The Heartbeat of Haverhill

Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA

A Dozen Ways for Families to Beat the Heat in Haverhill

Plug Pond Swim on Opening Day

Plug Pond Swim on Opening Day

On those languid summer days when the fans can’t cut through the humidity, Haverhill provides a dozen options for keeping your cool that are far more entertaining than hanging out in the frozen food section of Market Basket, and far more local than hopping a Haverhill Amtrak Downeaster or MVRTA bus ride to an out-of-state seashore. Prices range from free to costly, but the range is vast enough that everyone can get a chill in Haverhill.

1.  Make a Splash – SWIMMING

There are plenty of places to swim in Haverhill so no one should be relegated to the bathtub!

  • Plug Pond/LakeSaltonstall  Sanders Road, Haverhill 978.374.2389
    • Free for Haverhill walk-ins, $2 per car, but space fills up early so you need to be a Haverhill resident
  • Bradford Swim Club 328 S Porter St  Haverhill, MA 01835  978.373.1051
    • Find a member friend to bring you as a guest as membership is closed for this year
  • Cedardale  931 Boston Road, Bradford, MA 01835 978.373.1596
    • Pools for all sizes, in a variety of depths, and outdoor food and beverage pavilion
    • If you start feeling waterlogged head inside. It’s air conditioned and Cedardale offers the largest indoor-outdoor athletic club in New England
    • Summer Membership for entire family available through Sept 15
  • YMCA Haverhill 81 Winter Street, Haverhill, MA 01830 978.374.0506
    • Open year round
    • Learn to swim, prepare for team meets or exercise buoyed by the water
  • SPECIAL LIMITED DAYS – WATER CANNONS at  Swasey Field will be operating today (Aug 21) check w/ city hall only operates during heat wave. Click on link to separate blog post on water cannons
Plug Pond Swimmer

Plug Pond Swimmer

2.  Strike it Cool at a BOWLING ALLEY (an air conditioned treat)

  • Academy Lanes   725 South Main Street, Bradford, MA 01835  978.372.3102
  • Pilgrim Lanes   600 Primrose Street,, Haverhill, MA 01830  978.372.5802
Academy Lanes

Academy Lanes

3.  It’s Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas at The LIBRARY

No need to fan yourself with a magazine, the library is comfortably climate-controlled and will have you thinking of the winter holidays with a new promotion.

  • Haverhill Public Library 99 Main Street, Haverhill, MA 01830 978.373.1586
    • Join the summer reading club at the air conditioned library and cool off thinking about Christmas. The Summer Reading Program donates $1 to the Santa Fund for every book you read! Sign up for Summer Reading
Chill out at the Haverhill Public Library

Chill out at the Haverhill Public Library

4.  Tempt a Brain Freeze – ICY BEVERAGES

At Raffs Cafe on BYOWG (Water Gun) Day, don't ask for your ice coffee with a side of water

At Raffs Cafe on BYOWG (Water Gun) Day, don’t ask for your ice coffee with a side of water

5.  Catch a Breeze – Newly updated parks with SWINGS

  • There are dozens of parks throughout the city where you can catch a breeze with a little push from a friend
    • New swing sets were recently installed at Riverside Park and Plug Pond
Swans viewed from Kenoza Trail

Swans viewed from Kenoza Trail

6.  Made in the SHADE

  • Whether it’s a park bench by an ancient oak or a tree stump on a wooded trail, Haverhill residents have it made in the shade.
Pentucket Lake Shaded Bench

Pentucket Lake Shaded Bench

7.  Gone FISHING

  • With 8 ponds and lakes (many stocked) and a giant river running through it, Haverhill offers  places all over town to drop a line but beware; many spots warn that fishing is catch and release only – do not eat the fish. Check for signs.

Fishing in Haverhill

Fishing in Haverhill

8.  MOVIE Magic 

  • Chunkys  Movie Theatre 371 Lowell Avenue, Haverhill, MA 01832 978.374.2200
  • The air conditioned theater will keep you cool, but you’ll get an extra chill watching the new zombie movie World War Z. And, once a month there are free classic movies for seniors

9.  A BOAT Load of Fun

  • Two public boat launches and docks located downtown and at the Crescent Yacht Club provide Merrimack River access for power boats, kayaks, and canoes so you can get your cool on while rolling down the river. Boat launches dot many of our bodies of water.
  • UPDATE – The public docks behind the Tap restaurant OPENED TODAY JUN 28 in downtown Haverhill  It’s gonna be a great summer.

JUST WISHING…The Heartbeat of Haverhill would love to see a private company offer canoe or kayak rentals and Merrimack River sightseeing cruises or fishing excursions, maybe with a stop  downtown for dinner or lunch or beverage. We, like many others, have never seen the city from the vantage point of the river, and I think we’re a bit deprived by that.

Boating in Pentucket Haverhill

Boating in Pentucket Haverhill


  • Skateland 19 Railroad Avenue, PO Box 5270, Bradford, MA 01835  978.372.3050
    • Wind will blow the hair from your face as you wheel around the rink in air conditioned comfort, or go subversive and weave your way through the Laser Maze.
    • The schedule is on the confusing side, so call ahead to pick your time to glide – with kids, adults only, lessons.

11.  The Thrill of the Chill – ICE CREAM

  • Carters Ice Cream  534 Salem St  Haverhill, MA 01835 (978) 469-8343
    • For a completely Haverhill ice cream experience we suggest Carters. To the best of our knowledge Carters is the only ice cream shop in Haverhill that makes its own ice cream. For an adult flavor try ginger.
    • But there are dozens of ice cream vendors around the city; try them all whether it’s a convenience store freezer case or a cute little shop. FYI most shops sell the very delicious Richardsons made in nearby Middleton, MA. And Haverhill’s own  ice cream novelty vendor Sonny Boy makes those old time ice cream truck favorites available almost anywhere: Strawberry shortcake, Chocolate éclair, Frozen SpongeBob, or gumball combo called the Cannonball or Screwball depending on your generation. Did you know you can hire an ice cream truck with all its goodies for your summer party?
Carters Ice Cream with Jimmies, homemade in Haverhill

Carters Ice Cream with Jimmies, homemade in Haverhill

12.  Wet and Wild SPRAY PARK – OPENED IN MAY 2014

  • Spray ParkSwaseyPlayfield/Passaqua Playground   59 Blaisdell Street, Haverhill, MA
    • It’s under the last phase of construction and COMING SOON (By Labor Day or it may wait til next spring as the grass is being uncooperatively slow to cure))
    • Colorful structures and a giant daisy will spritz wilted kids.
Swasey Spray Park Opening Soon

Swasey Spray Park Opened May 2014


 If sweating to the oldies is your idea of a hot mess, and you can’t find your chill in Haverhill. Wait a minute, this is New England after all, and in no time we’ll be looking for ways to keep warm.

©2013 by Alison Campbell-Colby

FIND YOUR CHILL RESOURCES:—Schedules/All-Routes-Listed/Salisbury-Beach-Hampton-Beach.aspx

10 comments on “A Dozen Ways for Families to Beat the Heat in Haverhill

  1. Dan Cody
    June 26, 2013

    Great post! Can’t wait for the new public docks to be put in behind downtown Haverhill in a couple of weeks. Take a boat ride to the Tap and sit on the deck with a cold local brew in hand seems like a great way to beat the heat in Haverhill!

  2. Lynne Favreau
    June 26, 2013

    Terrific post. That splash park looks amazing. Saw the swans just this afternoon!

  3. To clarify there is a boat launch next to Crescent Yacht club but no public docks there.

  4. And another way to break the heat in Haverhill…write a blog post about it and the warm weather disappears. Oh well, many of these are fun without the heat, too. New England does have the highest ice cream consumption year round….

  5. Marsha L. Nalezinski
    June 27, 2013

    Beautiful memories!!

  6. Terry Morose
    June 28, 2013

    Great webpage. Haverhill has lots to offer and you make it fun and easy to check it out!

    • Thanks Terry….it really makes me appreciate my new-ish home more every day I go out and find out what’s good. So drop a line when you spot something that needs reporting on. I can always use the back up.

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Alison Colby-Campbell



Full-brain user demonstrating a healthy(?) obsession with marketing, promotion, writing, photography, house rabbits, the natural world, tennis, big and small problem solving, reading, hiking, HGTV and the flotsam & jetsam of everyday life. My three blogs Brain4Rent, The Heartbeat of Haverhill, Alison Colby-Campbell Photography are Wordpress based.

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