Watson Park

Gordon Rd, Braintree, MA 02184, USA

Town of Braintree: 781-794-8000

Owned By: Town of Braintree

Watson Park is a 22-acre park on the Monatiquot River in Braintree. It features athletic fields, a playground, and a seasonal splash pad, as well as access to the (1-mile) Monqtiquot River Walk and Smith Beach.


Access the 1-mile Monatiquot River Walk here. It extends in two directions from Watson Park: downstream along Lee’s Way and the Francis Toland Memorial Trail to Smith Beach, and upstream/across the river to the Weymouth Landing Access Ramp. Most of it is crushed stone. The middle section is pavement.

The Petersen Splash Pad is located at this park. In the summer, it is open daily from 10:00am – 7:00pmProof of Braintree residency is required. Children under 10 years of age must be accompanied by an adult (18 years or older), and must be supervised by that adult at all times. Only clean swim apparel may be worn at the splash pad. Children who are not toilet trained must wear tight-fitting plastic pants over a swim diaper. No animals, except for service animals, are permitted in the splash pad area. Use of the splash pad facility is prohibited when thunder is heard or lightning is seen, including a 30-minute period after the last lightning or thunder is detected. A full listing of rules and regulations is available at this link.

This land is within the region of the Massachusett (or Massachuseuk). To learn more about local Native American tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Massachusett tribe at Ponkapoag shares information on its website. 

The park is named for Thomas A. Watson, who owned the Fore River Ship & Engine Company. He also helped the Town of Braintree transform the Braintree Electric Light Department from an idea into a reality (1891).

Trail Description

Park in the 30-car lot at Watson Park and turn toward the water. To the left, you can walk about a half mile along the Monatiquot River to Smith Beach. The section of the River Walk known as Lee’s Way winds through Watson Park. The next section, known as the Francis Toland Memorial Trail, connects to Smith Beach. Dogs and bicycles are not permitted on the Francis Toland Memorial Trail, nor at Smith Beach.

An alternative is to turn to the right. You can walk a short distance along the river to the edge of the property, which borders the Braintree Yacht Club. Then follow the trail uphill to Gordon Road and continue along the sidewalk to Quincy Ave. Turn left and follow the sidewalk across the bridge. Just behind the bus shelter at the MBTA parking lot, look for the concrete/paved trail that winds downhill, past the East Braintree/Weymouth Landing train station. It continues along Smelt Brook and the Fore River for about 0.2 miles, with benches and additional river views, to the Weymouth Landing Access Ramp.

Habitats and Wildlife

Watson Park is an open, grassy athletic complex with some shade trees around its perimeter. The path toward Smith Beach extends through a more natural area, with oaks and sumac and views of the salt marsh. Please do not feed the waterfowl!

The Monatiquot River rises in Braintree, at the confluence of the Farm and Cochato Rivers, within the Braintree Municipal Golf Course. It flows northeast for 4.9 miles before merging with Smelt Brook to form the Fore River.

The Fore River serves as the boundary line between the towns of Weymouth and Braintree. It flows for about 3 miles, into Quincy, where it meets Town River, and then flows for another 2 miles into Hingham Bay. In its final few miles, the Fore River is nearly a mile wide in some places.

Follow the Fore River Watershed Association more information about the Monatiquot and Fore Rivers.

  • A trail through a grassy park beside a river.
  • A trail beside a river with boats on the water.
  • A wide trail beside a river through a grassy park, with a bench and some trees.
  • A photograph of a colorful splash pad.
  • A photograph of a playground within a grassy park.
  • A photograph of a wide trail through a green vegetated area.
  • A photograph of a playground in a grassy park plus a bench.
  • A photograph of a river with a rocky area in the foreground.
  • A photograph of a wide tree-lined trail beside a river.
  • A photograph of a trail beside a river with a layer of snow.
Gordon Rd, Braintree, MA 02184, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: Yes

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Size: 22 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: On-site parking for 30 cars. Additional parking on Gordon Road.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy


Benches, trash receptacles, seasonal concession stand and restrooms, plus baseball fields, tennis courts, a basketball court, a playground and a seasonal splash pad.

Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Dogs are not permitted on Splash Pad.

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: Yes

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: Monatiquot River, Fore River