Blue Hills Reservation: Houghton’s Pond Recreation Area
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:840 Hillside Street, Milton, MA
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Contact:; 617-698-1802

Bathrooms: At the visitor center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain in the center of the playground; concessions at snack bar during warm weather

USGS Norwood;; AMC’s Massachusetts Trail Map 4

This family favorite features an easy trail, a shallow swimming area, a large playground, and a scenic setting to enjoy.

Kids can try their luck fishing at Houghton's Pond.
Photo by: iStock

Houghton’s Pond is part of the 7,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation; in summer, it offers Boston residents a nice alternative to the more distant Walden Pond. The 24-acre pond is a spring-fed kettle hole formed by receding glaciers about 10,000 years ago. It reaches 42 feet deep in some parts.

A roped-off swimming area is supervised by lifeguards in July and August. Before or after your swim, take an easy 1-mile hike around the pond (the yellow trail) and look for wildlife. On one hike we saw a snake and an egg very close to the trail. Close to the beach area, two spurs (green and red) lead to other parts of the reservation. Fishing is popular here, as the pond is stocked, so bring along a rod if your kids want to try their luck.

When the seasons change and the weather turns cold, visit Houghton’s Pond to spot meadowhawks, hardy dragonflies that can be seen as late as December. After snow falls, have the kids try snowshoeing the loop, enjoying continuous views across the pond.

Remember: Be warned that the rules for swimming in Houghton’s Pond are fairly strict. Leave balls, floats, and water toys at home; none are allowed in or near the water. The lifeguards frown on horseplay. Keep your dog on a leash and clean up after it.

Plan B:

The Mass Audubon’s Trailside Museum (Trip 26) offers displays and descriptions of the wildlife found in the Blue Hills.

Where to Eat Nearby:

A concession pavilion with snacks and drinks is by the Hillside parking lot and open in season.


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