Cool Off in These Lakes in Massachusetts

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Three kids on the back of a boat holding onto a rope that is tied to a tube floating in the

Summer in the northeast can be sweltering, and many residents search for ways to beat the heat. With more than 3,000 lakes in Massachusetts, the solution is right before them.

Swimming can be the best way to survive and even enjoy a heat wave! Of course, any water activity can help you forget the temperature or the heat index.

Each lake we’ve researched below offers numerous ways to cool off, from boating and sailing to waterskiing and fishing. Let’s see which Massachusetts lakes are closest to you.

How Many Lakes Are in Massachusetts?

There are more than 3,000 lakes and ponds in the Bay State, offering opportunities for outdoor activities and providing habitats for hundreds of animal and plant species. They sit throughout Massachusetts, letting residents and travelers enjoy their tranquility, natural habitats, and scenic beauty.

Bright orange fall foliage surrounds the Quabbin Reservoir, one of over 2000 lakes in Massachusetts.
Quabbin Reservoir

When Is the Best Time to Swim in Massachusetts’s Lakes?

Most lakes in Massachusetts are best to visit in the summer season. That is when you can benefit from their ‘cooling’ properties.

Many close to outside visitors after Labor Day, with swimming beaches and boat launches closing as school and cooler temperatures take precedence. But if you like outdoor adventures in the winter, some lakes freeze over, making ice fishing and snowshoeing enticing sports.

Traveler’s Tip: Relax your mind at the Peace Pagoda in Massachusetts

10 Lakes in Massachusetts You Need to Visit 

With 3,000 lakes, it was challenging to narrow our favorite ten lakes in Massachusetts. Let us know if you agree with our selections.

A woman lounges in an inner tube shaped like a unicorn on a summer lake surrounded by forest.

#1 Onota Lake

Location: In the city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

This 617-acre lake is in Pittsfield, offering abundant space for fishing, swimming, kayaking, and boating. Their marina even has rental boats

The lake is only three miles from Pittsfield State Forest if you want more outdoor exploration. There are more than 30 miles of hiking trails within the forest.

#2 Quabbin Reservoir

Location: Northwest of Springfield, Massachusetts

Many consider Quabbin Reservoir one of the country’s largest artificial water supplies. It covers a range of over 38 square miles, with ample shoreline for hiking and biking. Most enjoy motorized and non-motorized boating on this massive body of water.

#3 Lake Quinsigamond

Location: Worcester, Massachusetts

This vast, narrow lake makes the eastern border of Worcester’s city limits. It is huge at 772 acres, with eight private islands dotting its waters.

However, there is plenty of room for swimming, sailing, and fishing. The lake even hosts a rowing course.

#4 Lake Wyola

Location: Shutesbury, Massachusetts

Bounded by Lake Wyola State Park and Lake Wyola Conservation Area, Lake Wyola is a popular destination for swimming, fishing, and non-motorized boating. If that’s not enough to keep you busy on this 128-acre body of water, take a hike on the Pond Loop Trail at the neighboring state park.

#5 Lake Cochituate

Location: South of Wayland, Massachusetts

Lake Cochituate combines three connecting ponds; North, Middle, and South. Water skiers love riding the waves on South Pond, while swimmers and anglers enjoy the more tranquil waters of the other ponds. You can use kayaks and canoes here, but no jet skis.

#6 Lake Massapoag

Location: Sharon, Massachusetts

A location some people used for collecting ice, Lake Massapoag is a spring-fed lake and hosts several resorts and private homes. It has a swim beach, and many know it as a sailing getaway. Sailboats and sailboards challenge the winds daily.

Sunset over Lake Massapoag in Massachusetts.

#7 Lake Ashmere

Location: Between Peru and Hinsdale, Massachusetts

Sitting in a rural section of Massachusetts, Lake Ashmere is an angler’s destination. They come to reel in largemouth bass, sunfish, and pickerel.

Swimmers and kayakers enjoy the waters, too. The lake is home to two summer camps, so many children introduced to Lake Ashmere return as adults.

#8 Lake Lashaway

Location: Between East Brookfield and North Brookfield

This 285-acre warm water pond is only 10 feet deep, but it’s an excellent fishing hole, offering pike, bass, perch, and crappie. Its swim beach is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and it is the location of many summer homes. It’s also home to some locals year-round.

#9 Crystal Lake

Location: Newton, Massachusetts

With a history of ice harvesting and baptisms, Crystal Lake has a colorful past. What some knew as Baptist Lake now offers respite to the private homes that dot its shorelines. Many consider the lake a swimming hole, and swim classes occur every summer.

#10 Lake Boon

Location: Between the towns of Stow and Hudson

At 163 acres, Lake Boon is tiny but mighty. Its namesake is one of Stow’s first settlers, and it is adjacent to the Pine Bluff Recreational Area. You can go swimming and boating, and the town beach is an ideal place to bring a picnic lunch after a morning on the water.

Have Fun Exploring the Scenic Lakes in Massachusetts 

Most travelers don’t associate the Bay State with lakeside fun. History seems to take the front seat when planning a trip to this northeastern state. But the vast number of lakes in Massachusetts offer exceptional fun no matter what region you visit.

It might be a refreshing idea to plan some lake time on your next vacation. After all, you don’t have to go all the way to Nantucket to enjoy the water!

Which lake will you visit on your next trip to Massachusetts? 

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