Like a pot of geraniums that haven’t been watered in days, many Mainers — people more accustomed to a generally more moderate climate — are wilting in today’s projected 90 degree-plus heat. As the state roasts in temperatures expected to soar well above 85 and into the 90s (even hitting 100 in a few places), most people are looking for an escape.
There’s really only one way to beat the heat, however, aside from finding someplace air conditioned: swimming. And if you don’t have a private swimming pool or camp to flee to, well, you’d better find someplace to take a dip, pronto.
Here are some of the best swimming spots within about 25 miles of Bangor, where you can swim for free, or for very cheap. Remember to stay hydrated, slap on some sunscreen, and don’t get too crabby with each other if the heat starts to get to you.
The city operates two public swimming pools: Dakin Pool, located at 336 Pine St., and the Beth Pancoe Municipal Aquatic Center, located at Hayford Park on 13th Street. Both charge nominal fees per person to swim; visit the Bangor Parks & Rec site for more info.
Brewer’s municipal pool, located at 318 Wilson St., is open from 1 to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and charges a nominal fee for entrance.
For a family-friendly lakefront resort, you can’t beat Jenkins Beach on Green Lake in Dedham. Not only is the swimming there easy and fun, but there’s a snack bar, beach games and boat rentals. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for kids. It’s located at 1 Jenkins Drive.
The Lura Hoit Municipal Pool is indoors, meaning it’s a great escape year-round. There are family swim hours Monday through Saturday from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and again from 5:30 to 6:30. Admission is $5 for Hampden residents and $6 for non-residents, and it’s located at 146 Western Ave.
Hermon Lake has a public access area known as Jackson Beach, where there’s a boat launch and a swimming area that is quite shallow, making it a great spot to swim with very small children. It’s located on Jackson Beach Road in Hermon.
If you don’t mind a short, easy, scenic hike to get to it, Fields Pond Audubon Center at 216 Fields Pond Road in Holden has a really nice swimming spot. It’s a touch mucky, but once you’re out past the shallows it’s lovely. You can park by the visitor’s center and walk in.
Perch Pond, also known as Mud Pond, perhaps doesn’t have the most appealing name, but it’s a hidden gem for swimming in the Bangor area. Drive out Poplar Street in Old Town until you see Sewell Park. If you’re freaked out by a little muck, it might not be for you — or just bring swimming shoes.
Swimming in a river isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for many, but the Stillwater River in Orono is actually a great place to take a dip. Brownie’s Park, located along the Stillwater Trail, is easily accessible from an adjacent parking area at 92 Bennoch Road. True to its name, the current is not very strong. Orono also has a municipal pool, located on Goodridge Drive; call Orono Parks & Rec at 207-889-6914 for more info.