Best Swimming Ponds and Lakes for Connecticut Kids

This expansive, beautiful swimming spot is in Squantz Pond State Park. Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism
This expansive, beautiful swimming spot is in Squantz Pond State Park. Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

Connecticut is home to great water parks and more than 20 beaches, but some families are partial to the many ponds, lakes, and freshwater areas—some 3,000 across the state—where kids can swim in calm waters. Here are our recommendations for swimming ponds and lakes in Connecticut where families can cool off and enjoy beautiful vistas. For more aquatic adventures, be sure to check out our Beaches and Water Fun Guide

Swimming Ponds and Lakes in Connecticut 

1. Bantam Lake - Morris

The only beach open to the public on Bantam Lake, Sandy Beach offers a shaded picnic area, concession stand, and lifeguards during summer hours. Extend your time in the picturesque Litchfield area by camping here, or enjoy water sports, boating, and fishing. An entrance fee applies. The 2021 season is from May 29 to August 29. Season passes are available for frequent visitors. 

2. Candlewood Lake - Danbury location

Families can sink their toes in the refreshing water of the biggest lake in Connecticut or sprawl out on the soft sand. Have a feast at the nearby picnic tables, grab a sweet treat at the concession stand, make memories at the playground, or row away from the boating dock. Entrance fees apply.

Lake McDonough has lifeguards, changing rooms, a picnic area, and more perks. Photo courtesy of The Metropolitan District Hartford, CT

3. Stratton Brook State Park - Simsbury

Close to Hartford and wheelchair accessible, kids enjoy the little, private beach and proximity to wildlife. Bring a bike, a picnic, and a fishing pole for an entire day of relaxing fun at the pond. 

4. Burr Pond State Park - Torrington

Enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, hiking around the pond, grilling in the shaded picnic area, or indulging in something from the concession stand. No entrance fee for state residents.

Burr Pond State Park. Photo by Kindra Clineff/Connecticut Office of Tourism

5. Squantz Pond State Park - New Fairfield

Marked by year-round beauty, Squantz Pond features swimming, picnicking, fishing, boating, hiking, and scuba diving. Boat launching is available. No admission charge for state residents and the park is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

6. Mt. Tom State Park - Litchfield 

Go swimming, enjoy a picnic, and hike the 1-mile trail to the stone lookout tower for panoramic vistas. The lake offers fishing, scuba diving, and non-motor boating. The parking area is limited and does fill out quickly, so plan on arriving early. No entrance cost for state residents. 

7. Lake Waramaug State Park - Kent

Enjoy a scenic picnic and go swimming in one of the most beautiful lake surfaces in the state. Spend the night at one of the 70+ campsites or enjoy a different water view from a canoe. Bring fishing poles to try and catch a big one! Residents pay camping fees, but no park access fees.

Bordered by a shady picnic ground, Indian Well State Park is free for Connecticut families. Photo courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

8. Indian Well State Park - Shelton

Hike to the park’s scenic waterfalls and play in the splash pool at the bottom of the falls. The shaded picnic grove on the water’s edge offers respite on a hot day, while the sandy beach is a perfect spot to relax and recharge. Bring a fishing pole or hiking boots. No fee for state residents. 

9. Day Pond State Park - Colchester

Stone walls will remind visitors of the Colonial era when water from the pond was used to power a nearby sawmill. Bordered by a sandy beach, the pond is now a refreshing swimming destination and also a great spot to go trout fishing. Hiking and picnic facilities are also available. Free entrance for state residents. 

10. Hop Brook Lake - Middlebury

This beach and swimming area are popular given the natural beauty surrounding the area. Tables and grills are available for picnics, and the lake and its feeder streams are stocked with brown, brook, and rainbow trout. Fishing here will also yield bass and panfish. Entrance is free of charge.


This post was originally published on August 9, 2019. 

Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides