Lake McDonough

Located less than 30 miles from Hartford, Lake McDonough is one of Connecticut's gems.  Lake McDonough is a scenic, unspoiled public recreation area that offers numerous ways to enjoy the beauty of New England - every season of the year. With wheelchair accessibility to beaches, bathhouses, the boathouse and picnic areas - Lake McDonough is truly for everyone.

New for 2019 -  the weekday schedule has been changed  for swimming at Lake McDonough.  Swimming at Lake McDonough is now only allowed Thursday through Sundays. See hours below.
MDC Boat rentals will now begin until 10AM on weekends.  Recreational users may still launch their own boats at 8AM.


Swimming is allowed onThursdays through Sundays at East Beach. See below hours. (West Beach and Goose Green Beach are  currently closed to the public.)

New Regular Hours for 2019
Monday through Wednesday (CLOSED)
Thursday through Sunday (10AM-8PM)

New Special Holiday Hours for 2019
Memorial Day, Monday, May 27 (10AM-8PM)
July 4th, Thursday (8AM-8PM)


Public safety is a high priority at Lake McDonough. Lifeguards are Red Cross certified, first aid is available, and the area is patrolled by uniformed MDC police.

To have a safe and enjoyable time, please abide by the following Beach Rules and Regulations:

  • No alcoholic beverages are permitted.
  • Swimming is only permitted in areas with lifeguards.
  • Swimming from boats is prohibited.
  • If you do not know how to swim, do not go out in the water past your waist.
  • No swimming outside the roped in area.
  • No masks, flippers, snorkels etc. may be used.
  • MDC is not responsible for any objects that go past the roped in area.
  • Children under 12 years of age must be supervised at all times.
  • Only Coast Guard approved flotation devices are allowed.
  • Swimmers must stay off buoys and lines.
  • Fishing is not permitted in swimming area.
  • Sand or rock throwing, along with any other discourteous behavior, is not allowed.
  • No commercial vehicles, U-Hauls, box trucks or campers are allowed.


Fishing by boat and from the shore is allowed from the second Saturday in April through Labor Day. Fishing from shore is also permitted through November 30. Shore fishing is allowed from sunrise to 9:00PM.

Each spring the MDC and Connecticut DEEP stock Lake McDonough with brown trout, rainbow trout and brook trout. A wheelchair accessible fishing pier is located at the south end of Lake McDonough on Route 219, approximately two miles from the intersection of Route 44 in New Hartford Center.


MDC rowboats are available for rent at the Lake McDonough Boathouse.

Private boat, canoe and kayak launching is also allowed for a fee. Motor boat speed is limited to 10 miles per hour.

Boat Launch Hours:
Weekdays: 10:00AM - Sunset
Weekends: 8:00AM - Sunset (private boats)
Weekends: 10:00AM - Sunset (MDC rental boats)


  • A driver’s license or state issued government identification is necessary for boat rentals.
  • Use of personal motor on rental boats is not permitted.
  • Everyone must have a life jacket. Children under 13 are required to wear them at all times while in boats.
  • Inflatable rowboats are not permitted unless they are Coast Guard approved with oarlocks.
  • No swimming off boats.
  • No docking of private boats on rental dock.
  • Boats must be out of the water by 7:30PM regardless of whether a private or rental.
  • No jet skis, sail boarding or stand up paddle boarding is allowed.
  • No fishing off the docks.


Picnic sites, with wheelchair accessible tables and a limited number of on-site grills are open from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Picnic tables and grills are available on a first come first served basis.

Dogs must be on a leash at all times; dogs are allowed in rowboats and in picnic areas, but not allowed on the beaches. Please clean up after your dog.

For beach and boathouse information call 860 379-3036 (in season) or 860 278-7850 ext. 3110. For large groups, please call 860 278-7850 ext. 3211.

The Lake McDonough recreation area is located on the west side of Route 219 in Barkhamsted, Connecticut, just over three miles northeast of the Route 44 intersection in New Hartford Center.


$6 a day per automobile (in state)
$15 a day per automobile (out of state)
$20 a day per van/bus with 8 to 45 passengers
$30 a day per van/bus with 45 or more passengers
Please be advised that if the number of passengers in any vehicle exceeds the maximum seat belt capacity, the vehicle may be denied access to the facility.  If admitted, the vehicle will be charged the “van/bus” fee of $20 per day.  

Parking Season Pass
$60 (weekdays only, for parking only – does not include boat launch)

Golden Eagle Parking Pass
Free for seniors 62 or older. (For parking only – does not include boat launch)

Personal Boat Launch Fee
$6 for power boats
$5 for non-power boats

Boat Rentals
$5 per hour for rowboats

Note: tickets good for one entry only. If you leave you must pay again to return.