Local watering holes: Splash pads and local beaches for nearby fun (Updated-again)

Above: You won’t likely find the beach this uncrowded on a day that isn’t forecast for potential rain, but there are some local swim and splash options this summer. (photo by Beth Melo)

I hope you are enjoying a break in the rain. It looks like it will be short lived, so you may want to run out for some outdoor summer fun this morning and early afternoon.

Speaking of outdoor fun, I was sure I shared my annual list of local places where families can splash around. But when I went to update it with new details from Northborough, I found it never was posted. So, here it is.

Southborough doesn’t have any public wading areas of our own, but there are some nearby options that residents can take advantage of. There aren’t as many as some past years*, but there are quite a few this summer.

Splash pads and wading pools may get quite hot some days, but they can be an easy option for some fun water play for young ones. The following are free and open for the season. Below are the hours with safety notices from the Towns:

Please be aware that the splash pad is equipped with a chemical monitoring system that will automatically shut-off the splash pad if the chemical levels fall outside standard parameters. Such an event could be caused by many factors including but not limited to: inclement weather, power failures, high volume usage, etc.

  • Ward Park wading pool (by Marlborough Rec on Facebook)Marlborough also has two shallow wading pools to splash in- at Sawin Street and Ward Park. Those are open daily through August 22nd, noon – 5:45 pm (with gates locked at 6:00 pm). There are some rules attendees are requested to follow:

Disposable diapers are not allowed in the pool. Only Little Swimmers Disposable Swim Pants are allowed. For the safety of all, the rules will be posted and in effect at all times. The lifeguard has the authority to ask anyone who deliberately and continuously refuses to comply with the established guidelines to leave the pool area. Water shoes are recommended.

Assabet splash pad (image posted to Facebook by Northborough Recreation)

  • Northborough’s free splash pad at Assabet Park is opening this weekend. (Initially, it was planned to be closed for reconstruction of the abutting playground this summer. But that project has just been pushed to start in late August.) Starting July 17th, it’s hours will be Sun, Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sat 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. 

If you’re family is too old for those options (or your kids are demanding real swimming) then you may want to find a beach. No need to drive for hours in traffic. Take advantage of parks a stone’s throw away.

The state’s local swimming holes include: 

[Editor’s Note: A third lake that I originally listed, Cochituate State Park (in Natick), temporarily banned swimming starting July 14th – without an update on the website or twitter. Which means, it may not be obvious when it reopens. You can check the status later this summer by calling (508) 653-9641.]*

Warning, the State Parks parking lots can fill up – especially on weekends. If you find a non-rainy day to enjoy, I’d advise shooting to get there early. You also may want to check DCR’s tweets, since they have used it in the past to announce when a park reached full capacity.

There is a fee for parking at the parks. For state residents it’s only $8 per car (or $60 for season pass). (There’s also a $10 lifetime pass for seniors.) Alternatively, the Southborough Library does have a pass patrons can reserve to borrow for the day. This summer, DCR also introduced a new mobile option for paying to park at Hopkinton and Cochituate, plus some other properties around the state. (Ashland isn’t on the system.)

Do you have a favorite water play spot not listed above? (Or have a tip about one of these to share?) Shout out in the comments.

And for more tips on what to do with your kids this summer, you can pull down stories from the Features menu.

*Facilities not available:

  •  Hudson hasn’t opened the splash pad at Celucci Park yet (due to a nearby construction project). The opening is apparently imminent (and could be approved to open as soon as today or this weekend). Once it is up and running, details will be posted on Hudson Rec’s Facebook page
  • Memorial Beach in Marlborough and Centennial Beach in Hudson only have parking options for their residents this year. Westborough’s Lake Chauncy is only available to Westborough and Northborough residents this year.

Updated (7/16/21 9:03 am): I updated above on the status of the Celucci Park splash pad.

*Updated (7/19/21 8:58 am): A commenter pointed out an article on the closure of some beaches on Lake Cochituate. DCR’s website and twitter account don’t share that news. But when I called the state park for their status, an outgoing message announced that all three of the linked ponds are closed due to hazardous algae bloom. The public is warned not to swim in it or allow dogs near it. If you want to check in late summer if the lake has reopened, I suggest calling  (508) 653-9641.

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3 years ago

Lake Cochituate was closed yesterday (7/15), probably best to check status before going.


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