Sitting on the dock of the bay

So I’m just gon’ sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay, wastin’ time
Otis Redding

(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay is one of my favorite songs by Otis Redding. While listening, I can always picture myself sitting on a dock, relaxing, and watching the tide roll away.

When the summer temperatures rise to record-setting numbers, I’d like to chill by the water if I’m not relaxing in the AC.

As a former middle school science teacher, I have to give you some scientific facts about why it is cooler by large bodies of water during the day in the summer. From Britannica, “sea breeze, a local wind system characterized by a flow from sea to land during the day. Sea breezes alternate with land breezes along the coastal regions of oceans or large lakes in the absence of a strong large-scale wind system during periods of strong daytime heating or nighttime cooling. Those who live within 30 to 40 km (about 19 to 25 miles) of the coastline often experience the cooler 10- to 20-km- (about 6- to 12-mile-) per-hour winds of the sea breeze on a sunny afternoon only to find it turn into a sultry land breeze late at night. Since the surface flow of the sea breeze terminates over land, a region of low-level air convergence is produced. Locally, such convergence often induces the upward movement of air, fostering the development of clouds. Such clouds may produce showers that occur over land in the afternoon.

I know the science behind why the air temperature is cooler near the water, but I also feel more relaxed when I’m near water, even if it’s not a huge temperature difference. So I like to be near the water during the summer if possible.

There are many options when picking your spot near the water, including local pools, beaches, lakes, ponds, and rivers.


Activities include: swimming and chilling

A neighborhood pool is a great quick fix to a hot summer day, but you might have to deal with large crowds and screaming kids.

Mirabella Pool Creator: 

If you have a backyard with space, you can have your own little pool to cool off in.

$56.99 on Amazon

Lakes and Ponds:

Activities on and around lakes and ponds include chilling, hiking, camping, fishing, picnicking, boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

I did a quick google search of lakes and ponds near me; here are some of my results.

Fresh water beaches in MA parks & mountains are clean and beautiful, including Ashland State Park.

The park offers fresh water swimming, picnicking, boating, fishing, bicycling, and hiking.

Read about local lakes and rivers, The 15 Best Lakes, Rivers, and Other Watering Holes in New England, including Walden Pond, where you can hike, chill on the beach, or swim.

Courtesy Photo

6 places to go lake swimming in Massachusetts


Activities in and around rivers include biking, hiking, walking, chilling, rafting, boating, camping, and fishing.

A natural thrill ride: whitewater rafting along the Kennebec with the tour company Three Rivers. / Courtesy Photo

If you live in or around Boston, there are lots of activities on the Charles River Esplanade:

Walk, bike, or run on the paths near the Charles or rent a paddleboard or kayak.

Try boating at Community Boating,

Community Boating’s award-winning Adult Program offers public access to watersport for everyone from novice sailors to national champions. Our affordable memberships include world-class instruction, sailing, windsurfing, paddling, and more in the heart of the city. There is no better way to experience Boston.

Paddleboard and kayak rentals:


If you don’t want to deal with flying this summer to a beach destination and are living in a state near a coastline, you can easily take a road trip to a local beach.

From Boston Magazine, The ultimate guide to Massachusetts beaches

Humarock Beach in Scituate. Decaseconds / flickr

15+ Best Beaches in Massachusetts

Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester, MA (source)

Plan a Road Trip:

Day trips to the water are fun and refreshing, but you can also plan a more extended stay at a resort.

Resort options in New York, Michigan, California, Vermont, Texas, and Minnesota: From Fatherly, 7 Great Lakeside Resorts For Last-Minute Summer Adventures

In Texas, The ‘Lost Pines’ of Bastrop County create the perfect family getaway in Texas

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