Mount Blue State Park in Weld is a refreshingly scenic place for a dip, with plenty of amenities to make this a full-day trip for a family. Photo courtesy of Shannon Bryan

Whether you choose the family-friendly swim beach at Webb Lake or a 3-hour trail up Tumbledown Mountain Trail to Tumbledown Pond, Mount Blue State Park is a refreshingly scenic place for a dip.

“The beautiful thing about Tumbledown is that it has the pond at the top — all those mountain views and you can swim and cool off,” said Jenna Stepp of Saco. “It’s so Maine.”

From the top of Tumbledown, hikers can see a ring of mountains encircling Webb Lake to the south.

The state park includes the west shore of Webb Lake as well as a much larger chunk of land east of the lake, including Mount Blue and other peaks. Tumbledown Public Land, northwest of Webb Lake, is managed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservancy and Forestry. For visitors, there’s little difference — together these offer nearly 7,500 acres of rural recreation land in and around Weld in Franklin County in mountainous western Maine.

“It takes a while to get there, and I think that’s why people will choose other parks first,” said Julie Bartlett, who grew up in Weld and lives in New Sharon. “Weld is a remote place, but beautiful. One of the things that’s super special about Webb Lake is that you’re looking at Bass Rock, and it’s fun to swim to it or rent kayaks and canoes to paddle out to it. It’s low to the water at one side, so you can pull your boat up, and, with some fortitude, get up there.”

From Bass Rock, the views beyond Webb Lake include Tumbledown and Jackson Mountains as well as Mount Blue.

But even the view of Mount Blue from Webb Beach and Campground is nothing to shake a stick at. It’s a sandy man-made beach with a flat lawn, small retaining wall and some conveniences, including a lifeguard, playground, bathhouse with flush toilets and changing rooms and a docking area for motorized and non-motorized boats. A big shaded wooden lean-to with a picnic table and fireplace provides shelter should rain suddenly break out.

“You can sit on this little wall with your toes in the sand and keep an eye on the kids on the beach,” Bartlett said. “And there’s this big grass area that’s open where you can play Frisbee and wiffleball.”

In the state park’s Center Hill Area, there’s a Nature Center with hands-on exhibits, a picnic area and an easy 0.5-mile Center Hill Nature Trail loop. A stop here and a stop at Webb Beach would make for a complete day outing with kids.

Mount Blue State Park is open 9 a.m. to sunset, unless otherwise posted at the gate. A fee is collected at the gate: $1 for children ages 5-11, $2 for adults 65 and over and otherwise $5 for adults who live in Maine and $7 for adults who don’t.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough.

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