Hot summer days often have us running toward refreshing bodies of water, and if the ocean is out of reach, for outdoor water fun in the Hartford area, not only are there many splash parks and public pools in the area, but you can also get in touch with nature and take a refreshing dip in one of the local lakes, ponds, or rivers. Grab towels, pack the sunblock and water goggles, (don't forget the kids!) and have a fantastic day.
Salmon Brook Park
This park provides the setting for a great day spent outdoors. A large playground, a picnic area, trails, and athletic fields are some of the attractions, and, of course, swimming. Relax on a small sandy beach or cool off in the pond. If you're looking for your own private beach party, you're in luck. The pond at SBP is available for rent. For daily use, you may purchase a membership, or pay per visitor ($4 per adult or $3 for ages 2-17).
251 Salmon Brook Street, Granby
The gradually sloped, sandy beach makes this a great destination for small children (depth of water does not exceed 3 feet near the safety rope). Lifeguards are on duty and facilities are clean. Note that only lifevests are allowed here; no other flotation devices are permitted.
39 Fisher Hill Road, Glastonbury
Whether you enjoy swimming, canoeing,tubing, or all of the above, enjoy an adventurous day amongst the rapids and sun. Check out these two great Mommy Poppins articles about canoeing and tubing down the Farmington River. You can begin your tubing adrenaline rush in New Hartford and enjoy 2.5 miles of splashing fun.
92 Main Street, New Hartford
Cockaponset State Forest
Grab some floaties and go swimming in the Pattaconk Lake Recreation Area of Chester/Haddam. A 2-mile trail surrounds the Pattoconk and is filled with amazing sites of the natural world and along the trail passes several beaches. There is also kayaking and canoeing available on the lake. The recreation hours are open from 8 am to sunset. Weekend entrance fee for CT residents is $9 per car and $15 for non-residents, and free during the week
State Forrest Road, Chester
Stratton Brook State Park
A small sandy beach and pond make for a beautiful setting. Children will enjoy swimming in the calm water. Shaded trails also provide an opportunity to walk along (or splash) in a brook. Entrance fee for CT residents is $9 per car and $15 for non-residents on weekends, and free during the week.
149 Farms Village Road (Route 309), Simsbury
Wharton Brook State Park
Another serene setting for some picnicking, fishing, and swimming is found in Wallingford. Relax on the sandy knolls, cool off in the water, or enjoy a peaceful picnic. Lifeguards are on duty from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Weekend entrance fee for CT residents is $9 per car and $15 for non-residents, and free during the week.
Route 5, Wallingford
Mansfield Hollow State Park
Mount Hope, a flowing brook located in Mansfield Hollow State Park, has a wide, flat area upstream that is gentle enough for even small children to wade in. If you explore further downstream you will find beautiful small waterfalls, natural whirlpools, and large flat boulders for lounging and sun bathing while the little ones splash around. There is also a deep pool for swimming under the Atwoodville Bridge.
Bassetts Bridge Road, Mansfield
Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Mary Beth Lawlor
Originally published 8/2/13.