Walden Pond State Reservation
For nearly two years my daily commute took me on a winding road along the edge of Walden Pond. I would always slow down along that stretch of road to catch a glimpse of the pond as I drove by. I no longer commute this way, but since this park is actually the closest Massachusetts State Park to our home, we have been able to visit it a handful of times over the last few years - each time to explore or experience the park in a new way.
We recommend you get to the park on the early side, as it has been known to shut down by lunch time once it hits its visitor capacity. There is a great little beach for picnicking, swimming, and building sand castles but it can get really over crowded during the summer. While this main beach is the only one with a lifegaurd on duty, I do suggest you hike in a little around the pond to find your own, more secluded swimming hole.
Personally, we had a lot of fun hiking the Pond Path which is a 1.7 mile loop trail around Walden Pond. Its a relatively easy hike that is mostly tree covered but we did find it can be a bit much with a toddler in tow on a hot day - definitely bring lots of snacks and swim gear so you can stop along the way to rest. Since the path encircles the pond there are many spots to take a dip in the water. We hopped in to cool down in Long Cove which was just about half way around the path. Here in the cove, the water was too deep to touch the bottom but well worth the dive in. The original Thoreau Cabin Site is along this path as well and provides a nice history lesson on Henry David Thoreau who lived at Walden Pond for a few years in the 1840's and is most know for his book, Walden.
As you will learn to know through this blog, I am nut about visitor centers. For the last few years, this park's visitor center has been undergoing renovations and they just opened a brand new center. I can not wait to go back and see what it has to offer its visitors. I can see this park continuing to be a regular haunt for us and am excited for us to explore other areas of the park like Goose Pond and the Emerson's Cliff Trail. Don't worry, we will update more info on this park as we discover more of it!