Eight Downeast Maine watering holes
Need a cool dip and place to relax and have fun? Here are a few of our choice swimming holes open to the public. Some have unique features like Beech Hill Pond’s Junk of Pork or Jenkins Beach’s paddle boats. They all are family friendly.
Come summer, dogs need to cool off too. Flanders Pond in Sullivan (Off Route 183 on the Flanders Pond Road) is among the watering holes where canines can swim freely. Jones Pond in Gouldsboro (off Route 195, south from U.S. Route 1, on Recreation Road) boasts an area, designated with buoys, for “pet swimming” near the boat launch.
Make a Splash
South of the Mount Desert village of Somesville, Echo Lake is a popular place to take young children to wind down after an early morning hike and other activities. The sand beach is staffed by a lifeguard and has restrooms and ample parking.
Fish gotta swim, so do kids
The recent hot, humid weather has folks flocking to Sand Beach, on the western shore of Branch Lake in Ellsworth. To get to this popular spot to cool off, take Route 1 south and turn right onto Happytown Road and follow 2.5 miles to the Boat Launch Road.
For nearly 80 years, Jenkins Beach on Green Lake in Dedham has been a popular swimming hole for locals and visitors. The fine white sand beach and relatively warm water makes it an ideal place to entertain youngsters for hours. To get there, take Route 1A to Dedham from Bangor or Ellsworth. Jenkins beach is one mile in on Green Lake Road. For more information, call 266-1381 visit www.jenkinsbeach.com.
Beat the heat
Early in the day, before chairs, rafts, coolers and kids tumble out of cars, park at the Craig Brook Fish Hatchery in East Orland. Then jump into the cool waters of Alamoosook Lake, swim out and claim your patch of the smooth rock ledge for sunbathing or fishing. To get there, take Route 1 south to Orland and turn onto the Hatchery Road.
Carved into the land by a retreating glacier thousands of years ago, Long Pond is Mount Desert Island’s largest lake. The 4-mile-long lake is more than 110 feet deep and stretches from the town of Mount Desert in the north to Southwest Harbor in the south.
Long Pond boasts a public beach and dock at the northern end, skirting Route 102 (Pretty Marsh Road) in the town of Mount Desert, called locally Pond’s End. No swimming is allowed at the southern end.
Smell the lilies
The Lily Pond is a landmark in Deer Isle. It’s where island children can comfortably learn to swim without having to brave often bitter-cold ocean temps. Its public beach also is a gathering places for families to swim, picnic and sun bathe.
In 2010, Island Heritage Trust acquired the scenic, much painted and photographed Lily Pond Beach property to preserve public access to it for generations. Beach access is via the Deer Run parking area off Deer Run Apartments Road. For more info, visit www.islandheritagetrust.org.
Take a plunge
For relief from the heat, Sedgwick and Brooksville folks head to Walker Pond for a quick dip. The Walker Pond Landing features a dock and a swim float. The landing is co-owned by the two towns. Access is from Route 15 on Caterpiller Hill in Sedgwick.