Even at the height of summer, Seattle weather can be fickle. But when the mercury does begin to rise or heaven forbid… a full-fledged heat wave hits the Emerald City (gasp!), Seattle families flock to local watering holes to cool off. While a trip to the beach or spray park is always fun, nothing screams “summer” more than splashing around in an outdoor pool. And even though there are just two (yup) outdoor public swimming pools in the city of Seattle, and neither is, shall we say, in a convenient location, don’t throw in the towel just yet. With just a wee bit of effort, the quintessential outdoor pool experience is just a short dive (er, drive) away.


Colman Pool in West Seattle
This setting is quintessential Seattle (unbelievably stunning) and the facility offers plenty of floaties and even a corkscrew slide. It’s a 10 – 20 minute hike to get down to the pool, literally, so make sure kiddos are wearing decent walking shoes (i.e. no flip flops). The pool underwent major renovations last year so if you haven’t been in a while you will be pleasantly surprised. Also note that Colman pool does not have a wading area for little ones. Which is great! This is an experience in which you want to fully submerge. Note: Occasionally, the pool hosts swim meets so be sure to check the online schedule before you go.

coleman pool - west seattle

Colman Pool
8603 Fauntleroy Way Southwest
Seattle, Wa 98136
Online: seattle.gov/parks/aquatics/colman.htm

Cost: $3.75 to $5.25; $1 extra for slide (under 1 free)

Lowery C. “Pop” Mounger Pool in Magnolia
The great thing about this Magnolia pool is that there are actually two pools. One smaller, warmer, shallower pool perfect for teaching little fish how to swim, and the other is a big deeper pool, fit for big kids who are ready to careen down a 50-foot slide. This is a newer facility with all the things you want and expect for a classy pool experience: clean locker rooms, decent snack bar and plenty of lounge chairs. Which all adds up to this being a super-popular place. Check the online schedule for themed family swimming nights throughout the summer.

Mounger pool

Lowery C. “Pop” Mounger Pool
2535 32nd Avenue West
Seattle, Wa 98199
Online: seattle.gov/parks/aquatics/mounger.htm

Cost: $3.75 to $5.25; $1 extra for slide (under 1 free)

Henry Moses Aquatic Center in Renton
Short of driving 45+ minutes south to Wild Waves, the Henry Moses Aquatic Center is your next best bet for a water park-type of experience. With a 9,000-square-foot leisure pool with wave machine, two 26-feet high water slides, a six-lane lap pool, and a concession area, they aim to please. Note: the higher rates for non-Renton residents. In other words, if you’re not a local, plan on paying double for admission or find a local to tag along with.

Henry Moses Aquatic Center

Henry Moses Aquatic Center
1719 Maple Valley Highway (Cedar River Park)
Renton, Wa 98057
Online: rentonwa.gov

Cost: $4 to $14 (under 1 free)

Peter Kirk Pool in Kirkland
Ahh, Kirkland. With your kid-friendly parks and adorable lakefront shopping and district, you’re quite lovely this time of year. The pool, conveniently located in the center of town right near the library, is no frills, but that’s they way we like it. Make a day of it and stay late for one of their family swim nights (see schedule for details) filled with pool games, crafty activities and music!

outdoor pools

Peter Kirk Pool
340 Kirkland Avenue
Kirkland, Wa
Online: kirklandwa.gov/depart/parks/Aquatics/Peter_Kirk_Pool.htm

Cost: $4/person

Vashon Pool on Vashon Island
Yes, you will need to take the ferry to get there. But you won’t be disappointed. This is a fun, unfussy community pool located on a rustic, unfussy island. Swimming with your family at this pool is just one of the many destinations you’ll make when you explore Vashon Island with little ones this summer.

vashon outdoor pool via flickr

Vashon Pool
9600 SW 204th Street
Vashon, Wa 98070
Online: vashonparks.org/section_facilities/facilities_facilities_pg6.htm

Cost: $6/person; discount punch cards available

Seattle Wading Pools
Wait – there’s more! No, actually, there isn’t. Seattle Parks and Recreations’ numerous wading pools are just that – fit for wading, not swimming. Consider them an easy and exhilarating alternative to filling up your own plastic backyard wading pool – the city actually encourages you to come as a water-saving measure. Participating wading pools are filled with water only on hot days (above 70 degrees) and only in certain parks, so check online or call the wading pool/spray park hotline to see if your neighborhood park is on the list. Tots and wee ones will have a great time splashing around, and parents need only worry about getting their ankles wet. Oh, and bathing suits or swimming diapers are required. But we didn’t need to tell you that.


Online: seattle.gov/parks/wadingpools.asp
Wading Pool Hotline: 206-684-7796

Insider Tips: On those rare hot Seattle summer days, expect outdoor pools to be crowded, so plan accordingly: Check family swim hours online, arrive early and don’t be surprised if you have to stand in line. Also: big kids who want to swim in the deep end will need to pass a swim test (varies by pool; usually two widths of crawl stroke). Most pools charge an extra dollar to use the water slides, and take cash or check only. Want the pool to yourself? Go when it’s overcast or even raining. Hey, you’re getting wet anyway!

Where will you be swimming this summer? Let us know in the comments section below. 

– Kristina Moy & Allison Ellis

Photos courtesy of Kristina Moy, Lowery C. “Pop” Mounger Pool Facebook page, King County Parks Your Big via Flickr and Seattle Parks & Recreation