Seeking a Swim Club

Parent Q&A

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  • Private Swim Clubs - Which one is worth it?

    (6 replies)

    Hello there! 

    Which swim clubs do you guys belong to? My family is interested in joining one but I think it's ridiculous what Claremont is charging (17 grand non refundable fees + $590 month fees per family). I know there are several different ones in the area and I wanted to hear what you like about the ones you belong to?

    Thanks much!

    We are on the hunt for the same. We liked the vibe and affordability of Oak Spring in Orinda but the pool temperature was too cold for us. They said the pool was heated but it felt frigid even on a 85 degree day. Sequoia country club’s social membership seemed great but it’s quite a drive for us North Oakland residents. We have friends who are happy with various places in Oakland hills. We live in the flat part of Oakland so that’s also inconvenient. Alameda’s bay farm has a place which we may look into. Hiller Highlands has a country club which we are interested in joining but we have been told that they are not accepting new members due to the pandemic. It is frustrating that swimming options are so limited.

    Lakeridge Athletic Club in El Sobrante is a true gem. Pool is 82-83 year round & it’s really beautiful. Nominal fee of around 200 to join and around 200 per month for a family of 4. 

    Sequoyah Country Club's social membership includes the use of the pool, gym, tennis courts, and dining. There are other membership levels for those looking to golf (and social members can take golf lessons and participate in other golf clinics). The club is very diverse (which we love) and there are a lot of families with children. There is a kid's club a few times a week and frequent social events. There is a waitlist to join right now, but I think it's well worth the wait, the monthly dues, and the food and beverage minimums.

    For a private swim club, the only one we have belonged to is Oakland Hills Tennis Club, and I do not recommend it.

    We had a fitness membership there for 15+ years. Our experience with the family who own and operate it was that they were unpleasant to deal with.  They wanted to stick a lot of capital improvement costs to the membership.

    Our daughter was the main swimmer in our household. She quit going there because she felt that she got a lot of nasty attitude from the other swimmers who were more skilled than she is.

    I belong to The Hills Swim and Tennis Club.  We have had many happy playdates and parties on-site.  We have brought friends and family to enjoy the facilities.  The pools, gym, tennis courts,  and facilities are clean and the members are very friendly.  It is very down-to-earth.  They offer yoga, PIlates, weight training, tennis lessons, and a Zone-2 Club swim team for the kids.  Many members are long-time members.  I am interested in giving up my membership as my children have grown and gone off to college.  Please feel free to contact me.

    We recently joined the Montclair swim club and like it so far. The fees are less than the other clubs and it’s almost always easy to get your own lane for laps. It’s not as fancy as the other clubs, but we like the vibe.

  • Hi there, we are looking for a family friendly swim club and gym that offers amenities for small children such as childcare, kids' classes, etc. So far Oakwood Athletic Club in Lafayette seems to have the most comprehensive offerings, but I'd like to know more about what OHTS, The Hills, etc. offer for kids. Some of the reviews I see are almost a decade old so would really appreciate recent experiences. Thanks!!

    I don't know about OHTS or The Hills, but I encourage you to also checkout Sequoyah CC in Oakland. There are several levels of membership (we don't play golf and there are membership levels for non-golfers). We have been so impressed with the facilities, the staff, and the number of diverse families with young children at the club. There is a kid's club two-three times per week during dinner and children's swim lessons and juniors golf lessons that those with non-golf memberships can take advantage of. There is a summer camp for children where they play golf, tennis, and swim. There are also a number of family events throughout the year (back to school parties, campouts on the golf course, Halloween and other holiday parties/celebrations.)

  • As summer is on the horizon, we are looking at options for some pool time (and workout time for mom and dad) for our family (family of 3, will be family of four in August). Anyone prefer The Hills to the Oakland Hills Tennis Club? Or vice a versa? I am seeing some ads for membership sale on craigslist going for $9,500 and $187 monthly, is that within the range for The Hills? I don't know the pricing for the Oakland Hills Tennis Club. Thanks in advance for any advice! 

    The Hills Swim Club is wonderful, but the monthly fee for families (as opposed to individuals) is $300.  Hard to find a membership less than $8000, plus transfer fee, but you can usually sell it for more than you purchased it for.

    Another option to consider is a social membership at Sequoyah Country Club.  It is primarily a golf club with two pools (toddler and regular pool) but also a brand new gym and some fitness classes.  They are adding more programming to attract younger families.  Many  don’t realize it’s less expensive to join Sequoyah than the Hills.  We enjoy the diversity of Sequoyah, the dining and is pretty laid back for a country club.  The Hills has a robust swimming program and the Oakland Hills is better known for its tennis program.  We like Sequoyah because it’s relaxing and they have dining, full bar, social activities in addition to the pool and gym.  

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Swim club in or near Berkeley

Aug 2012

Can anyone recommend a nice family-oriented swim club in or around north Berkeley? We would like a fun place to swim and spend time with other families, in a kid-friendly and relaxed environment. The Claremont seems very expensive and a little snooty, and the Hills is very far away. Is there any place in el Cerrito, Emeryville, or Albany that is worth checking out? BerkeleyMom

The El Cerrito pool is really nice-it's a public swim center, not a club-but the pools (lap pool and recreation poo) are great and there's grassy area, a splash zone, lots of kids, my favorite place to swim.

Racially mixed swim club around Oakland

Sept 2004

We are currently looking for a swim club in or around Oakland that has a racially mixed crowd. We are willing to drive in order to find it. How diverse are the Montclair Swim Club, The Hills Swim and Tennis club, the Harbor Bay Club and the Bay-O- Vista swim club. Am I missing any? I don't want my kids to be the only kids of color at the pool. I had a bad experience last week in a pool in L.A. and don't want to re-live it.

Last summer we went to the Oakland Hills swim club on a guest pass and noticed it was NOT racially diverse (at least when we were there). I think my bi-racial child was the only child of color there. I felt uncomfortable there and couldn't believe that such a place existed in the middle of such a diverse city. I ended up not joining for many reasons, that being one of them.


  • Bay-O-Vista Club San Leandro
  • Oakland Barracudas Swim Team
  • Oakland Undercurrents Swim Team
  • Oakland YMCA

    Seeking Oakland (or somewhat close) Swim Club

    July 2003

    I am seeking a swim club in the Oakland area (outside of Oakland is just fine, too).. I'm looking for a relaxing place where my infant, husband, and I can just enjoy the summer weather, possibly meet other families. I would also enjoy a club that has work out equipment that I can use all year long, in an attempt to not have to join a separate gym. My neighbors have recommended the Montclair Swim Club? Any thoughts on that? Any other suggestions? I did see the posts on the site (mostly regarding the Claremont Club)--I don't need anything super fancy- and would appreciate any suggestions on places that I don't have to get a 2nd mortgage on my house to join!! Thank you so much- looking forward to seeing you poolside next year!
    ''Pool Mom''

    Recommendations received:

  • Bay-O-Vista Club
  • Harbor Bay Swim Club
  • Montclair Swim Club
  • Oakland Hills Tennis Club (2)
  • The Hills (3)

    Looking for a Swim Club

    May 2003

    We are looking to join a swim club and have checked out the following places:

    -- The Club at the Claremont (nice but very $$$ and not much in the way of a toddler pool)
    -- The Oakland Hills Tennis and Swim Club (close to us but again, not much in the way of a toddler pool)
    -- The Hills (large toddler pool but not great fitness-wise)
    -- Montclair Swim Club

    We would appreciate feed back regarding experiences with any of these places, including any experience with their childcare facilities. Enough with the rainy weather already!

    Recommendations received:

  • The Claremont (3)
  • Hiller Highlands Swim Club
  • Oakland Hills Tennis Club (2)
  • The Hills

    Other comments:
    I have been to all four... was a member at Montclair Swim Club (I do not recommend them) if I was to join I would definately join the Hills Swim club (up off of Manzanita) as many of my friends are members and really like it. Just went to a fun birthday party there last weekend in fact. Oakland Swimmer

    Looking to Join a Swim Club near Montclair

    November 2002

    We joined the Claremont a couple years ago so our family could use the pool and tennis courts during the warm months. We are thinking about less expensive clubs in the area as we find the Claremont pretty expensive since we don't use it all year. Any recommendations for clubs that have child friendly pools,workout facilities and family activities. Tennis courts optional. Looking in a 15 min. drive time radius of then Montclair area.

    Recommendations received:

  • Oakland Hills Tennis Club
  • The Hills Swim Club Montclair

    Other suggestions:
    Try Oakwood in Pleasant Hill or Lafayette Tennis club. I'm a member of both. Each has it's advantages. I have been a member of the Hills, Montclair Swim Club and been a guest many times at the club on Redwood Road. All are about the same drive time from Montclair. Oakwood has wonderful kid & adult programs which are included in the monthly fee. The instructors at the Lafayette Tennis club are also very good for adults and kids. DRS