Seeing that we're in the midst of a heatwave, we thought it best to rehash our very useful map of 17 spots in the Bay Area where you can take a dip for under $10 (and some free spots!). Like we've said before, we know that summer in this city is spend wearing fleece jackets in lieu of bikinis, so we made sure to include San Francisco's best indoor pools, most of which are heated. There's also spots way, way east, where much warmer weather is the norm. Let's get this pool party started!Read More
17 Spots in the Bay Area Where You Can Swim for Under $10
1. Cull Canyon
Castro Valley, CA 94552
When the swim area was constructed, a secondary dam was built to provide an inner swimming area complete with sandy beach. The swimming complex is open during warm months and has a lifeguard on duty. There's a bathhouse, vending machines, and a 1.5-acre swim lagoon on site. It's $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for kids under 16.
2. Hamilton Pool
San Francisco, CA 94115
There are two waterslides at this pool. What more motivation could you need to get over to the Hamilton Recreation Center for recreational swimming time? Recreation swimming happens every day (except Sunday when the pool's closed) in the afternoon. Here's the full schedule. $5 for adults and $1 for kids.
3. Bass Lake
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
A favorite amongst nudists and hipsters. It takes about an hour to hike to the lake (if you can resist stopping every minute to snap a pic of the views), and you can read the National Park Service's trail guide & suggested hikes for Point Reyes (Bass Lake is towards the middle of the page). There's also more detailed directions here. The main attraction of Bass Lake is a rope swing that continuously gets cut down by a park ranger and promptly put back by a guy named Frank, who's a legend around those parts. It's free to visit.
4. Lake Temescal
Oakland, CA 94618
Lake Temescal has an accessible beachhouse adjacent to the swim area which offers changing rooms, vending machines and showers. The swimming area is open spring through fall. Over 16? It'll cost you $3.50. Under 16? $2.50. Parking is $5 per vehicle and $4 for trailered vehicles. The lake's lifeguards are on duty from 11am to 6pm.
5. Hearts Desire Beach
Inverness, CA 94937
This beach in the Tomales Bay State Park has been described as the most pleasant place to swim in Northern California. Iverness Ridge shields the beach from cold winds so the water is especially warm. On sunny weekends it can get really crowded, but a short hike in either direction can take you to similar but less crowded beaches, like Pebble Beach or Indian Beach. Heart's Beach has a picnic area with barbecues, dressing rooms and toilets. Swimming is free and there's also free parking.
6. Sava Pool
San Francisco, CA 94116
This is a great pool for kids. It was even featured on SFGate's list of 101 things all SF kids should do in the City before they grow up. But it's just as fun if you're an adult, too! We suggest checkingthe schedule before dropping in. The pool underwent a multimillion dollar renovation in 2009, which included installing a noise-canceling ceiling so the pool isn't as echo-y as many indoor public pools. Like all San Francisco public pools, this one has great swimming lessons for kids of all ages. Recreational weekend swimming is on Saturday from 2:30 to 4:30pm and Sunday from 1:00 to 2:30pm. Recreational swimming varies during the weekdays. $5 for adults and $1 for kids.
7. Veterans Memorial Beach
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Veterans Memorial Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the Russian River in Healdsburg. It's open through summer, and swimmers are urged to only swim when lifeguards are on duty. There's no cost to use the beach, but there is a $7 parking fee. We recommend you arrive early, as the quaint parking lot fills up pretty quickly. Make a day of it, as there are shady picnic areas and restrooms. The water in the center of the river is deep because of a dam downstream, so be careful.
8. Martin Luther King Jr Pool
San Francisco, CA 94124
This pool's not frequented as much because of its location. That said, the few who do go come from all over SF, as the local spots are always packed (see: North Beach Pool). If you drive this is definitely a good choice as there's an abundance of parking. There's a 25-yard x 25-meter pool and a separate wading pool for tots. You can see the full schedule here. $5 for adults and $1 for kids.
9. Contra Loma Swim Lagoon
Antioch, CA 94509
The lake's swim lagoon, staffed with lifeguards in the summer, has a sandy beach with restrooms, a concession stand, and an accessible lift into the pool. Swimming is allowed only when lifeguards are on duty. From June to August the lagoon's open daily from 11am to 6pm. There's a $5 parking fee. If you're over 16 you have to pay $3 for lagoon access, $2 if under 15.
10. North Beach Pool
San Francisco, CA 94133
This is a bright and airy indoor pool in the heart of North Beach. There's one warm pool and one cold pool. The pool's schedule is packed with activities, so seek it out before you decide to drop in. If you're looking to just hang out and have some fun in the water, we suggest Saturday afternoons between 1:30pm and 3:00pm, which is the weekend time slot for recreational swims. There's also a plethora of swimming lessons for children of all ages. $5 for adults and $1 for kids. The North Beach Pool is also home to the public art piece titled Nuotatori. In 2005, artist Vicki Saulis created plaster castings of several regular swimmer's aces at the pool and installed the castings on the interior wall of the natatorium, surrounded by a wavy design created by mosaic glass tiles.
11. Shadow Cliffs Lake
Pleasanton, CA 94566
Most visitors say it's not the prettiest of beaches, as it's an old quarry that's now filled with water. What we like about it is that the water is warm since you're so far east. There's a bathhouse, and a "snack shack" that has snacks, water, and toys for the kiddies. It's open from 6am to 9pm, and it costs $6 to park.
12. Coffman Pool
San Francisco, CA 94134
Because of its location, Coffman Pool is often described as one of San Francisco's hidden treasures. In 2008, the pool underwent a pretty intense remodel. We like Coffman Pool because it isn't frequented as often as other pools, and there's a UV system installed so it doesn't use as much chlorine as other public pools. The pool's only open Tuesday through Saturday and has recreation swimming every day. $5 for adults and $1 for kids.
13. Aquatic Park
San Francisco, CA 94109
There are diehards who swim here every morning, rain or shine. We don't quite have that kind of ambition, but on that rare warm day this is a nice spot to dip your toes in. It's free and open 24-hours. Feeling more adventurous? SwimArt offers expedition swims under the Golden Gate Bridge.
14. Baker Beach
San Francisco, CA 94129
Let's get the awkward out of the way first. The northernmost end of Baker Beach is where the nudists go to sunbathe.
You come here for the views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands. The beach is nestled at the foot of rugged cliffs on the Presidio's western shore. An easy stroll from the often crowded parking lot, you'll find a picnic area with tables, grills, and restrooms. Most folk come here just to sunbathe, as the water is very cold. It's free to swim and park.
15. McNears Beach County Park
San Rafael, CA 94901
This pool is actually on a 55 acre regional park located along the shores of San Pablo Bay in San Rafael. In addition to swimming, there's also a snack bar, sand volleyball courts, picnic areas and newly renovated tennis courts. The pool's open Wednesday - Friday from 11am to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday 11am to 6pm. Admission is $5 per person.
16. Mill Valley Community Center
Mill Valley, CA 94941
There's a slew of classes and activities available at the Aquatics Center at the Mill Valley Community Center. Everything from a "BigSplash Pool Party" to "Splashball." There's a water slide. Prices vary, but each class is under $10. For hours check out the Mill Valley Community Center website.
17. Lake Anza
Berkeley, CA 94708
This sandy beach is open to the sun and sheltered from the wind, making it a favorite for East Bay locals. Lifeguards are posted during swim season, but you can swim any time at your own risk. Cost is $3.50 for folks 16 and up, and $2.50 for kids under 16.
18. Mission Community Pool
San Francisco, CA 94110
http://sfrecpark.org/destination/mission-playground/mission-community-pool/Schedule: http://sfrecpark.org/wp-content/uploads/Mission-Summer-2014-schedule-full-sheet-FINAL.pdfPrices: Adults: $5, under 18: $1 Rec Swimming: Tuesday through Friday is 2-3:30pm, Saturday is 1-2:30pm, Sunday is 12:30-2pm