Local watering holes: Splash pads and local beaches for nearby fun

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)

If you wanted to get wet today, you’d just need to step outside. But the forecast for the next several days might have you looking forward to a day of frolicking in the sun and water. So, I’m posting this year’s details on where readers can splash around this summer.

Southborough doesn’t have any public wading areas of our own, but there are nearby options that residents can take advantage of. The info below is just an overview. Before you visit, please click on links for details including rules of use for each facility.

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:

  • Ghiloni Park Splash Pad (by Marlborough on Facebook)Marlborough (Note: I would check their Rec Facebook page for updates on temporary closures. A post today shows that these today due to the forecast.)
    • splash pads at Ghiloni Park and Stevens Park are open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm through September 5th. The Town website does warn of potential occasional automatic shutdowns “if the chemical levels fall outside standard parameters”. 

    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 26th, noon – 5:45 pm (with gates locked at 6:00 pm). 

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

  • Northborough’s free splash pad at Assabet Park is open. It’s hours are Sun, Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sat 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. (It is closed on Tues & Thurs.) The park also features the new playground completed this spring. No date is listed yet for when the season will end.

Lake Swimming. If you’re family is too old for the above 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.

After a two year pause, Marlborough and Hudson have reopened use of their lakeside beaches to out-of-towners, though at spiked non-resident rates:

  • Memorial Beach, Marlborough (image posted to flickr by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism)Memorial Beach in Marlborough – $20 per car (open daily 11:00 am-6:45 pm through Aug 28; Sept 3 – 5 open 11:45 am-5:45 pm.)
  • Centennial Beach in Hudson – $20 per day pass (only available on non-holiday weekdays) or $100 per season pass (open 9:00 am – 7:00 pm daily through Aug 21). For beach rules, click here.

The state also has three local swimming holes.

The State parks only charge admission for parking – $8/day, $60/season, or $10/senior-lifetime pass (for ages 62+). Daily parking can be purchased through a mobile app for most of the parks (but not Ashland.) You can also borrow a free pass from the Southborough Library.

However, the lots can fill up – especially on weekends. DCR has launched a special “alerts” page to check for full parking notices and other advisories here. (You can also check their tweets, since they have used it in the past to announce when a park reached full capacity.) 

  • Hopkinton State Park (Swimming area is open daily 11:00 am – 6:00 pm through Labor Day this summer. But the park access is 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, so you may want to secure parking earlier in the day.)
  • Ashland State Park (dawn to dusk, daily)
  • Cochituate State Park in Natick (8:00 am – 8:00 pm, daily)

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 things to do this summer, you can pull down stories from the Features menu (Favorite Places) or Events menu (Summer Fun for Adults and/or What to Do with Kids this Summer) .

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