Summertime and the livin’s easy! Your biggest decision should be where to enjoy a swim with your little fishies. San Diego boasts plenty of cool pools that you can pay to play in for the day. They offer fun perks from water slides and diving boards to shallow water zones and splash pads. Dive into our top picks for where to make a splash!

Ned Baumer Aquatic Center

Slide down a whale’s mouth and get splashed with buckets full of water in the knee-deep kiddie pool. Or take a turn on the steep water slide in the plunge pool next door. And if there’s time, there’s a lap pool too. Located in the Miramar College campus, this community pool is a big YES!

Hours: Mon., Weds., Fri., 12:30-3:30 p.m.; Sat. (through 6/16/18) Noon-3 p.m.; closed Sun.

Cost: $4/adult; $2/child

10440 Black Mountain Rd.
San Diego, Ca 92126
858-538-8083
Online: sandiego.gov/nedbaumeraquatics

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Tierrasanta Community Pool

Swim on over and check out this cool waterhole. Perfect for littles is the one-foot deep tot spot with a tunnel slide and jungle gym. Kids age 6 and under will get a kick speeding down the 30-foot water slide. The pool is part of a larger park with a playground and basketball and baseball fields to enjoy when you’re ready to dry off in the sun. So grab the goggles and go!

NOTE: This pool is closed for maintenance until June 9th.

Hours: Mon.-Fri., 11:30-1 p.m.; Sat. Noon-3 p.m.

Cost: $4/adult, $2/child

11238 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, Ca 92124
858-636-4837
Online: sandiego.gov/tierrasanta

photo: City of San Diego

Carmel Valley Pool

Let it slide for the day at the Carmel Valley Pool. Not only are their two whirling water slides (for kids age 7 and older) complete with their own deep pool, there's also a zero-depth entry pool for littles just learning to swim. Lap it up at the main pool while the water bugs play.

Hours: Mon., Wed., Fri., 12:30–4 p.m.; Sat. noon–4 p.m.; closed Sun.

Cost: $4/adult, $2/child

3777 Townsgate Dr.
Carmel Valley, Ca 92130
858-552-1616
Online: sandiego.gov/carmelvalley

photo: Pardee Aquatics Center

Pardee Aquatics Center

Practice your freestyle in one of the two 25-meter heated pools at the Boys and Girls Club Harper Clubhouse. There's a snack bar with chips and cereal bars, indoor and outdoor showers and spacious locker rooms. Rec swim is in the shallow pool only.

Hours may vary: Mon.-Fri. 5 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Cost: $6/adult, $5/child

533 Lomas Santa Fe Dr.
Solona Beach, Ca 92075
858-755-4904
Online: bgcsandieguito.org/programs/aquatics

Aztec Aquaplex

Make a day of it at the Aztec Aquaplex. Splash around in two large solar-heated pools or sit and relax with your little one in the zero entry pool. Kids can jump and shoot water basketball, soak in the hydrotherapy hot tub or float on a water lounge.

Good to know: parking at the pay machines costs about $2 per hour.

Hours: Check website.

Cost: $6/person

5375 Remington Rd.
San Diego, Ca 92182
619-594-7946
Online: aztecaquaplex.sdsu.edu

photo: Toby Wells/YMCA

YMCA Pools

Head to a San Diego YMCA for the day. Check your local Y’s website, because some offer a free day open to the public (most holidays). You’ll find indoor (and outdoor pools) and most have a splash zone. The staff is friendly and many have family and kid’s workout classes. Day passes and memberships vary.

Online: ymca.org

Kroc Center Pool

Kids rule at these pools. You and your wee one (ages 6 -36 months-old) can play indoors in the therapy pool that’s warm for those tiny toes. More experienced swimmers can dive down for rings or practice their freestyle in the 4-foot deep pool. You’ll appreciate that it’s safe and fun.

Hours: Mon.-Fri., 1-4:30 p.m.; Fri. 7-8:30 p.m.; Sat. Noon-5:30 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Check schedule for therapy pool.

Cost: $10/adults, $8/youth; 2 and under free (includes whole facility)

6845 University Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92115
619-269-1460
Online: kroccenter.org/aquatics

photo: Beth Shea

UCSD Canyonview Aquatic Center

Streamlined, with a few perks. You’ll find that two 50-meter pools create oodles of space to splash about. Plus you’ll smile at the large number of lounge chairs and in-water mats. Kids can dive off boards, then warm-up in the relaxing whirlpool.

Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Cost: $10/person

9500 Gilman Dr.
La Jolla, Ca 92037
858-822-0015
Online: ucsd.edu/canyonview

photo: City of Carlsbad

Alga Norte Pool

There’s something for everyone at this water play haven. For little walkers, there’s a splash pad with benches close by for parents to sit. Little swimmers can splish-splash in the grand pool kept at a warm temp. Bigger kids can climb the obstacle courses, dive off the diving boards and bounce around during Inflatable Zone times. The pizza, pretzels and ice cream are popular at the snack bar and there’s a large (adult only!) whirlpool to relax in.

Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-7p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Cost: $5/adults; $3/youth; $2/spectator; $10/inflatable zone

6565 Alicante Rd.
Carlsbad, Ca 92009
760-268-4777
Online: carlsbadca.gov/alganorte

photo: City of San Diego

Allied Gardens Pool

Beginning swimmers can take the plunge for rings in the 2 feet deep pool entry area. The large 25-meter lap pool and diving board add to swim fun. There's also a clean indoor changing area with heated showers and a sweet spot to spectate with picnic tables and shaded bleachers. It's a great way to change it up on a hot summer day.

Hours: Mon., Weds., Fri., 2–3:30 p.m.; Tues. & Thurs. noon-3:30 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

Cost: $4/adult, $2/child

6707 Glenroy St.
San Diego, Ca 92120
619-235-1143
Online: sandiego.gov/alliedgardens

Bud Kearns Pool

Take a dip after a day at the zoo? Close by in Balboa Park this public pool is historic and clean. There's a large 22-yard long main pool. You'll find a sun deck with lounge chairs and for after the swim, heated showers and day use lockers. There's plenty of parking at this community spot.

Hours: Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–1 p.m. & 3:30-7:30 p.m.; Fri., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.;-Sun., Noon–3 p.m.

Cost: $4/adult, $2/child

2229 Morley Field Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-692-4920
Online: sandiego.gov/budkearns

Loma Verde Aquatic Center

Learn to swim with the instruction of good, kid-friendly swim coaches at this local spot. We love the toddler aquatics class, so littles get comfy in the water. The pool is warm and large, with an area for lap swim and rec swim. If you’re just spectating, they have free WiFi.

Good to know: This heated pool is open year-round. No locker rooms are available.

Hours: Check website.

Cost: $4/adult; $2/child

1420 Loma Ln.
Chula Vista, Ca 91911
619-409-1987
Online: chulavistaca.gov/lomaverde

photo: Woodland Park Aquatic Complex

Woodland Park Aquatic Complex

Soak up the fun here where you'll find a 1 meter diving board, a water slide, a wading pool and a 25 meter recreational lap pool. Bring lunch because there's also a picnic area. Head to this local hot spot where your little swimmers can find tons of friends.

Pool Hours: Check website.

Cost: $4/person; age 2 and under/free

671 Woodland Pkwy.
San Marcos, Ca 92069
760-746-2028
Online: san-marcos.net/play/aquatics

Where do you go to stay cool in the pool? Tell us about it in the comments!

—Nikki Walsh & Beth Shea

Featured photo: Eli Besser/Pardee Aquatics Center

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