I don't know about you, but summer just feels like it's flying by! That said, we've still got the entire month of August stretching out ahead of us, and it's been a hot one! If you don't have a go-to spot for swimming and cooling off, here are some of our favorites in and near Bedford. Our top picks include Springs Brook Park, Walden Pond, and NARA Park — links to each one with some highlights are below, so grab the sunscreen, put some snacks in a cooler, load the kids in the car and enjoy!
Springs Brook Park in Bedford, MA
Located on Springs Road just before the VA Hospital, Springs Brook Park is a man-made, filtered swimming facility surrounded by a sandy beach, grassy picnic and wooded areas. There are picnic tables, grills, bathrooms, a food concession, kayaking, miniature golf, 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 both a shallow end and a deep end (the dock is closed this season), and a water slide.
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. The park is open 10:30am - 7pm, Mon through Fri until August 19 (possibly later depending upon staffing). Membership can be purchased at the Bedford Recreation Office or at the Park.
Walden Pond in 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 in Acton, MA
Open year round, Nathaniel Allen Recreation Area, commonly known as NARA Park, is off Rt. 27 in Acton, MA. It's a 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 is open daily from 9am to 8pm and 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.
The amphitheater hosts summer concerts featuring national and local favorites from a broad range of genres.
Did we miss any? Do you have other favorites? Please share — and keep cool!