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- As temperatures climb, you’re sure to be searching the state for a place to cool off. But before you give up and huddle around your freezer with the door open, check out 10 of the best swimming holes in Massachusetts.
Hillside Street, Milton
Houghton’s Pond is monitored by Department of Conservation and Recreation lifeguards in the summer, making it one of the safer swimming areas. It’s also quite popular. The 24-acre pond attracts picnickers and families with its wide variety of activities, from hiking to fishing.
Chapel Brook Falls
Williamsburg Road, Ashfield
Beneath the majesty of Chapel Brook Falls, a cascade from three bedrock ledges, small pools develop that are perfect for a quick dip. The surrounding Berkshires beauty adds to the atmosphere of bathing beneath a waterfall or cooling off after a hike through Pony Mountain.
Western Avenue, Essex
Looking for an alternative to overcrowded beaches and expensive parking? The 209-acre Chebacco Lake provides that option, not far from Kettle Cove, Crane Beach, and the Misery Islands. In addition to swimming, the fishing’s good, too, thanks to a max depth of 22 feet.
Walden Street, Concord
Thanks to Henry David Thoreau and his book “Walden,’’ the legacy of Walden Pond has been written into the history books. The pond itself lives up to its fame, as an awe-inspiring 102-foot-deep glacial kettle-hole. But pick your date wisely: The park lets in only 1,000 people at a time.
Lowell Street, Arlington
While this man-made reservoir has long been a popular swimming hole, a separate swimming area had to be constructed in 1981. Now, the water is well tended to and filtered. Nicer water and sand is tougher to come by.
Athol-Richmond Road, Royalston
If you’re on the lookout for a weekend getaway with a great swim, Tully Lake Campground is just right. The lake is a broad 200 acres, and welcomes swimmers, as well as canoes and kayaks. Visitors are invited to explore miles of hiking and mountain bike trails, including the 22-mile Tully Trail. This lake makes for a special retreat.
Blue Hill Road, Monterey
Buried in Beartown State Forest’s deep Berkshire woods, this 35-acre lake gives swimmers a chance to immerse themselves in nature. Besides scenic views from the water, there is an abundance of wildlife in the area and top-notch fishing.
Great Misery Island
Salem Sound, Salem
Don’t be fooled by the name. Misery Islands provides plenty of perks, from sweeping views of the ocean to great places to take a dip. Hike through Great Misery Island to the private beaches and you’re sure to find far more merriment than misery.
South Sandwich Road, Mashpee and Sandwich
Cape Cod boasts many great secretive swimming spots, including the phenomenal Goose Pond in Chatham. But Lowell Holly has two all to itself: Mashpee Pond and Wakeby Pond. And while it’s somewhat secretive these days, its history suggests it was known for its bodies of water. According to its website, the area was “once called Conaumet, from the Wampanoag word ‘Kuwunut,’ meaning beach.’’
Cranberry Road, S. Carver
Nestled in Southeastern Massachusetts, Myles Standish State Forest is the region’s largest publicly owned recreation area. It boasts 16 ponds to dip into, four of which you can camp at. Over at College Pond, there’s a day-use area with picnicking, swimming, fishing, canoeing, or just lounging.