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Lake Cotituate is made up of an upper, middle and lower lake and is connected by a series of bridges and tunnels. There are miles of shoreline to kayak and the water is clear but not suitable for swimming (though some residents do swim). The lakes are surrounded by homes and a state park with a nice, sandy beach so you can bring along a picnic or even BBQ.
Charles River Canoe & Kayak rents boats at the State Park entrance so you'll be in good company no matter where you go. New paddlers should be advised that power boats are allowed on the lake and can occasionally kick up some small waves but it's really only busy on the weekends.
There's enough to do and see to spend an entire day at Lake Cotituate and there are a number of sandy spots to put in - whether you chose to park at the State Park or not.
From Rt. 9, take the exit for the Mass Pike and follow signs to the Pike until you reach the lights at the intersection of Rt. 30 and Speen Street (Naked Fish restaurant is on the corner). At Rt. 30, make a right. The state park is up on the right.