Now that school is out and summer has finally descended upon us, you may be asking yourself the perennial question -- how do I keep the kids entertained AND cool?
One of the great things about living in the Bedford area is there are so many options for cool summer fun that are easily accessible. A couple of my favorites are Springs Brook Park, Walden Pond and NARA Park. I'm including a few of the things I like about each spot and links for more info below. So grab the kids, a cooler and some towels and enjoy!
Springs Brook Park, Bedford, MA Located on Springs Road just before the V.A. Hospital, Springs Brook Park is a man-made, filtered swimming facility surrounded by sandy beach, grassy picnic area and wooded areas. There are picnic tables, grills, bathrooms, food concession, a small basketball court, volleyball, lap swimming lanes, a great sprinkler park for the little ones, and playground equipment.
It is handicapped accessible, and you can take a stroller right up to the sandy area easily. There is a shallow end and deep end with a dock to jump from and one water slide. Parking is free and it is open to residents and non-residents from mid-June through August.
Springs Brook is a right of passage for most Bedfordites. It's the perfect place to bring your toddler and the concessions and lifeguard jobs are staffed by many Bedford high school teens.
Walden Pond, Concord, MA Walden Pond is a notable example of a kettle hole pond, formed by retreating glaciers 10,000-12,000 years ago and is surrounded by over 2,500 acres of mostly undeveloped woods. Made famous in writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau's book, Walden; or, Life in the Woods, the pond was also an ice-harvesting site, with ice exported to the Caribbean, Europe, and India.
The beach at Walden Pond is open to swimmers in the summer months. There is a small parking area near the boat launch for those who wish to explore Walden Pond via kayak, canoe or other non-motorized boat. There are also hiking trails -- it takes about one hour to walk all the way around the pond.
The state park's parking lot--the only legal parking available within a mile of the pond--costs $5 per carload in summer. When all the spots are full, the parking lot is closed and cars are turned away. On warm days in summer--especially weekends and holidays--this means cars will be turned away by mid-morning at the latest. To avoid disappointment, call 978-369-3254 for parking availability.
NARA Park, Acton, MA Open year round, NARA Park is off Rt. 27 in Acton, MA. It's a really great place with a walking trail, beautiful pond, plenty of places to sit and eat, shaded areas, and kids love looking under/around the rocks for 'sea' creatures and frogs. It is well maintained and has plenty of parking. There are multiple sports fields and a one-mile trail that goes around the perimeter, which is great for running or walking. Bring the dog, too!
The park has a playground and a large tented area that can be rented for outings. The large beach area with lifeguards has a daily rate and summer passes for residents and non-residents. During the summer you can rent canoes and paddle boats for a small fee. There is a concession stand with hot dogs, pizza, snacks and ice cream, a covered seating area with outdoor tables and restrooms and outdoor showers.
There is an amphitheater that holds 3,000 people for summer concerts. With so much to do, you may never leave!