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  A day at Houghton's Pond
A day at Houghton's Pond

What to Bring

Hats and
  Insect repellent
(in summer)
Sunscreen   Blankets or mats
Water   Snacks
Picnic lunch   Bikes and helmets (mandatory
under 12)


From Boston, take I-93 South
Take exit 3 (Ponkapoag Trail)
Turn right at end of ramp
Turn right at the stop sign on Hillside Street
Parking lot is about 0.2 miles on the right
  Good to know in advance
Lifeguards on duty daily in July and August, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Parking lot closed at 8 p.m.

Restrooms at the visitor center near the
parking lot
Park for younger children (climbers and
Maps available at the visitor center
Blue Hills Reservation headquarters:
617-698-1802 (M-F 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
No grills or open fires on the beach
No amplified sound
All pets strictly on leash
Stay on trails
Mountain biking on designated trails only – respect "No Bicycle" signs – take map at
the visitor center for a list of biking trails

ID Card

Overall rating: Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating
Difficulty: 1/5
  Time from Boston: 25 minutes
  Duration: Full day


  Main activity:


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Located less than half an hour south of Boston, Houghton's Pond is a great place for an active day outside: being part of the Blue Hills Reservation, Houghton's Pond allows you to swim, hike, or bike, all in the same place.

Houghton's Pond is a great choice if you want to swim on a nice summer day without driving far away or paying high beach fees; above all, this is the place to go if you look for a place that has something for everyone: while dad (or mom) can go for a swim with the younger ones, mom (or dad) can hit the trail for a challenging hike or a mountain bike ride with the older brothers and sisters.

Naturally, you won't be alone on a summer weekend there, but swimming against a backdrop of high pines will easily make you feel you are in a mountain lake in the Western US. The water is warm and clean, with a sandy beach and bottom that make swimming a comfortable experience; as with most lakes and ponds, the absence of waves makes it a good place for the little ones who have yet to learn how to swim.

Houghton's Pond is the gateway to the Blue Hills Reservation: if you have not already been there, take hiking and biking maps at the visitor center to start exploring the area. A first step is to walk around the pond, an easy loop that is accessible to small children. While many trails near the pond are stroller-friendly, most trails will become challenging when you start climbing the many hills in the area; for the same reasons, the reservation offers many great opportunities for mountain biking.

Because kids generally love the place and will want to stay around, we recommend bringing the picnic and staying the entire day. The immediate vicinity of the beach can be crowded, but a few hundred yards will buy you solitude or at least peace.

Even when fall sets in and swimming is a memory, Houghton's pond is a nice place for a Sunday walk - then again, you may be tempted to bring the hiking shoes and mountain bikes, and hit the trails!

Paddling Biking Mountaineering