. A Red Cross certified lifeguard is on duty during the summer months.

swimming lakes and ponds near Boston Summer fun sunshine

Swimming Lakes You Need to Discover - North of Boston

12. The Mystic Lakes—Winchester

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 visitors also find a playground, trails, and bathrooms. Locals rave about the free parking.

13. Pearce Lake, Breakheart Reservation—Saugus

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 a 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.

14. Chebacco Lake—Hamilton & Essex

This 213-acre pond spans across two towns and offers boating, swimming, and year-round fishing. While there are lots of private houses along Chebacco Lake, the best place for the public to take a dip is at Centennial Grove, where there is a small beach and bathrooms. This area is only open AFTER 1pm on weekdays when Camp Dory is out of session.

 15. Heart Pond—Chelmsford

This pond is free to residents and non-residents, including free parking. There is a lifeguard on duty from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM during the summer months, starting on the first Saturday of the closing of the Chelmsford Public School for the season. Fishing, swimming, and small boats are popular here, as well as the the occasional ice cream truck.

Lead photo:Splashing at Walden Pond photo by Tim Sackton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This post was originally published on June 30, 2020 and updated on June 7, 2024.





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