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People in swimsuits swimming in the cold Bay waters of SF. Shutterstock

Where to swim in the Bay Area for under $10

From rope swinging into Bass Lake to taking a dip in the Contra Loma swim lagoon

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As the city heats up this weekend—the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a second Spare the Air alert for the Bay Area—here’s one way to cool down during 80-plus-degree temperatures: dive into a crisp pool of water. For maximum fun at minimal cost, check out one of these 15 swimming spots in the Bay Area.

And yes, summer in the city is historically spent wearing fleece jackets in lieu of bathing suits, so this map does include San Francisco's best indoor and heated pools.

There are also sunny spots deep in the East Bay and North Bay where warmer weather awaits. From rope swinging into Bass Lake to taking a dip in the Contra Loma swim lagoon, these are the best (and cheapest) places to swim in the Bay Area.

Just be sure to pack your SPF.

If you looking for sandy shores, check out Curbed SF’s list of the best beaches in the Bay Area.

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1. Heart’s Desire Beach

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Tomales Bay State Park
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 so is parking.

No dogs permitted on the beach or on the trails. Alas.

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2. Veterans Memorial Beach

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13839 Healdsburg Avenue
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.

3. Bass Lake

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1 Bear Valley Road
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 and 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.

A post shared by Joe Finkel (@joefinkel) on

4. Baker Beach

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1504 Pershing Drive, Golden Gate National Recreation Area
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 want to soak up some sun in your birthday suit? Here’s the place to go.

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.

5. Hamilton Pool

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1900 Geary Boulevard
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.

Rates: $6 for adults and $1 for kids.

6. Mission Community Pool

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19th Street & Linda Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

The 4,565-square-foot Mission Community Pool, constructed in 1926, was remodeled in 2013 and is a neighborhood favorite for Mission folk. It’s the only city-operated outdoor pool in San Francisco, offering a large pool for novices, recreational and lap swim programs during the summer months, and more. The murals outside are not to be missed.

Rates: $7 for adults, $1 for children under 18 years of age.

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7. Aquatic Park

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Hyde Street & Beach Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

There are diehards who swim here every morning, rain or shine. You might not 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.

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8. Coffman Pool

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1700 Visitacion Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94134

Because of its location, Coffman Pool is often described as one of San Francisco's hidden treasures. People like the pool because it isn't as busy as other San Francisco public pools, and there's a UV system installed so it doesn't use as much chlorine as typical public pools.

Rates: $7 for adults, $1 for children under 18 years of age.

9. North Beach Pool

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651 Lombard Street
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.

Rates: $7 for adults, $1 for children under 18 years of age.

10. Martin Luther King Jr. Pool

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5701 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94124

If you drive this is definitely a good choice since there's an abundance of parking. The location has a 25-yard by 25-meter pool and a separate wading pool for tots.

Rates: $7 for adults, $1 for children under 18 years of age.

11. Lake Anza

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Lake Anza Road
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.

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12. Lake Temescal

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6500 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94618

Lake Temescal has an accessible beach house adjacent to the swim area which offers changing rooms, vending machines, and showers. The swimming area is open spring through fall. Parking is $5 per vehicle and $4 for trailered vehicles. Dogs cost $2 per pooch. (Guide/service dogs are free.)

The lake's lifeguards are on duty from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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13. Cull Canyon

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18870 Cull Canyon Road
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.

Rates are $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for kids under 16.

A post shared by Aileen Png (@ilynnaly) on

14. Shadow Cliffs Lake

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2500 Stanley Boulevard
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Most visitors say it's not the prettiest of beaches (it's an old quarry), but the water is pretty warm since it's so far east. There's a bathhouse and a "snack shack" that has snacks, water, and toys for the kiddies. It costs $6 to park.

Dogs: $2 per dog. Guide/service dogs free.

A post shared by Lian Ng (@liancng) on

15. Contra Loma Swim Lagoon

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Frederickson Lane
Antioch, CA 94509

The lake's swim lagoon has a sandy beach with access to restrooms, a concession stand, and a lift into the pool. Swimming is allowed only when lifeguards are on duty. From June to August the lagoon's open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There's a $5 parking fee. Also, dogs will run $2 per pup.

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1. Heart’s Desire Beach

Tomales Bay State Park, 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 so is parking.

No dogs permitted on the beach or on the trails. Alas.

Tomales Bay State Park
Inverness, CA 94937

2. Veterans Memorial Beach

13839 Healdsburg Avenue, 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.

13839 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448

3. Bass Lake

1 Bear Valley Road, 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 and 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.

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

4. Baker Beach

1504 Pershing Drive, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, 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 want to soak up some sun in your birthday suit? Here’s the place to go.

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.

1504 Pershing Drive, Golden Gate National Recreation Area
San Francisco, CA 94129

5. Hamilton Pool

1900 Geary Boulevard, 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.

Rates: $6 for adults and $1 for kids.

1900 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94115

6. Mission Community Pool

19th Street & Linda Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

The 4,565-square-foot Mission Community Pool, constructed in 1926, was remodeled in 2013 and is a neighborhood favorite for Mission folk. It’s the only city-operated outdoor pool in San Francisco, offering a large pool for novices, recreational and lap swim programs during the summer months, and more. The murals outside are not to be missed.

Rates: $7 for adults, $1 for children under 18 years of age.

19th Street & Linda Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

7. Aquatic Park

Hyde Street & Beach Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

There are diehards who swim here every morning, rain or shine. You might not 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.

Hyde Street & Beach Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

8. Coffman Pool

1700 Visitacion Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94134

Because of its location, Coffman Pool is often described as one of San Francisco's hidden treasures. People like the pool because it isn't as busy as other San Francisco public pools, and there's a UV system installed so it doesn't use as much chlorine as typical public pools.

Rates: $7 for adults, $1 for children under 18 years of age.

1700 Visitacion Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94134

9. North Beach Pool

651 Lombard Street, 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.

Rates: $7 for adults, $1 for children under 18 years of age.

651 Lombard Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

10. Martin Luther King Jr. Pool

5701 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94124

If you drive this is definitely a good choice since there's an abundance of parking. The location has a 25-yard by 25-meter pool and a separate wading pool for tots.

Rates: $7 for adults, $1 for children under 18 years of age.

5701 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94124

11. Lake Anza

Lake Anza Road, 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.

Lake Anza Road
Berkeley, CA 94708

12. Lake Temescal

6500 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618

Lake Temescal has an accessible beach house adjacent to the swim area which offers changing rooms, vending machines, and showers. The swimming area is open spring through fall. Parking is $5 per vehicle and $4 for trailered vehicles. Dogs cost $2 per pooch. (Guide/service dogs are free.)

The lake's lifeguards are on duty from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

6500 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94618

13. Cull Canyon

18870 Cull Canyon Road, 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.

Rates are $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for kids under 16.

18870 Cull Canyon Road
Castro Valley, CA 94552

14. Shadow Cliffs Lake

2500 Stanley Boulevard, Pleasanton, CA 94566

Most visitors say it's not the prettiest of beaches (it's an old quarry), but the water is pretty warm since it's so far east. There's a bathhouse and a "snack shack" that has snacks, water, and toys for the kiddies. It costs $6 to park.

Dogs: $2 per dog. Guide/service dogs free.

2500 Stanley Boulevard
Pleasanton, CA 94566

15. Contra Loma Swim Lagoon

Frederickson Lane, Antioch, CA 94509

The lake's swim lagoon has a sandy beach with access to restrooms, a concession stand, and a lift into the pool. Swimming is allowed only when lifeguards are on duty. From June to August the lagoon's open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There's a $5 parking fee. Also, dogs will run $2 per pup.

Frederickson Lane
Antioch, CA 94509