New England is home to some incredible lakes, with many lakes near Boston to choose from! Some make the perfect summer swimming spot when you’re not in the mood for the beach or pool. You’ll find lakes surrounded by lush greenery, tall mountains, and even some floating dive docks.
*Make sure to review the Massachusetts DCR alerts for lake swimming conditions. With the extensive rain we’ve had this summer, rising bacteria levels are a concern with lakes. Each day, it notifies you of any closure to Massachusetts lakes due to water quality concerns. When this happens you can still enjoy other lake activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, jet skiing, canoeing and more-just don’t fall in!
Without further ado, these are the best spots to go swimming in the wild lakes near Boston:
1. Mystic Lakes Park, Medford
Perhaps the closest natural lake to the city, the Mystic Lakes are made up from water from the Mystic River which also intersects with the Charles. The only part of the expansive lakes for swimming is Shannon Beach. The rest of the lakes are open to boating activities like rowing and sailing.
2. Reservoir Beach, Arlington
The newly renovated beach now includes an improved bath house, snack par, picnic pavilion, mini water park, playground and more! The lake beach is well maintained and kept clean for Bostonians looking to take a dip or go for a swim.
3. Crystal Lake, Newton
As the name suggests, the waters here at this 33-acre lake are often a crystal-clear green. The small lake is popular with Newton residents who can purchase a season pass. Non-residents will need a day pass, but its a quick trip from the city on the green line!
4. Joshua’s Pond, Barnstable
Some say Joshua’s Pond is one of the clearest, most blue swimming areas in the state. Located on the Cape, it offers an alternative swimming choice to the beach.
5. Sunset Lake, Braintree
During the summer months visitors can enjoy swimming, relaxing on the sand, grills and sometimes live entertainment at sunset lake! As expected, the low greenery makes it a perfect place to catch the sunset year-round.
6. Breezy Picnic Grounds and Waterslides, Douglas
About 1 hour from the city, this lakeside retreat is perfect for those seeking the thrill of a waterpark within a natural body of water. Adult mega slides and tiny kiddo slides zip you into the lake which has a designated swimming area for making a splash. There’s also plenty of pavilion space to make a day out of this trip.
7. Memorial Beach, Natick
If you like to dive and jump, this is the lake for you. Although small, Memorial Beach offers up the very rare amenity of a diving board and diving dock at the lake! Staff here are pretty strict, so make sure to follow the rules accordingly. And you do have a to pay a rate to enter the beach in addition to parking.
8. Walden Pond, Concord
American poet Henry David Thoreau from Concord, Massachusetts references this lake in his work. You can even visit his house site and cabin replica. The history of Walden Pond and ties to Thoreau’s most famous piece, Walden, draws nearly 600,000 visitors a year. But Walden is just a calm place to go swimming and the water is said to be created from a glacier that melted 10,000 years ago.
9. Cochituate State Park, Natick
This lake about 30 minutes from the city offers swimming and boating activities via Boating in Boston-it’s one of their 3 locations which are Boston, Natick, and Hopkinton.
10. Hopkinton State Park
This 1,500-acre park has everything you’d need for the perfect lake day. It is about 45 minutes driving from the city and accessible by commuter rail if you exit at the Southborough stop. Located just a mile from the start of the Boston Marathon and Haven Beauty, the state park has 2 lakes for swimming.
The Upper Beach offers boating rentals as well and you can paddle to a small island where you can get off and swim. There are also charcoal grills, picnic tables, hiking trails, and expansive roads for biking, running, walking and more.