The sunny days are here and with them come evenings spent eating dinner outside and weekends fishing and swimming at Maine’s many ponds and lakes.

Last year was our first summer in Maine, and we quickly realized that soaking up every warm day was easy considering you can throw a rock from almost anywhere and hit a body of water. Not all swimming holes, however, are created equal. I prefer easy access, sandy bottoms, clear water and if it’s surrounded by mountains, all the better. I polled friends and lifetime Mainers, and compiled a list of their top recommendations.

Please note, most of these areas are free or cost a few dollars per person, and only a handful are staffed with lifeguards.

— Craig Pond, Orland: This is part of the fish hatchery, but the swim area has a beach and bathroom.

— Swan Lake State Park, Swanville

— Jenkins Beach on Green Lake, Dedham: This is a privately owned beach and costs between $2-$4 per person, but offers boats and a snack bar.

— Dean’s Landing at Chemo Pond, Eddington: This is a privately-owned beach and costs between $2-$4 per person.

— Branch Lake, Ellsworth

— St. George Lake, Liberty

— Mattanawcook Pond, Lincoln

— Echo Lake, located on the western side of Mount Desert Island just south of Somesville

Megunticook Lake, Camden.

— “Jacuzzi Falls” on the Fish River, Fort Kent

— Center Pond, Phippsburg

— Lower Range Pond, Poland

— Donnell Pond, Franklin: The lake is an easy half mile walk through the woods on a well-maintained trail.

— Blunts Pond, Lamoine

— Nickerson Lake, New Limerick

— East Grand Lake, Weston

— Smalls Falls, West Central Franklin: This is a 54 foot waterfall on the Sandy River broken up by a series of pools calm enough to swim in. Access if off a rest area on Route 4 that includes parking, toilets and picnic tables.

— Togue Pond, Baxter State Park

— Ledge Falls, Baxter State Park: This is a series of natural waterslides located on the west side of Baxter State Park Road about seven miles west of Katahdin Stream Campground.

— Sewall Pond, Arrowsic

Have a favorite swimming spot to add? Email Natalie at and follow her adventures as a new mom exploring Maine at

Natalie Feulner

Natalie Feulner is a journalist and “semi-crunchy” cloth diapering momma to a rambunctious toddler named after a county in California. She drinks too much tea and loves to climb rocks but not at the...