Where to Go Swimming

Parent Q&A

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  • Swimming in cooler months

    (4 replies)

    Looking for a place to continue to swim outside in colder months for our “learning to swim” child who would really like to have access to outdoor jacuzzi. Claremont’s initial fee is too much for us. Highlands is not accepting new members. Oakland Hills has concerning reviews. Hills is highly inconveniently located and I think the jacuzzi is for adults only? And also expensive and hard to get in. Sequoia doesn’t seem to have a jacuzzi. By process of elimination, Harbor Bay is the only one that meets the criteria of “not too far from home near Temescal, heated outdoor pool, outdoor jacuzzi, and not astronomical in price”. I am not aware of any other pool that is heated to about 80 degrees, open in cooler months, and have an outdoor jacuzzi. One pool that I have never been to but curious about is Mills college pool. Our pool usage would be on the weekends late morning or early afternoon. Hoping to continue swimming in October and November. Am I missing any other available options nearby? Thank you!

    Check out Montclair swim club! It’s not as far or as expensive as the other options. The hot tub is technically adults only, but many times there are kids in it too. The water isn’t as warm in the winter months, but our kids still have fun when we go in the winter.

    We have been going to Ohana Aquatics off Redwood road. They are open through winter and have a "bubble" that goes over the pool to help keep it warm. The pool is also heated very warm. No Jacuzzi but the pool is really warm. Friendly teachers. Low key vibe. Only suitable for lessons/classes though, no recreational swim. Need 30 day warning to cancel lessons once you begin. Good luck! 

    Public Pools!!!  

    The Temescal Pool by Oakland Tech and the Lions Pool in the Dimond district are inexpensive public pools, and they are both warmer than other outdoor pools.  There's also the Richmond Plunge, Richmond Swim Center, Albany Aquatic Center, Emeryville Public Pool, Hayward Plunge, and others farther away.

    The Mills College pool is lovely, but they have limited hours, and I don't think they have recreational swim during the school year, just lap swim.  The hot tub is outside, but only allows people 18 years or older.

    My kids learned to swim (summer) at Mills and loved it there. I'm on the mail list and it is open for lap swim but I don't think they've reopened for rec swim yet - the Northeastern transition is still looming large. Also, I don't know if they have a jacuzzi. But the woman who is running it seems very nice, you might want to reach out to her with questions - it seems closer to where you are and it's a lovely pool. Good luck!

  • Hello,

    For the past 5-6 years, when we wanted to swim in the middle of the day during the summer, we went to Roberts Park Pool in the Oakland hills. It's beautiful, cheap, and diverse. Unfortunately, Roberts is going to be closed this summer. I have no idea where we are going to swim in the middle of a hot day this coming summer. We live in Oakland. We don't want to join an expensive swim club or trek out to Lake Don Pedro or Cull Canyon all the time. Aside from Oakland City pools, which usually only have two-hour windows for recreation swim, is there any other option in Oakland for outdoor swimming in a pool that doesn't require a membership? (a cheap, cheap membership might work). Thank you for your help!

    Following! We’re in the same boat. Roberts has been our every-Sunday outing in the summer for me and my now13-y-o. No idea where to go now. 

    I'm an Oakland resident with an adult child, but I've been to LOTS of pools for lap swimming outside of Oakland during the pandemic. Although it's a drag (and increasingly costly) to go outside Oakland, there are some pools in Contra Costa County that are worth exploring. The City of San Ramon has a couple of wonderful aquatic facilities that include dedicated children's pools and water play areas with slides and other cool things (like a giant bucket of water that fills up regularly and dumps out on everyone). I live by the Rockridge Library, and it takes me 25-45 minutes to get there (and back), depending on traffic, of course. The weather is much better for swimming out there in the summer, and you could picnic and hang out for hours. Closer to home (although it sometimes can take longer to get there!) is the El Cerrito Pool, which also has a kids' pool and a water play area. Clarke Pool at Heather Farms Park in Walnut Creek also has a dedicated children's pool. These are all public pools.

    For the last two years since they closed the Piedmont Pool, we've just been going to the beach in Alameda on summer days. It is quite shallow for a long way out (a really, really long way out when it's low tide), so it feels safe even for young kids or beginning swimmers. Lake Anza in Tilden Park is also a favorite. We used to love Temescal Lake too, although for the past few seasons it's been closed a lot due to algae blooms. Not sure what will be happening there this summer.

    Looking forward to hearing others' responses!

    Check out Mills College pool.  Their hours have been a little weird with Covid but it's beautiful, outdoors and affordable. 

    I know you specifically asked about outdoor pools but if you are willing to try an indoor pool the East Oakland Sports Center has a zero-depth entry pool with water play features and a large slide for bigger kids. 

  • Adult. Lap Swimming

    (1 reply)

    Any recommendations on a pool for adult lap swim?

    thank you! 

    I recommend the Pinole public pool. Lanes are first-come and it has not been too crowded. https://www.ci.pinole.ca.us/city_government/swim_center. Most other public pools in the area have reservation systems, such as Richmond, El Cerrito, and Albany, and are fine for adult lap swimming as well. The capacities and reservation systems might change after June 15.

  • Indoor swimming pool for toddlers in SF

    (5 replies)

    Hello parents,

    I have a 3-year old kid and I want to take her to an indoor swimming pool in San Francisco, South SF or Daly City, ideally a warm pool... I notice some swimming pools have a height requirement even for beginner level?? The beaches around here are cold so that's why I try to find an indoor swimming pool that's tots friendly and hope she will enjoy it. If you have any suggestions/advices, etc please let me know. Thanks!

    Aquatech! There’s one in alameda

    Not sure, but please keep in mind that this site is focused on the East Bay. I've heard good things about the online site Golden gate Mother's group for SF discussion. Good luck!

    Pomeroy pool (near the SF Zoo) is super warm and most ideal for tots

    YMCA has opened their pools at locations around the SF and SSF. You have to join as a member.

    Also, SF Recs and Parks opened their pools but their water isn't super warm and times are harder to book. 

    Years ago when we lived in SF and my kids were little, I took them to the wonderful warm clean pool at Recreation Center for the Handicapped, out near the Zoo.  In those days they offered mother-baby swim classes and pre-K classes and lessons. I have no idea if they still do, but check it out. There is a broad very gradual ramp into the pool, with lots of shalow areas in the pool.  Even then (long before pandemic), hygiene was a top priority to ensure the safety of disabled swimmers.  It whad a lovely supportive ambiance, and we found added value in being able to spend time around people of varying abailities and challenges, who often loved seeing the little ones.

    We enjoyed taking our son here when he was a baby, not sure what their current policies are though so good luck and have fun!: https://sfrecpark.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/Martin-Luther-King-Jr-...

  • Kids' swimming time this year?

    (5 replies)

    Hello BPN, my 9 year old is desperate to swim, but all of the places we used to take him for lessons or open swim time are closed due to Covid.  Is there anywhere you can recommend for this spring or summer?  We'd be willing to drive anywhere in the greater Bay Area if we can make the timing work.

    Aquatech in Concord and Alameda are open for group lessons. We went there prior to pandemic and they are reasonable and clean.

    My kids love to swim, too! If you live in Berkeley or El Cerrito, you can sign up for family swim at the public pools. The shallow end is reserved for one family for 45 minutes. It's wonderful. But slots fill up within one minute of registration opening each week, so being a resident (and thus getting priority) is necessary. It's also necessary to be on your computer, signed into your account, and ready to click the ready the moment registration opens. I have a weekly alarm set on my phone.

    For swim lessons, Strawberry Canyon Pool just opened up registration for summer swim lessons, and Albany Pool is currently hiring swim instructors, so my guess is that they are planning for summer swim lessons as well.

    Hi! The El Cerrito Swim Center opens up a calendar to reservations at certain points in the month. Twice our family has gone for a 45-minute reservation and the pool is blocked off into zones so it felt very safe to me. 

    Try Ohana in the Oakland hills. My 5 year old loves it there. Nice outdoor pool.

    Aquatech in Alameda has open swim times and lessons. It's a really nice facility.

  • Swimming Pools in Covid Times?

    (13 replies)

    Hi all - 

    Does anyone know of any swimming pools (ideally outdoors, heated) that are open this winter for lap swimming or children's swimming lessons, despite covid? I am pregnant and can't do any form of exercise really other than swimming. I would be willing to pay $ to join a private club or gym if that's the only way to get access to a pool, since I assume pools are making people comply with covid-safe protocols like reserving lap lanes in advance and having low capacity. I have heard that the Bay Club in Walnut Creek has pools and is open, but are there any other places out there that have swimming going on right now that anyone can suggest? 

    Indoor pools have been closed in most of the Bay Area since March, and I wouldn't anticipate them opening anytime soon the way COVID is going. Hotels/motels "may" be the only exception. If you talk to a gym and they tell you their pool is open, they are most likely in violation of the health order. Sorry - I miss swimming too!

    Sorry, reading more, I thought you were asking about indoor pools. Outdoor pools currently can open with reservations for lap swim and there are some doing it, such as Albany USD and City of El Cerrito. I suspect the future shelter in place orders will close all pools though. I don't believe children's lessons are taking place as there are bans on youth sports (maybe?? the rules are changing so quickly)

    Hi, the El Cerrito Swim Center's outdoor lap pool is open for adult lap swim. Reservations are required (all online) and there are a host of health and safety procedures and rules in place. I've been going for months and its been amazing to have it. The only reservation system is a bit tricky to master but once you get it, its not bad.   Lakeridge Athletic Club in El Sobrante also has an amazing outdoor pool that you can become a member of. 

    This summer, my daughter was taking lessons at Lakeridge Athletic Club on San Pablo Dam Rd, Richmond.  It's a lovely, outdoor pool with a terrific view.  They have very few amenities due to Covid (showers are closed).  For lessons, you pay a very reasonable fee for 4 lessons.  They have memberships too and have dedicated days and times to sign up for the lanes.  Again, fees are reasonable and the initiation fee was something like $200.  They are small so you will likely have to call to get the latest info.

    The Hills Swim and Tennis Club currently allows outdoor lap swimming with a reservation system for 30 min. blocks. They are technically governed by Contra Costa County even though they have an Oakland address (I don't think Alameda County has any outdoor pools open but not positive). Since you have to buy a membership from an existing member and then pay the monthly membership fee, this is not the most realistic option unless you are willing to spare no cost to be able to swim! That said, we love being members there, and their swimming and other outdoor exercise options have been key to maintaining our sanity during the pandemic.

    Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito public pools are open for lap swim. Berkeley and El Cerrito also are open for family swim. But it is hard to get spots--likely impossible if you are not a resident of each respective city. We are Berkeley residents and have had good luck getting family swim spots, but you have to register literally the minute registration opens each week. I am not aware of any swim lessons, but we are teaching our younger child ourselves during family swim. Good luck!

    Aquatech in Alamda is open. we have been going there for swim lessons. I believe they have some open hours swim (albeit at inconvenient times, like during school hours or late on the weekends). but we love it for class and they have very strict protocols.  Good luck!

    Try Lakeridge Club in El Sobrante. They have a large outdoor heated pool and until the recent orders were doing adult swim and private lessons by reservation. It's a beautiful facility!

    Claremont Country Club pool is open.

    Both El Cerrito and Albany outdoor pools are open. If you live a resident, you get priority, but then a day later registration is open to anyone. They are remaining open during the new stay at home order. Also Clarke Memorial in Walnut Creek. I don't know what I'd do without swimming! It's very Covid safe.

    I know the Oakland's Dimond Park pool has been open; my son loves exploring Sausal Creek. I'm pretty sure you need a reservation, don't know if it's heated; beautiful setting though - such an amazing park!

    The shelter in place order has not closed outdoor pools. Harbor Bay Club in Alameda is still open for lap swim with reservations. They're pricey but their pool is at the estuary and is absolutely lovely. Aquatech swim school in Alameda and Concord looks to still be open for swim lessons.

    Ohana Aquatics is still doing children's swim lessons, but not recreational swimming. The pool is kept very warm. 

  • Summer swimming pool recs

    (1 reply)

    Hi.  Any Oakland /San Leandro summer pool membership options? One that doesn’t require an expensive buy in? Thanks! 

    Have you tried the city-run pools? San Leandro for example: https://www.sanleandro.org/depts/rec/pools/washington.asp, or Roberts Regional Park, https://www.ebparks.org/parks/roberts/default.htm#activities. I think the general public can use the Mills College pool too, https://www.millscyclones.com/facilities/pool_schedule

  • Uncrowded lap swimming pool?

    (3 replies)

    I am looking for a place I can swim laps and not have to circle. Most of the pools in the area seem to be busy, even during the "off hours" when lap swimming is offered. Can someone recommend a place I can swim semi-peacefully without having to circle? Thanks for any tips! (Don't worry ~ I won't tell anyone!)

    Two recommendations:

    * Berkeley's Golden Bear Pool (you do not have to be a RSF member/student, at least as of a few years ago - you could just show up and buy a daily pool pass)

    * Piedmont Community Pool. The cost to join for a non-resident adult is $850/year and $990/year for a whole family, so obviously it's more cost effective if the whole family joins and your kids swim, too. 

    Thornhill Montclair is always empty 

    Another two suggestions:

    - The Claremont Club and Spa has multiple pools, including one just for adult lap swim.

    - Alameda Swimming Pool Association.  If you take their lifesaving classes, you can get a key to the pools that allow you to swim during off hours.

  • Swimming pool for babies in Berkeley

    (2 replies)

    Hello, we just moved to Berkeley with our 10 month old baby daughter and we are interested in taking her to the pool. Are there any swimming pools that offer classes for babies and parents? Do you recommend any?

    Thank you very much

    [Moderator Note: lots of advice here: Swim Lessons for Babies]

    Hi! We take our 8 month old to the Piedmont Rec Center pool. They have a parent/child swim class on saturdays that we have been attending since he was 6 months. The pool is heated/outdoor and I think it's salt water. Very clean and awesome!

    Downtown Berkeley YMCA has a great pool for little ones, they keep it heated to about 90 degrees. They have rec swim as well as lessons but you have to be a member of the Y. If you're inclined to use the gym at all yourself I think it's worth it,  they have childcare and  tons of great classes for parents and babies. The Kindergym is open for free play almost all the time and has been a lifesaver for me on those cold or wet days when your kid needs to blow off steam.

    Another suggestion is the  Albany Pool at Albany High School. They have parent-tot  lessons and open swim and the water is not too cold. El Cerrito pool is nice in the summer.

  • Swimming for kids in Berkeley

    (1 reply)

    New to Berkeley

    Have a 6 year old that used to have swim classes once weekly and family swim time on the weekends 

    Any good suggestions that would fit either ticket in the area?

    I recommend the El Cerrito public pool or the Richmond Plunge, not too far from Berkeley 

  • Early Morning Uncrowded Lap Swim

    (2 replies)

    Looking for somewhere I can swim laps beginning at 5 or 5:30 AM and pay a drop-in fee. Preferably not crowded, as I prefer not to circle. East Bay location. Saline pool a plus! I want to swim for 45 minutes or so and be home by 6:30/7. Can you offer suggestions? Thank you.

    Here is a really cool list of local pools: http://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/03/15/first-person-best-lap-swim-pools-... that might help your search!

    I know the Y in downtown Oakland has a pool, but I'm not a member. Oakland public pools aren't open that early yet, but Alameda Aquatic Masters is 5:30-6:30am. Great coach and I found it less intimidating than other masters programs I have tried (in 2013 when I was going, but I want to start back up!). http://alamedaaquaticmasters.com/ 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Indoor pool with lots of open swim time?

Jan 2013

I've looked through the BPN recomendations and haven't found this addressed lately. We'd like to swim at an indoor pool locally, either in the Lamorinda area or close to the Berkeley campus, with ideally lots of open swim time. I don't want to join a gym really, just want to go somewhere with an enclosed pool. I burn easily but love to swim. Any ideas? --albino fish

The Berkeley YMCA of course. Actually I think there's a Y in Lafayette as well. Anon

The Berkeley City Club has a great indoor pool, but single memberships are expensive. Group / organizational memberships (up to 5 people) are quite reasonable though, and that's how I justify my membership. another albino swimmer

Where can I take my kids swimming? I work!

Aug 2012

Can anyone recommend a public swimming pool with a familiy swim schedule that accomodates working parents? I would like to take my kids swimming during the week, but I can't find a public pool that has recreational swim hours after my work, even if I leave a little early. I have a 7, 10 and 13 year olds. The older two like to go to the deep end and dive off of the diving board, so I'm looking for a pool that won't limit them to the shallow end. I prefer outdoor because of the chlorine.

Strawberry Canyon is where we used to go, but between the horrid traffic from the day camps and the fact that they close 15 minutes earlier this year, we get 30 minutes of swimming in at best if I leave work early. I'm very frustrated. When I was little my dad used to take us to the rec center pool every summer evening. They are some of my best memories. We spent hours there. Is there any place like that anymore? Thanks in advance Fish out of water!

For weekday evening swimming we go to Lake Anza in Tilden Park. Yes it is freezing, but the kids don't mind, and there are no lifeguards either, but I keep an eye on them and they don't go too deep. For weekends we go to the Richmond Plunge. Note, neither Lake Anza nor the Plunge have chlorine. Have fun!

I looked at the schedules of all the pools I know about, and it looks like El Cerrito has 'Family Swim' in the evenings 6:15-8:15 on Mondays and Wednesdays: http://www.el-cerrito.org/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1464. Maybe that will fit the bill? --

Try King Pool on Hopkins. They have some late hours. love to swim

We love the Albany Pool for kids. Good luck! Ed

Pool for toddler with lots of open family swim time

Sept 2011

Hi, I'm new to the Kensington area and looking for a great pool for my 2.3 year old. She's a bit reluctant so I'm looking for a warm pool with easy-to-navigate facilities. I'm also looking for a pool with lots of open family swim time so that I can take her by myself preferably in the mornings. Most places I've searched online have minimal family swim, offer afternoon/evening classes or seem to have closed down. Thanks for any pointers! zmt

Downtown Berkeley YMCA. Parking is a pain, but the pool(s!) are awesome. anon

My 4 year old takes swimming lessons at Patti's Swim School in Castro Valley. They offer private and semi private lessons as well as Baby and Me classes. My son loves the instructors and I love that he is learning to be safe around water. The pool is covered with an Aqua Dome during Fall and Winter so we take classes year round and it's always warm. castro valley mom

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Toddler/baby pool in east bay

Oct 2009

I am looking for a toddler/baby pool in or nearby Oakland. In my search, many require a membership fee. Do you know of a kiddie pool that doesn't have a hefty membership fee? I don't mind paying an entrance fee but not willing to pay hundreds of dollars. Is the pool heated above 90 degrees? I know of a good one in San Ramon but would like something a little closer to home. Thanks

Strawberry Canyon has a toddler pool outdoors but it is super warm. We played with the kids as toddlers on the steps leading into the main pool and there are some grassy areas to lay your towels on.

The Berkeley YMCA has its indoor shallow heated pool but it is not shallow enough for toddlers to really walk around in. It is also where they teach swim lessons for their youngest clients. Both my kids benefitted from lessons there. You don't have to be a member. You can just get a kids' membership if they are taking lessons. kl

A neighbor just recommended the San Leandro Aquatic Center to me (my daughter is 9 months.) I haven't been there but she said that admission is $4. You can find some info on the city of San Leandro website. Laura

Hi, try the Berkeley High School warm pool . It's heated to 94 degrees (really nice) and they have parent tot classes every Friday at 3.30 and Saturdays at 10 (I think). The classes are great, but tend to get pretty crowded. No memebership or advance reservation required - just walk in. Sonali

Ocean swimming for mother & son

March 2009

I love to swim in the ocean, and while on vacation, my soon-to-be 8-yr-old son has been really drawn to the ocean as well. It would be wonderful if we could find a way to get into the bay or ocean to swim together on a regular basis. We both have medium-level swimming skills, but lots of interest and a willingness to suit up and get into cold water. Does anyone know of an appropriate group, or lessons, that are geared towards learning safe ocean swimming for exercise (and fun)? Thank you

The South End Rowing Club and Dolphin Club may be a place to start. They are located in San Francisco near Aquatic Park which is a popular place for open water swimmers to train. I don't know if they have lessons, but they may be able to point you in the right direction. Amy

Check out Leslie Thomas- her website is www.swim-art.com. My husband swims with their group occasionally - i hear she's a great coach. anon

Pool open on Christmas Day?

Dec 2007

Does anyone know of a pool that is open in the afternoon on Christmas day? I need to swim due to a back condition, and my pool is closed. I've tried Oakland Hills Tennis club on Redwood road, but the water is too hot and they usually close by 1:30 or 2.. A day pass to the Claremont costs hundreds. Also I don't want to bother my friends who have to show up with me. Any ideas?? I'm desperate.. it makes a huge difference in my pain level. swimgirl

All public pools will be closed and most private gyms will close as well. I think your best bet may be a hotel, since they can't close for the holidays. Some of them offer day-use passes for their pools. It's usually quite pricy, but you're desperate, right? Think of it as a Christmas gift to yourself. Maybe try the Claremont first? (I haven't done this locally.) Otherwise, do some research with Tripadvisor and then make some calls. Even if there isn't a candidate in the East Bay, I bet there's one in SF. anon

You could check the El Cerrito Swim Center. It's a beautiful outdoor pool. Rebecca

Check with the 24-Hour Fitness at Hilltop Mall. Its pool is usually open all the time. Perhaps the El Cerrito public pool will also be open. -- sometime swimmer

Indoor pool for toddlers

March 2007

Hello, I am looking for an indoor pool which is toddler friendly. Just something where my 21 month old can play around at rainy or cold days. I live in San Leandro but basically any place in the east bay would be fine. Thanks a lot!

We love the Silliman Center in Newark. My 2-year-old loves the little slides off the play structure, and the fountains. Afterwards we always have noodle soup and steamed vermicelli with shrimp at Vung Tau III just up the road. Then we drive home all drowsy and head to bed! http://bayareafun.googlepages.com/pools Vung

How to find a lap pool in LA/Pasadena?

Oct 2007

I need to find a hotel with a good lap pool so I can visit my son at Occidental College. It is essential that I swim every afternoon due to health reasons and back injury. The only pool I've found so far is the Rose Bowl Swim center; Hours are not ideal and would involve extra driving, which is hard for me. I'm looking in the Eagle Rock, Glendale, Pasadena area, perhaps even Burbank. Can't be a small pool, or a very warm pool.. I need to do real swimming to deal with severe back pain, especially with travel. Also I need frig with good freezer in the room so I can store gel ice packs for my back. Would appreciate any suggestions; I have spent hours on phone and on-line and can't seem to find a place that has pool and frig/freezer and close enough to the school. swimgirl

Have you tried looking at http://www.swimmersguide.com? It lists lap pools in cities around the world! I know because I travel a lot and I too need a pool and a frig/freezer when I'm on the road. There is a great pool at Occidental. I wonder if your son could investigate the possibility of you being able to swim there during your visit, especially since you have a medical condition. Sorry, I can't suggest specific hotels in the area, but Occidental's website (maybe via the Admissions Office) has hotel suggestions that you can call to check. Also, I have stayed at hotels that will put a frig in your room if you request it. For medical conditions they don't usually charge for it, but there may be a small fee. At other hotels, I have asked them to put a bag of my ice packs in their kitchen's freezer and they have been happy to oblige. Good luck! adisk

I don't know about a hotel, but you should check out the web site www.swimmersguide.com. It provides listings of public and hotel pools all around the world, evaluated by swimmers. I know that you said the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center isn't convenient for you, but I wanted to let you know that it's a really great pool for swimmers. I always swim there when I'm visiting my inlaws in ALtadena. The lanes are really long, and the temperature is right. It's rare for a hotel pool to provide an adequate lap swimming experience, since most are too short and/or too warm. Is there a pool at Occidental that you could use when you're visiting your son? Good luck, and I hope your back heals soon. Carrie

I can't help you with hotels that have lap pools; but can help you with places to swim. US Masters Swimming has a website with a link to ''Places to Swim'':


Often you can join a Master's workout (helps if you join the national organization for about $35/year). Usually you have to pay a small fee to join a team's workout (like $5 or $10). Also, you can often tell where they swim (local high school, college or YMCA or the like) and then just check out the public swimming hours there.

In terms of refrigerators, I have recently been through this at a lot of hotels as I needed to store breastmilk. Every hotel I have stayed at was able to bring in a small refrigerator into the room and only one of them charged me. Good luck. Nikki

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Inexpensive Indoor pool for toddler

April 2006

Do you know of any indoor pools besides the YMCA (membership and pool fees are too expensive for us) in Oakland/Berkeley/San Leandro/Hayward area? We are hoping to find an indoor pool where we can pay a small fee to attend during ''open swim''/toddler-swim-with-parents time. Last summer we enrolled our daughter in the Alameda Park and Rec toddler swim program, but it was always so windy and cold at this outdoor pool, that we cancelled. We used to live in SF where there Park and Rec Pools (indoor) charged a small fee for ''free'' (no instruction) swim. Hoping to get our water baby into the pool experience asap. Thank you for your recommendations. Margaret

Last year I took my 2 year old--then one to the Hayward Plunge. It is indoors and located right off of Foothill in Hayward. The facility is indoors and family friendly. Kristie

I don't know any indoor pools besides the YMCA but the El Cerrito public pool and the San Ramon pool are great! Big slides, fountains, toddler shallow part and kid size and regular adult size areas. And San Ramon is definitely warmer than Alameda or even Berkeley. Check www.el-cerrito.com/recreation/swim http://www.ci.san-ramon.ca.us/parks/activitiespdf/aquatics.pdf_center.html love the pool

Check out the Silliman Activity Center on Mowry in Newark. It has an indoor water park. Supposed to be absolutely wonderful, although I've heard it can get crowded in the summer. Monika

I recommend the Albany pool. It might be a bit too far north for you, but it's a great pool and quite reasonable. The web site with additional info is http://www.enterit.com/ALBANY6640/. Kara

Albany High Pool http://www.enterit.com/ALBANY6640/ cheap swimmer

Lap Swimming for Adults

Dec 2005

I'm looking for a place to lap swim. I can't afford a YMCA membership, but don't quite qualify for financial assistance. I also have no car. I need a pool that's cheap but not scary, easily accessible to public transit (or walkable - I live near Lake Merrit), and has lap swimming hours during the day. If it has childcare, that's a bonus! Dry and Flabby

Try Oakland Parks & Rec http://www.oaklandnet.com/parks/programs/aquatics.asp (click on the pool names in the navigation bar on the left for lap swim times) Lions Pool at Diamond Park and Temescal Pool near Oakland Tech are both open for Lap swim year round. I know they are cheep and as far as safe, my 76 year old mother swam at both pools for many, many years. You might also want to look into the mommy and me swim class durring the summer. They used to be great. natasha

I missed the original question, sorry, but wanted to pipe up and recommend (Highly!) the lap swimming at Laney College. You can sign up online at http://www.peralta.cc.ca.us/ (they'll even give you a fake ID # instead of using your SSN if you request it). The classes are DIRT CHEAP, the pools are outside and gorgeous, and the instructors are terrific--patient, knowledgeable, and supportive. I believe it costs a total of $15. Per semester. For a 10-week, twice-a-week class! An undiscovered jewel of the Bay Area. (If you drive, parking is $.50/day extra and available in a lot.) Jennie

Pool near N. Oakland for family swim

May 2005

Hello everyone. I have checked the archives, and looked online some more, but I cannot seem to find what I want. I am looking for a nearby pool (nearby to North Oakland) where I can take my 20 month old swimming. I do not want a class, but a family swim time. The Berkeley Y is way too expensive for me. I'd like to pay a few dollars each time I go. I'd also like the water to be heated. Outdoor/ indoor doesn't matter. I live very close to the Temescal pool and would love to go there, but every time I walk by and ask, the person in the office doesn't know if they'll have a family swim time. Another Oakland public pool-can't remember the name- has a family swim time, but it is right smack in the middle of nap time, 12 to 2:( Any suggestions or leads for me out there? I need to get my son in the water! Thanks in advance, Katja


Hello everyone. I actually posted the question and have received may replies via email. Thank you!! I'd like to share with everyone what I have found: You may download a summer schedule for Oaklnad parks at www.oaklandnet.com/parks This includes swim times for My Clymond, Fremont, deFremery, Like Oak, Lions and Temescal pools. Also recommended were Mills colllege pool, Roberts Regional Recreational Area, El Cerrito, Berkeley High- the old ''south'' pool by the softball field, Diamond Park, and Strawbery Canyon. Hooray. Thanks for your suggestions. KatjaPool for handicapped woman

Jan 2005

My mother-in-law is coming to visit for an extended stay. She is handicapped and gets her only exercise by swimming. Does any one know of a handicap-accessible pool, that she could use on a drop-in basis? Mary


  • Albany City Pool
  • Berkeley City Pools Berkeley High (2)
  • Oakland City Pools Lion's Pool
  • Richmond Swim Center

    Swimming places for women only

    Sept 2004

    Does anyone know of a women swimming group where only women are present(including life guard)? Something similar to Curves but for swimming activity? Areas of convenience are Berkeley,Albany or nearby. Thanks


    Check out UCB's Hearst pool. There is a small, little used women only pool outside the women's locker room. As recently as a month ago I found it was open Tues & Thurs 6:30-7:30 for open swimming, although I can't find further information on their website right now. I know they also hold women-only water fitness classes in that pool several times a week. If you've never been, the Hearst pool is beautiful, and the women's pool is very private. The number & website for the entire Recreational Sports program is 510-642-6400/calbears.berkeley.edu Sofia
    Does the downtown Berkeley YMCA have this? I know there are three pools, and they do have workout rooms for women only, so you might stop by and see if they have any women-only swim sessions. Also, what about Mills College? Bets

    Pools for toddlers

    July 2004

    we just came back from santa fe and the city there has 2 wonderful toddler swimming pools-12''-18'' deep, with water slides and animals that are really just decorated showerheads etc. is there anything like this near berkeley? i found a lot of info about swim lessons on the site but not about pools like this. thanks! jc


  • El Cerrito City Pool

    Place to swim with toddler and dogs

    July 2004

    Summer is here and the whole family, including the dog, would like to go swimming. Our children are young, under six years old and not good swimmers. Are there any swimming holes for both dogs and their humans within 3+ hours from the Bay Area? Any good swimming/camping combinations for families with dogs. Ann-Marie

    I took my Labrador to Lake Del Valle about 6 years ago, with some friends. We rented a rowboat (with motor attached; rowing got old REALLY fast), and found a 'private' cove. Tied up the boat and enjoyed the water with the dogs. I'm not sure how well that would work for very young kids, but it was fabulous then. Jennie

    Pool for family swim near El Cerrito, A.M. hours

    June 2004

    I'm looking for a public swimming pool (preferably indoor) near El Cerrito that my toddler and I can use during A.M. hours (anytime before noon). I have checked the Hilltop Y, the El Cerrito community pool, and the Richmond swim center- none offer family swim time before noon. Does anyone know of a facility? Kim


  • Albany City Pool

    Public Pools in Lamorinda?

    June 2004

    Love Berkeley, but swimming indoors at the Y during the summer just doesn't do it for me, and it just doesn't get warm enough for me to want to head up to the Strawberry Canyon pool. I'm looking for recommendations about public pools in the Lamorinda area. I'm willing to go through the tunnel to get some heat, and am hoping to find public pools with a bit of grass, shade, a wading pool for my 10 month old, as well as waist-high water for when he wants to ''swim''. Chilly Mama

    I live in Orinda and belong to the Sleepy Hollow Swim and Tennis club, which is close to my house, and has been a lifesaver during the hot weather. I have some friends from Berkeley & Oakland who are members of the Orinda Park Pool. It it close to the freeway and has some great programs. All the pools here are great. Orinda Swim Mom

    Deep Pool for Aquajogging

    May 2004

    I'm looking for an East Bay location for aquajogging (running upright in the water with a float belt). Ideally it would be a separate deep diving pool, but maybe there's a pool where the deep end is sometimes available for aquajogging? Pools with the lane markers in place won't work, and a crowded free swim isn't ideal either. I'd prefer a pay-as-you-use-it place, but would consider a membership. We live near Lake Merritt, but would be willing to drive a bit for the right situation. Thanks! Amy


  • Spieker Pool UC Berkeley

    2003 & Earlier

    Pool near Albany for recreational swimming

    March 2003

    I recently asked for advice on getting my reluctant nine-year old to learn to swim. Based on the advice I got, I am now looking for a swimming pool in the area where we can spend lots of fun non-swimming time together this summer. Ideally, the pool is: WARM, about 3 FEET DEEP or so (NOT a kiddie splash pool full of toddlers), no more than 20 minutes drive from Albany, allows us to bring some toys, and has convenient weekday open swim. I guess I'm not too picky about indoor vs. outdoor. I prefer not to have to pay a huge ''membership'' type fee, but might consider it for the perfect place. R.K.

    Recommendations received:

  • Richmond Swim Center (2)

    Other suggestions:

    This might be kind of a strange idea, but a friend of mine used to live in one of those apartment buildings that abut the El Cerrito shopping center on the Albany side and there was a pool there that was almost always empty, and there are several such buildings near there. I'm wondering if you approached the manager of one of those buildings and asked if you could pay a fee to swim there with your kid if s/he would go for it? You could maybe draw up some sort of liability release form to sign ahead of time too. It's kind of a wacky idea, but there are so few swimming options in the area, but I had a brother with a lot of water fear, I know that crowded swimming spots only added to his anxiety.

    Check out the Orinda Park Pool. The pool has sloping sides so it's got a lot of shallow water. The water is warm, toys are ok, but floatation devices are not. There is a separate toddler area. I'm a Masters swimmer and I think OPP is too warm for a workout. You have to purchase a membership and pay annual dues so this might be more of a commitment than you were looking for. You can sell the membership when you want to give up membership, in fact I think OPP sells it for you. We go from N. Berkeley over the hill and down Lomas Contadas to the pool in about 20 minutes.
    You might try the pool at the Piedmont Rec. Center (although I am not sure it'll meet your ''20 mins. away'' criterion). The facility has a big, deep lap pool, another pool which sounds like what you are looking for, and a baby pool. I should say, however, that there almost certainly will be a lot of littler kids in the medium-sized pool, at least ''littler'' when compared to a 9-year-old. But it's a nice facility, and otherwise sounds like what you want. Wendy

    Pool for Hanging Out

    July 2002

    I am a Southern California transplant to Berkeley and it's taken 19 years to develop this craving, but I want a sunny summer hanging out by the pool with my kids (ages 6 years and 21 months). I am interested in hearing recommendations for public and private pools. What is the Strawberry like? Is there a good toddler pool? Is it crowded? Sunny? What's parking like? Do the summer sports camp and swim lessons interfere with pool use by the general public? Can anyone tell me about Orinda Park Pool? Any other private or public pools I should know about? We live in North Berkeley and I am willing to drive about 20-25 minutes to find a warm, sunny summer haven about three times a week. Thanks! Karen

    Recommendations received:

  • Encinal High School Pool
  • Lake Anza
  • Lake Temescal
  • Lakeridge Athletic Club

    Encinal High School Pool

    Re: Pool for Hanging Out (July 2002)
    If you want a toddler pool and don't need a lot of structure, check out the Encinal High School pool this summer. I went last year with my son (then just over 1), and we had a blast. They have a toddler pool from 2' to 3.5', a larger pool with standard depths, and even a diving pool (torture to this single mom--I wanna go dive!). The kiddy lessons, as I recall, are for an hour on Saturdays and just $2--and the best part is, after kiddy lessons are over, it's Free Swim and your $2 lets you stay as long as you like! The ''lessons,'' at least for very little ones, are nothing to write home about, but did serve to make my son more comfortable in the water and to start to kick. We didn't get to blowing bubbles or even putting faces in the water, but I hope to get to that this summer. The pool is open for about 10 weeks. If you email me, I can let you know when I get the schedule. These classes are on a drop-in basis, so there's no paying ahead of time & missing classes. Hope to see you there! I have reddish brown hair and freckles, and my son is pale like me and has curly blond hair. Jennie