Wet n’ Wild

  • Visit North Central

Country Parks Provide Heat Relief

On a warm summer day, there’s nothing more tempting than a refreshing dip in a pool, pond or stream.

And when you’re in Johnny Appleseed Country, you’re in luck — because the region has an abundance of places where you can give in to that temptation.

Local and state parks, swimming pools, and even zero-depth “splash playgrounds” await your visit in communities throughout the area. When you’re planning your trip, be sure to check out the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation website — www.mass.gov/dcr or see our Get Wet page— for details about the water-related resources available along your route.

The state park system has more than a half-dozen beaches in Johnny Appleseed Country, stretching from Willard Brook State Forest in Ashby and Townsend to Lake Dennison in Winchendon. Pearl Hill State Park in West Townsend, for example, includes a five-acre pond, complete with sandy beach, created by the seasonal damming of Pearl Hill Brook. Many of the state parks, like Otter River State Forest in Baldwinville, offer campsites, along with fishing, picnic areas and hiking trails. Dunn Pond in Gardner is part of the state’s Heritage Park system, and is a popular swimming spot for locals.

If sparkling ponds and sandy beaches aren’t your thing, how about stopping by one of the area’s public swimming pools? The state has pools in Clinton, Fitchburg and Leominster; and the city of Gardner is home to the community’s Greenwood Memorial Pool.

For the younger set, the splash park at Parkhill Park in Fitchburg is pure joy. And if you’re planning a trip to Davis’ Farmland in Sterling, be sure to pack the kiddies’ bathing suits so they can enjoy the splash play area there. Fitchburg’s Coolidge Park has both a full swimming pool and a toddler water feature area, too.

Rainy day? Don’t let it spoil your fun! Just head over to Great Wolf Lodge New England, located right off Route 2 in Fitchburg, where you’ll find exciting water slides, pools and even more fun for the whole family. It’s always a comfy temperature there, and there’s plenty of activity to keep the kids from getting bored.

When it’s just “too darn hot” in the city, come on out to Johnny Appleseed Country — where you’ll find shady forests, cool breezes, and lots of places to take that refreshing dip.

A Swimming Sampler


Leominster State Forest
90 Fitchburg Rd., Westminster

Rutland State Park
2 Crawford Rd., Rutland

Dunn Pond
289 Pearl St., Gardner

Lake Dennison
1366 Main St., Winchendon

Otter River State Forest
86 Winchendon Rd., Baldwinville

Pearl Hill State Forest
New Fitchburg Road, W. Townsend

Willard Brook
Route 119, Ashby & Townsend


Philip Weihn Pool
Route 110, Clinton

Gustave Johnson Pool
35 Wanoosnock Ave., Fitchburg

Coolidge Park Pool
John Fitch Highway, Fitchburg

Leominster State Pool
Viscoloid Avenue, Leominster

Greenwood Pool
69 Park St., Gardner

Benjamin Hill Park
93 Benjamin Rd., Shirley

Splash Parks

Parkhill Park
Beech Street, Fitchburg

Davis’ Farmland
145 Redstone Hill Rd., Sterling