One of my family’s favorite places to beat the heat in the summer is Bradley Palmer State Park. The park offers you over 721 acres of trails, meadows, wild life and a water park. Yes, you read that right. A little known secret about this beautiful state park located in Topsfield, MA is that there is an incredible and easily accessible water park/wading pool area.
The wading pool area is located by jumping onto Rt 1 and following the signs to Ipswich Rd and then a right on Asbury St. As long as you can find Rt.1 then it’s not too much further off the beaten path. Once inside the park you can follow the road and you will see the pool on your right. The only cost is a $5 per car parking fee. Want to pay 0, nada, nothing? It is possible if you strap on those walking shoes and park at the entrance and walk-into the area (about a mile each way) or you can grab a MA State Park library pass.
A challenge for young kids at the park is the mushroom or waterfall, whatever you want to call it, it is both exciting and terrifying for a youngster. Will you have what it takes to stand under the cold water and take the plunge? If you are age 3-5 this debate and daring of your friends can provide a whole day of play.
The water area is gated and also has life guards on duty! A super safe place to let your kids play in the water; it reaches 2 feet at it’s deepest point. Another great thing about the water area is there are bathrooms, real bathrooms with sinks and changing tables. An ice-cream truck makes visits during the day, but I have always brought snacks, sandwiches and drinks to sustain us for the day. There is no snack bar. You will also need to bring blankets or lawn chairs because there are some nice grassy areas and some shade, but no picnic tables in the gated water area.
If your kids want a change from the water they can walk over to the playground which is right next to the water area. If you strategically place yourself in the right location you can watch them in both areas and never leave the comfort of your chair.
We have had a great time at Bradley Palmer State Park this summer and plan to go many more times in the future. There is still time to soak up some more of summer, so head out there and take the plunge….if you dare.