Swim at Strawberry Canyon Pool in the Berkeley Hills - 510 Families
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Swim at Strawberry Canyon Pool in the Berkeley Hills

Strawberry Canyon Recreation Area (SCRA) Pool was the first public pool recommended to me when I became a parent. Part of UC Berkeley’s campus, it’s located behind the university football stadium on Centennial Drive in the Berkeley Hills. The swimming area is quite large and lots of fun on a hot day.

Strawberry Canyon Pool is a scenic pool location with easy parking

There is plenty of space in the parking lot right out front for $1 per hour. The payment machine was broken during our visit and a sign said parking needed to be purchased online.

view of strawberry canyon pool at uc berkeley from the facilities building
An overhead view of the pool from the facilities building | Photo: Natalie Nicolson

Most of the pool is dedicated to recreational swimming, and about a third is shallow, kid-friendly water. There are plenty of lifeguards on duty and the water is warmer than most.

Since it’s a college campus pool, students often outnumber families. They typically stick to the entrance side of the pool with a fenced-in lawn, while parents and kids use the other side.

strawberry canyon pool lawn area
The lawn area to the left at the pool entrance is mostly filled up with college students. Photo Credit: Natalie Nicolson

Having spent a lot of weekends at the newly renovated Roberts Pool in Oakland, the facilities felt somewhat dated. The bathrooms and locker rooms needed maintenance. There were no kickboards or life jackets available for visitors to use. Much of the lawn and area with picnic tables and kid-sized basketball hoops were closed off, reserved for summer camps.

SCRA is not my favorite place to host a large party or bring an elaborate lunch given the lack of space and picnic tables available to day pass holders. We like it for a day visit because the location is beautiful, the families are friendly, and kids have a great time.

More places to swim for East Bay families >>

Pro tip: Because of the large size of the swimming area, I found it a little overwhelming with a speedy toddler. Whenever possible, bring a bonus adult to keep you company.

shade over a public pool
Trees provide lots of shade later in the afternoon. | Photo: Natalie Nicolson

Plan your visit to Strawberry Canyon Pool

Day passes must be purchased online on the day of your visit from berkeley.edu so you will need to create an account and show your receipt when you arrive.

Fees: $15: for ages 12 and up; $5: for ages 3-11; FREE for those under 3 and UC Berkeley students
$1 per hour parking

Hours
Open seasonally from the end of May through the end of October
noon to 6 pm (water closes at 5:30 pm)

Location: Centennial Dr, Berkeley, CA 94704 near the stadium

Website >

 

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