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I’ve always thought outdoor swimming was special, because it’s a pleasure during all seasons.
From the middle of the winter to the dog days of summer, swimming always feels refreshing and invigorating. During the chillier months, a warm outdoor pool offers a welcome change of pace, while summer is prime rooftop time and flip-flop season, of course.
Here are some of my favorite places in Massachusetts to take a dip, including outdoor options that are open year-round, indoor spots that are perfect for cool weather and some more for your summer bucket list. Each of these swimming spots has something unique about it, making them all well worth a visit.
The Porches Inn in North Adams, MA
The Porches Inn in North Adams is 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence recipient located right across the river from Mass MoCA. Whether you visit in winter for skiing, in the fall for foliage or in the summer to explore western Massachusetts’ summer festivals, The Porches Inn’s small, slate-surrounded pool is perfect for a swim and open year round. The hot tub is a real treat, too, with either snowflakes or stars in the sky.
Time in a hot tub is pretty much always time well spent
The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA
The Red Lion Inn, another Berkshires lodging, has its own outdoor pool that is open year-round. In addition, their pool house is a popular spot for families during the summer, thanks to ping-pong, a snack bar and shelter (if it’s a rainy day). The Red Lion Inn also happens to be one of the Historic Hotels of America; in fact, they have an original guest registry dating back to the 19th century.
Looking in on the Red Lion Inn pool courtesy of the Red Lion Inn
Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis, MA
The Cape Codder in Hyannis has even more to choose from, with two spacious pools, a huge outdoor hot tub, an indoor wave pool and a water slide. At night, the outdoor pool, which is saltwater, becomes illuminated with different colors, creating a very cool light show of sorts. For those looking to dunk themselves indoors, children love the wave pool and adults can enjoy a soak in the Beach Plum Spa, too.
Outdoors at the Cape Codder by Melanie Feehan (http://melanieinthemiddle.com)
The Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge, MA
The Royal Sonesta Boston has a large pool that serves as the setting for their pool movie nights; it’s not a poolside movie but rather an in-the-pool experience. The pool is filled with large floating beanbags (they’re comfy, don’t worry) and the big screen is pulled down so that everyone has a good view. There are plenty of chairs around the pool as well, if you’d rather watch from land. In a nice touch, they also roll out a popcorn machine, because what’s a movie without popcorn, after all?
Pool at the Royal Sonesta Boston via Instagram
The White Elephant in Nantucket, MA
Nantucket’s White Elephant Residences have a gorgeous pool, surrounded by elegant lounge chairs and cabanas. Even after a full day at one of Nantucket’s beautiful beaches, the residences’ poolside area is so pretty that you just might want to spend the afternoon there. The White Elephant was also recently named as one of Nantucket’s best place to stay and swim, in case you needed another excuse to plan a trip.
Diving in at the White Elephant pool on Nantucket via Facebook
Colonnade Hotel in Boston, MA
If Fenway is your destination, then your rooftop pool of choice should be at the Colonnade Hotel. The Colonnade is a stone’s throw from Fenway Park and their pool is open at the end of May throughout the summer; while it’s open, poolside yoga sessions and rooftop concerts are just a couple of the more creative ways to spend the day. The Colonnade pool welcomes both hotel guests and non-guests (with certain restrictions) during the day.
A sunny day atop the Colonnade Hotel
Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg, MA
For less swanky and more screams (of joy!), then Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg is the place to go, where there are indoor and outdoor choices. Very young ones are well suited to Slap Tail Pond or Crooked Creek, while children a bit older might like the Otter Run or Chinook Cove. For teens and tweens, River Canyon Run and the Howlin’ Tornado ride are a great time. For a full list of activities, check out Great Wolf Lodge New England’s website.
On a tube inside Great Wolf Lodge
Out & About
Beyond hotels and inns, there are a number of public places in Massachusetts to take an outdoor swim as well. The Charles River, although far cleaner than it used to be, is not for swimming, but Artesani Playground, which has a wonderful splash pool, is right next to the river off Soldiers Field Road. Outside of Boston, Walden Pond in Concord and Morses Pond in Wellesley are two more fine options, with the former being famous for its tranquility and the latter serving as an ideal family outing destination.
A dreamy day at Morses Pond in Wellesley
The town of Wellfleet on Cape Cod has a variety of kettle ponds as well, which are fantastic for swimming (ask Forbes). Just keep an eye out for snapping turtles, which are often more tame than you might think, but there’s really no need to take chances.
Leah Klein lives with her children in Cambridge, MA, and loves to explore all that New England has to offer, from day trips to weekend escapes. You can virtually follow her journeys on her blog, Leah’s Life: Pearls And Oysters.
Photo at the top of the Colonnade Hotel rooftop pool via Facebook