Living along the south coast of New England, we are blessed with the best of both worlds when it comes to where we like to go swimming. While many people prefer their backyard pool to ponds, lakes, or the ocean, most of us don’t have a pool, so we have to rough it.
Having traveled extensively across the country, I realize how lucky we are to have the Atlantic Ocean on our doorstep – but not everyone likes seawater.
The ocean, especially along the northern Atlantic coast, is dark and cold most of the year. It’s spooky too, with all those creatures lurking not far below the surface. The Gulf Coast is nice and warm, and that’s for sure, but there’s always the problem of scary things like sharks to worry about. Red tide can also be a problem.
Horseneck Beach in Westport and Round Hill in Dartmouth offer majestic views and spectacular crashing waves, not to mention the eerie cries of seagulls chasing your half-finished bologna sandwich. However, ponds and lakes are calmer and colder.
I love ponds and lakes. I would take Long Pond in Lakeville or the old Mary’s Pond in Rochester over the ocean any day. Ponds and lakes certainly have their own issues, but at least they’re warming faster than the ocean, and there’s a lot less scary stuff to worry about.
My mother used to tell me that swimming in salt water is good for your health. She says the salt water heals and cleanses your body. Maybe.
Something about a pond or lake on a hot summer day brings me back to my youthful days filled with endless swims and general walks with the gang.
I’m going to go swimming in fresh water, how about you?
LOOK: Here are the best lakeside towns to live in
Many of the towns included jump out at the casual observer as popular summer rental spots – Branson of the Ozarks, Missouri or Lake Havasu in Arizona – it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality of life offerings at beyond the beach and vacation homes. You’ll likely learn from a wide range of Americana: one of the last 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that began as a retirement area for Civil War veterans; an island teeming with some of the nation’s best public schools and revenue streams smack dab in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing more than the prison blues of Johnny Cash.
WATCH: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America
Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.