Where to Go Swimming
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Indoor pool with lots of open swim time?
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!
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
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
Toddler/baby pool in east bay
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
- Richmond Swim Center (2)
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
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
- Encinal High School Pool
- Lake Anza
- Lake Temescal
- Lakeridge Athletic Club
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