The ‘beach’ side of Lake Wood is a great place to take a dip any time of day, even as the sun is about to go down (it closes at dusk so just be quick!)


The ocean is Maine is a little cold for some of us… this post is for those of you who, like me, enjoy a non-ocean swimming option! Since large bodies of freshwater water on MDI, like Eagle Lake and Jordan Pond, are public water supplies that you can’t swim in. Here are the best spots we know of for you to swim on Mount Desert Island:

Echo Lake

There are a few spots to swim from on Echo Lake. The main one is from the official beach but there are two less official spots: one from the boat launch (a little bit rocky but a great place to start if some in the party are paddleboarding or kayaking) and the other is by the ‘cliffs’ which is a parking area along Route 102 that you hike down to. (Note: it is rocky but there are no real cliffs in terms of places to jump off). Echo Lake is where our local triathletes train a lot so if you see some buoys attached to swimmers who seem to be swimming the entire lake, that’s about right. You might also see some paddleboarding, fishing, and all kinds of other freshwater activities. The loons you share the water with are giant but they keep a wide berth.

Lake Wood

My personal favorite spot, there are two access points from Lake Wood Drive. One is right off the main parking area (drive until you see what actually is a dirt parking lot then walk down through the gate. This has a sandy beach and a gradual sloping depth make it perfect for swimming with kids.

The other access point is a bit less obvious. You might have noticed a group of cars seemingly in the middle of a field. If you park at the crest of the hill (field area) of Lake Wood Drive, you’ll notice a small sign heading into the woods with a small path. It’s about a ten minute hike in (wear shoes that are ok for scrambling) so the hiking, combined with the rocky cliffs people jump off, makes this part of Lake Wood a spot for an older crowd. Note: this is national park land so no open containers or federally banned substances. We’ve seen rangers in the woods surprising some unsuspecting rule breakers!

Somes Pond

There is the world’s smallest beach (off Oak Hill Road- across the street from where you can rent kayaks) where you can start your swim. This also serves as a boat landing and you’ll see people fishing, kayaking, and doing all kinds of water recreation. The sandy area gradually gets deeper so it’s ok for kids but seriously, this swimming spot is best if you are just going to get right in the water versus hanging out partway in it. Most people swim out to the large rock a little offshore, which is a great place to sunbathe. Note: this pond is completely surrounded by private land so it’s not technically part of Acadia National Park.

Sargent Mountain Pond

This is a swim you have to earn! On the top of Sargent’s Mountain, it is spring fed and has lots of big flat rocks to swim from. There are several areas you can get into the pond, including one right off the main trail.

Glen Mary Pool

This is a public pool that is 2.5 feet deep. Clearly for kids mainly, it’s located at 11 Waldron Road in downtown Bar Harbor. There is no lifeguard on duty but it is open to the public, usually after school lets out. More information on their Facebook page:

Note: You can swim in Long Pond as well but I’m not including it because 1) access is a little odd, 2) it’s super deep which means it is cold compared to everything else, and 3) because motor boats are allowed on it, the last time I swam there I almost got run over by a boat. In other words, it’s not mainly a swimming pond though you can swim there!

Additional info: If you want a really great book with detailed directions and other information about fresh water recreation on Mount Desert Island, ‘The College of the Atlantic Guide To Lakes And Ponds Of Mt. Desert‘ is a fantastic resource.

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