Where to Splash Around

Splash pads, wading pools and local beaches for nearby fun

Above: Looking at the range of options in our area for water play this summer. (images L-R Marlborough Rec Facebook post and photo by Beth Melo)

For those of you who aren’t planning trips to Cape/coastal beaches or lake houses, but still eager to frolic in the sun and water, I’m posting this year’s updated details on local places to splash around.

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. (Plus any updates from authorities if there’s an unexpected, temporary closing.)

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:
    • Splash pads at Ghiloni Park and Stevens Park are open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm through September 2nd. 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 23rd, 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.) (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.

Marlborough and Hudson allow use of their lakeside beaches to out-of-towners, though at higher non-resident rates:

  • Memorial Beach in Marlborough – $20 per car (open daily 11:00 am – 6:45 pm through Aug 27; Aug 31 – Sept 2 open 11:00 am-5:30 pm.)
  • Centennial Beach in Hudson – $20 per day pass (only available to non-residents on non-holiday weekdays) or $100 per season pass (open 9:00 am – 7:00 pm — but lifeguards are only on duty 10:00 am – 6:30 pm — daily through Aug 18). For beach rules, click here.

The state also has three local swimming holes. Unfortunately, those can sometimes be closed due to bacteria issues. And parking can also fill up, especially on weekends.

DCR has launched a special “alerts” page to check for advisories here. (You can also check their tweets, since they have used it in the past to announce when a park’s parking lot reached full capacity.)

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.

  • Ashland State Park (dawn to dusk, daily)
  • Cochituate State Park in Natick (sunrise to sunset, daily)
  • Limited availability — Hopkinton State Park:  As of the morning of July 2nd, the main beach was closed for swimming.
    • When swimming is available, that is open daily 11:00 am – 6:00 pm through Labor Day. For other recreation, park access is open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

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.

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