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ATHARVA TULSI | UNSPLASH

ALL THE BEST SWIMMING HOLES IN MASSACHUSETTS

10 PLACES

UPDATED AUG 10, 2020

Every Bostonian knows just how much the mercury can rise when summer finally arrives. Feeling the heat from all that city concrete? Sounds like it’s time for a swimming hole adventure.

author

ELYSE ANDREWS

FITT BOSTON CONTRIBUTOR

Reservoir Beach is a beautiful, tree-lined swimming spot with a beach concession stand and a handful of nearby trails. Before you take a dip, tie your towel to your bike and hit the Minuteman Bikeway, which passes very close to The Res. Heads up: There’s a small daily fee to swim, but you can also buy a season pass if you want to visit on the regular.

Just south of Boston in Milton is this spectucular 24-acre swimming destination. Kick back on the sandy shores, swim a few laps around the pond, or throw in a fishing line. Looking for something more active? Explore some of the hiking trails at Blue Hills Reservation — the Skyline Trail features excellent views of the city.

If you’ve ever been to Crane Beach on the North Shore, you’ve likely passed by the Ipswich River. Next time, stop for a swim. The river winds through Ipswich and a few nearby towns, so there are multiple places where you can jump in. Our recommendation? Take a dip at Thunder Bridge in Middleton.

There are a of couple ways to reach this Appalachian Trail swimming spot on the border of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Take your pick of the tricky and challenging Undermountain Trail or drive to the top of Mount Washington for an easy trek to the ravine. Either way, you're in for a peaceful swim in clear waters.

This swimming area is actually two lakes that sit side by side. Sunbathe at Shannon Beach on the Upper Mystic River — it gets crowded, so head over early on the weekends. And if you're hanging at the Lower Mystic Lake, bring along your kayak or paddleboard. The West Medford and Wedgemere commuter rail stops are close by, so it's also super easy to access.

Pecks Falls is another prime swimming spot with a waterfall — two, to be exact. You'll reach the 12-foot lower falls first, and it's great for a quick photo op. But the epic 50-foot upper falls is where you can kick off your shoes and go for a swim with a view. All-in-all, it's about a 15-minute hike to get there.

Henry David Thoreau may have made this pond famous in his book of the same name, but outdoorsy Bostonians have solidified it as a must-go summer swimming destination. If you're looking to get out of the city and recharge, Walden Pond's calm waters and peaceful setting should do the trick. Plan to get there early — parking is limited.

Technicially, Bellevue Falls is a waterfall. But on a good day, it's only about six feet high, so the swimming hole is the real draw. Take the easy walking trail to the base, then go for a float in the chilly water. The bottom is rocky, so bring water shoes. And since it's close to Mount Greylock and North Adams, it makes for fun pit stop on a Western Massachusetts road trip.

Chapel Brook Falls in Ashfield is spectuacular anytime you go, but we suggest a trip after a good rain. The falls will be at their best and the pool at the base is guaranteed to be cool and refreshing. If you’re looking for a challenge, hike up nearby Pony Mountain to enjoy scenic views of the surrounding forests before your swim.

Because this swimming hole is a bit of a drive (over two hours) it's also under-the-radar. Where Umpachene River spills into the Konkapot River is a great place to swim, with secluded pools surrounded by smooth rocks. There are also picnic tables throughout the park, so pack a lunch and plan to spend the day.

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