We're pinning the best swimming holes, lakes and beaches near Boston on one handy map! Pack the beach gear and try out one of these parent-approved places to swim (or boat or fish) with kids.

Help make this the ultimate resource for families by adding your tips & reviews, and let us know if we're missing any other top spots for beach chilling or lake swimming around Boston.

Nothing beats recommendations from fellow parents, so chime in on our list of the best Boston swimming pools, too.

    Hopkinton State Park

     (467.7 mi)


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Hopkinton may be best known as the starting point for the Boston Marathon, but it's also home to this great state park with two swimming beaches with lifeguards, several picnic areas with charcoal cooking grills, restrooms, walking trails, boat ramp and stocked fishing. This a natural, spring-fed lake and the park includes 300 picnic spots! Mass residents receive the lower parking rate.

    Horseneck Beach State Reservation

     (477.1 mi)

    Lifeguards on duty Memorial Day to Labor Day


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Spread across nearly 600 acres of barrier beach and salt marsh, this beautiful stretch of white sandy beach is one of the most popular of the state park system. Its location provides plenty of refreshing breezes off the Atlantic and great windsurfing conditions. Amenities include a bathhouse, snack bar, picnic tables, lifeguards, walking trails and adjacent campground.

    NARA Park

     (483.6 mi)

    Memorial Day-late August

    Daily rates are $3-$10/person, $45/family, discount available for Acton residents

    Tracy Snyder Molina:  The beach at NARA Park is a great place to bring the family for the day. There are restrooms, showers, concession stand, canoe and paddle boat rentals, and playground. There is also an amphitheater which has many outdoor concerts during the summer.

    Walden Pond State Reservation

     (485.8 mi)


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Walden Pond was made famous by Henry David Thoreau and is considered the birthplace of the conservation movement. This pristine recreation area is a perfect spot to take kids swimming—there are roped off shallow areas and lifeguards on duty. There are no specific picnic areas but you are welcome to bring your own picnic. Restrooms are available. Parking fills up quickly so be sure to arrive early to secure your spot. Mass residents receive the lower rate.

    Springs Brook Park

     (491.6 mi)

    Open June-August

    Closed for the 2020 season

    Daily passes are $10/person, $10/guest fee

    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Spring Brook Park is a man-made, filtered swimming facility surrounded by sandy beach, grassy picnic area and wooded areas. Amenities include picnic tables, grills, concession stand, small basketball court, mini-golf, volleyball, tetherball, water slide, lap swimming lanes, sprinkler park, dock and playground equipment. They also have kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and a dodgeball area for young kids. Lifeguards are on duty. Note: only Bedford residents may visit on a “Daily Pass” basis. Non-residents must have a season membership or visit with a resident/member and pay the daily guest fee.

    Houghton's Pond Recreation Area

     (493.1 mi)

    Lifeguards on duty July-August


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Situated in the Blue Hills Reservation, this spring-fed kettle hole pond was formed by receding glaciers approximately 10,000 years ago. The recreation area has a playground, concession area, restrooms, first aid station, picnic tables, pavilion, accessible beach, and a visitor center. The swimming area is monitored by DCR lifeguards during the summer season. Follow trails for biking, hiking, or horseback riding.

    Reservoir Beach

     (494.4 mi)

    Open June-August

    Closed for the 2020 season

    $5/day pass

    Tracy Snyder Molina:  If you're looking for a freshwater dip with the kids, try a visit to Reservoir Beach. Amenities include a filtered/chlorinated swimming area, bathhouse, concession stand and playground. The beach is supervised by certified lifeguards and other beach staff while open. Other family-friendly activities to experiences include kayaking, canoeing and paddle board rentals.

    Spectacle Island

     (500.0 mi)

    Ferry rates range from $12.95-$19.95/person (3+), admission on the island is free

    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Just 20 minutes (via ferry) from downtown Boston, Spectacle Island has a sandy beach (one of the few on the islands) supervised by trained lifeguards in the summer. You can take in panoramic views of the harbor and city from the tallest hill on the Boston Harbor Islands. On the island, you'll find a visitor center, restrooms, rinse station, cafe, gift shop and picnic area. This 114-acre island is the perfect local getaway for hiking, swimming, boating, and learning about nature. Supervised swimming offered late June-Labor Day.

    Quincy Shores Reservation

     (500.7 mi)


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  The largest of the Boston Harbor beach areas, Quincy Shores Reservation, offers a unique place for jogging, biking, and swimming at the 2.3-mile beach front. There is also a lookout tower, playground, concession stand and bathhouse. Access by public transportation is available at the Wollaston stop on the Red Line. The now inactive quarry, by the way, is a popular area for rock climbing and picnicking with the family.

    Castle Island

     (501.9 mi)

    Lifeguards on duty Memorial Day-Labor Day


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  This 22-acre urban park is connected to the mainland by both pedestrian and vehicular causeways. Pleasure Bay, the M Street Beach and Carson Beach form a three mile segment of parkland and beach to explore. Amenities include a snack bar, restrooms, large playground, walkways from Castle Island to the Kennedy Library and Fort Independence - a granite fort that played many roles in colonial and revolutionary times. Free Fort tours run on weekends. Watch the airplanes land across the harbor, too. Parking is free near Fort Independence and there is metered street parking along the beach, too.

    Constitution Beach

     (503.8 mi)


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Located in East Boston, this popular swimming beach offers unique views of Boston Harbor and Logan Airport. Amenities include a bathhouse, concession stand, seasonal lifeguards, playground, basketball and tennis courts. A pedestrian overpass offers access from the Orient Heights MBTA station.

    Breakheart Reservation - Pearce Lake

     (505.9 mi)


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Pearce Lake within the Breakheart Reservation is one of the few fresh-water swimming spots north of Boston. There are picnic tables, restrooms and a first aid station open in the summer as well as lifeguards. Take a hike on one of the many trails before cooling off with a refreshing swim.

    Revere Beach

     (506.4 mi)

    Lifeguards on duty late June to early September

    Free; Free 4-hour parking along Revere Boulevard

    Tracy Snyder Molina:  This popular beach is packed with sunbathers and the perfect place to grab a roast beef sandwich or famous lobster rolls at nearby restaurants while watching the airplanes land or take off. Facilities include restrooms, changing rooms and concession stand. It's also home to the annual Revere Beach Sand Sculpting contest, the largest sand sculpting festival on the East Coast.

    Lynn Shore & Nahant Beach Reservation

     (510.5 mi)


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  An easy drive from Boston, Nahant Beach offers a wide stretch of soft sand with a large distance of shallow water which is perfect for families of small children. Bathhouse and lifeguards are available as well as a 2-mile promenade for walking, jogging and biking. There is a large parking lot which provides plenty of parking. Mass residents receive the discounted rate.

    Duxbury Beach Park

     (516.7 mi)


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Duxbury Beach, a 7.5 mile long barrier beach, offers a bay side and an ocean side. The ocean side is perfect for swimming, taking a walk or just sun-bathing while the bay is the location for kayaking, boating and bird-watching. This family-friendly beach has restrooms, showers and several dining options.

    Scusset Beach State Reservation

     (516.8 mi)


    Amanda Banta:  On the east end of the Cape Cod Canal, Scusset Beach offers a taste of Cape Cod beaching without a drive over either of the bridges. The water tends to be calm enough for swimming and low tide provides lots of shallow pools for splashing. The bathrooms are quite a walk from the sandy beach area; therefore, it's a good idea to make a quick stop in before you head over the dunes. There are 1.5 miles of beachfront to enjoy, as well as tons of camping spots for a close weekend getaway.

    Salem Willows Park

     (517.2 mi)


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  The historic Salem Willows Park offers three beautiful beaches, scenic views, gazebos, picnic area, sports courts and kids will have a blast at the nearby arcade plus bumper cars, carousel, and kiddie rides. Swimming is permitted, however, there are no lifeguards. The private amusement center portion of Salem Willows Park operates seasonally, generally April-October. The park is open year round, make plans to enjoy your next Boston family staycation.

    Lyons Park - Dane Street Beach

     (517.6 mi)


    Amanda Banta:  Commonly known as Dane Street Beach, Lyons Park is a great beach for young kids. After a small rocky incline, the land is flat and has soft sand for a long way, creating quite a stretch of shallow water when the tide is going out. The kids can venture far from the shore and still only be up to their knees. There is a bathhouse with restrooms just off the beach. As if the beach isn't enough fun, there also is a good-sized playground right there as well. There is a very small parking lot at the beach and street parking along Lothrop Street.

    Singing Beach

     (525.0 mi)

    $7/person (12+), $25/non-resident parking

    Tracy Snyder Molina:  This beautiful north shore beach has a bathhouse, concession stand and lifeguards during the summer season. Although small, (1/2 mile-wide) it's a great beach for walking, collecting seashells and just watching the surf. The beach is open to the public but very limited parking is available for non-residents - see site for more helpful details.

    Sandy Point State Reservation

     (527.1 mi)


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Plum Island is an 11-mile barrier island and Sandy Point, on the southern tip, is a state park and a wonderful place to swim in the Atlantic, explore the tide pools, or just sunbathe.

    Note: This area is an important nesting ground for the piping plover which may cause beach closures at times. Access to the beach is through the wildlife refuge which is home to over 800 species of birds, plants and animals.. Limited free parking is available at the refuge or in private lots.

    Crane Beach

     (527.8 mi)


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  With 4 miles of white sand, gentle waves and picturesque vistas it's no wonder that Crane Beach has been voted "Best Beach of Boston" for multiple years. Seasonal amenities include bathhouses, lifeguards and rangers, picnic tables and concession stand. Besides the beautiful beach, you can also explore more than 5 miles of trails through the protected dunes on elevated boardwalks.

    Stage Fort Park - Half Moon and Cressy's Beaches

     (529.9 mi)

    Lifeguards on duty Memorial Day-Labor Day


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Stage Fort Park is the historic site of Gloucester's first settlers. Two beaches, Half Moon and Cressy's Beach, are located in the park. Half Moon is a small, quiet beach, named after its crescent shape. Cressy's is a rocky beach that overlooks Gloucester Harbor and makes a great place for a picnic or reading a book. Restrooms, a restaurant, playground, picnic tables and cooking area where you can bring your own grill are available. Outdoor concerts, fireworks, storytelling activities and more are held during the summer season.

    Salisbury Beach State Reservation

     (530.1 mi)


    Parking fees are collected Memorial Day-October, and MA residents receive the lower rate.

    Tracy Snyder Molina:  This popular ocean beach stretches 3.8 miles with renovated bathhouse, lifeguards, playground, picnic area, boardwalks out to the beach and boat ramps. With great waves, this is a perfect spot for boogie boarders. Arcades, restaurants and shops are close to the area. The beach overlooks the point at which the Merrimack River feeds the Atlantic Ocean.

    Wingaersheek Beach

     (531.2 mi)

    Lifeguards on duty Memorial Day-Labor Day


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  This beach is a favorite for families with small children as low tide produces tons of tidal pools to explore and rocks to climb along with white sand and clear water protected from big waves. Restrooms, showers and a concession stand are available. It's best to get there early as parking fills up or wait until late in the afternoon.

    Good Harbor Beach

     (534.9 mi)

    Lifeguards on duty Memorial Day-Labor Day


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  If you are looking for great waves for boogie boards or body surfing, this is the beach for you. White powdery sand directly faces the Atlantic. At low tide, you can walk out on the sandbar to explore Salt Island or play a game of frisbee. Lifeguards are on duty Memorial Day-Labor Day. Restrooms, showers and a concession stand are all available. Be sure to arrive early as parking fills up quickly.

    Front Beach

     (536.3 mi)


    Tracy Snyder Molina:  Situated in picturesque Rockport, Front Beach is the perfect spot for swimming since during high tide there isn't much beachfront left uncovered! Lifeguards are on duty during the summer season. When you are finished at the beach, it's a short walk to downtown with plenty of shops and restaurants along Bearskin Neck. Metered on-street parking is available on Beach Street and a private parking lot across the street. In season, the CATA Park & Ride at the Blue Gate Parking Lot offers free parking and $1 trolley ride to Front Beach and downtown.

    Cape Cod National Seashore

     (554.2 mi)

    Lifeguards on duty late June-Labor Day

    $25/daily vehicle

    Tracy Snyder Molina:  If you are planning a weekend beach getaway, why not head to nearby Cape Cod with the kids? With a forty-mile long stretch of pristine sandy beach, dozens of clear, deep, freshwater kettle ponds, 11 self-guided nature trails, abundant picnic areas and scenic overlooks, this is one destination not to be missed. There are 6 swimming beaches: Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Light Beach, Marconi Beach, Head of the Meadow Beach, Race Point Beach, and Herring Cove Beach. Each beach has its own charm, interesting features and entertainment offerings.

Primary photo:   Upparent

Upparent collects community-submitted recommendations and reviews, and any ideas that are shared reflect the opinions of individual contributors.

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