Where Do You Swim in the East Bay? - 510 Families

Where Do You Swim in the East Bay?

Thank you to Swimply for sponsoring our guide to all the great places to swim in the East Bay and greater Bay Area. This guide is evolving. Save 20% off your first swim with the code 510FAMILIES!

Each summer, we love to share our favorite swimming pools, lakes, lagoons, and beaches. Public swimming pools and beaches are reopening, and your family can rent a private pool from someone’s backyard, too. Capacity limitations may apply. You may need reservations.

swimming girl with parents at pool
Swim with only your family & friends in a Swimply rental | Photo provided by Swimply

Private Pool Rental | Public Outdoor Pools | Public Beaches

Swimply Lets You Rent a Private Pool by the Hour

Swimply.com lets you have your own swimming pool for the afternoon in a totally genius, socially distanced for families way! Swimply is a marketplace for swimming pools, listed and loved by neighbors; people not using their swimming pool can list it and the rest of us can rent it when we want to take a dip. Depending on the listing, pools can accommodate anywhere from one person to a big group of friends and family.

Browse through the app (available on both Apple and Google app stores) or on the website to see what is available and convenient for you. Search by location, group size, or extra features. Swimming pool rental starts at about $50 per hour, which makes for a pretty affordable swim party if you can buddy up with another family — and the place is all yours!

Use the promo code: 510FAMILIES for 20% off your first swim. Rent a beautiful private pool today >

Favorite East Bay Outdoor Swimming Pools (open seasonally)

King Pool, Berkeley

Right next to the newly renovated King Playground in the Hopkins Street neighborhood, King Pool is a heated outdoor pool that is now open again after recent renovations. Family and recreational swim is offered every day during the summer months. The catch is that you must register through the city website to swim; no drop-ins allowed. Check the schedule here> 

Strawberry Canyon Pool, Berkeley

On the UC campus, this large lap pool has a big area for families and a wading pool for toddlers. There is a grassy area to park yourself in for snacks.
Fees: Day pass fees are $15 for adults, $5 for kids under 12, kids 3 and under are free. You must buy admission in person. The hours are impossible to remember so you’ll want to check here and possibly this website.
Centennial Drive just East of Stadium Rim Way, Berkeley

West Campus Pool, Berkeley

This outdoor heated pool in West Berkeley offers both family and recreational swim every day throughout the summer. You’ll need to register through the city website before going, and check the hours here> Our experience is that it’s not always the warmest of pools.

El Cerrito Swim Center, El Cerrito

There are several options for recreational swimming & they fill up quickly: June 20th-August 14th, Monday – Thursday 9am-10:30am for ages 7 years old and under with Parent/Guardian, you can use the shared space in the Activity Pool near the slide to swim, float, and have fun! The slide is not currently open, but the back portion of the pool is available for swimming. The all-ages option, rec swim, takes place in the Activity Pool and Splash Park on June 13th – August 14th, Monday – Friday 12:30pm-3:30pm and Saturday & Sunday 12:30pm-4pm Due to low staff, Family Swim times, as well as capacity, will be limited. They are working diligently to hire more staff as summer ramps up, so expect hours and capacity to adjust soon. ProTip: On hot days, capacity limits will be reached, so go early! Check the hours >
Fees: Under 7 Drop-In: $4 per person, 2 years and older, FREE 1 year and under; Open all ages rec swim: $8 – Ages 18+, $5 – Ages 1-17 years, FREE – Ages 1 year and under
7007 Moeser Lane, El Cerrito

Emeryville Swim Center, Emeryville

The Emeryville Center for Community Life (ECCL) runs this aquatic center and community swimming pool for the City of Emeryville including swim lessons and recreational swim time for families. They also offer swim parties for Birthdays. More info here>

Mills College, Oakland

General public pays $8 at this lovely lap swimming pool at Trefethen Aquatic Center in the hills. FREE for under 3. Large shade tents, no slides or frills. Fill out the waiver before you suit up.
5000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland

Encinal & Emma Hood Swim Centers, Alameda

Both of these outdoor pools in Alameda offer public family swim times throughout the summer. Drop in is $3-$6 depending on residency. Check their website to make sure they’re open. Summer swim passes are also available. More information here>

Rankin Aquatic Center, Martinez

With pools, slides, and a water play zone with dumping buckets, our kids love this affordable mini waterpark. Rankin Aquatic Center is a family favorite. Check hours.
Fees: 2 and under are free, youth 3-17 are $4, adults 18-54 are $6, and seniors 55+ are $5. Or grab a one-day family pass for $20.
100 Buckley St, Martinez

Happy little girl jumping into outdoor swimming pool in a tropical resort during family summer vacation. Kids learning to swim. Water fun for children.

Favorite East Bay Indoor Swimming Pools

Albany Swim Center, Albany

There are both indoor and outdoor pools, with family rec swim offered most afternoons during the summer (the hours can change often, so check the website before packing up your towels and goggles!). Be prepared for random closures and time changes at this pool (Albany is notorious for staffing shortages). Be sure to check the website before going, or subscribe for email updates. More information here>

Aquatech, Alameda & Concord

You’ll need to register and pay $15 per person to swim at Aquatech. Capacity is limited so you’ll need to search their online reservation system to find a time to swim. Recreational hours are offered in Alameda Wednesdays – Fridays: 12:30pm – 2pm and Saturdays – Sundays: 4:30pm – 6pm & 6pm – 7:30pm. Concord hours are Wednesdays – Fridays: 12:30pm – 2pm, Saturdays – Sundays: 2:30pm – 4pm. More information here>

East Oakland Sports Center Pool, Oakland

East Oakland Sports Center Pool is located at the East Oakland Sports Center next to Ira Jinkins Recreation Center. The Aquatic Center includes a 9,000 sq. ft. indoor water park featuring a white water slide, activity pools, beach entry pool (sloping pool entrance), lazy river and a two lane lap area ensuring fun for the entire family. They offer an Aquatic Playtime (6 & under) parent/guardian must be in the water 11am-12pm (Monday-Thursday), and a Public Recreational Swim (No Waterslide) 1pm – 4pm (Monday-Friday) 1pm-4pm (Saturday). Adults $8, kids $3. They also have birthday parties. More information here>

Richmond Plunge & Richmond Swim Center

Both of these indoor pools in Richmond are great options for swimming in the East Bay. The Richmond Plunge is huge and has recreational and tot swim times available throughout the week in the summer. The Richmond Swim Center has similar recreational swim offerings along with a 1-foot deep wading area, and some spray features that offer excitement for little ones. Check summer hours here>

Silliman Aquatic Center, Newark

This crazy fun indoor swim center has loads to keep your little ones entertained. Read our review here> Advanced reservations are preferred, but drop-in is available. Summer rec hours are: Monday – Friday 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm; Saturday 12:30 pm – 3pm | 3:30pm – 6pm; Sunday 12:30 pm – 3pm | 3:30pm – 6pm. They’re also open on July 4, 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm. Ages 3+ are $11, ages 0-2 are $3. Check the website before going as they sometimes have closures. More information here>

Worth the Drive: Walnut Creek and San Ramon Pools

Castle Rock Swimming Pool, Walnut Creek

Castle Rock Swim Area is part of a larger EBRPD regional recreation area. The Castle Rock pool complex at Diablo Foothills features a 30 x 70 foot chlorinated swimming pool and deck area. As of Memorial Day 2022, the pool is open. Cash and check only (no credit cards). Hours are 11am to 6pm (water closes at 5:30pm). Starting June 3 to August 21: Thursdays through Sundays only. Starting August 27 to September 18: Weekends and holidays only. Check current opening status at Castle Rock Swimming Pool info >

Clarke Memorial Pool, Walnut Creek

Opening for summer hours in June, Clarke offers a wading pool, recreational section of the 50m pool, and diving well to splash around and play. The Inflatable Obstacle course access is available for $2 extra (read our experience here). The Clarke pool is in Heather Farm Park, so it’s a great day trip for families! Summer Hours: M-F 1pm-4pm, Sat/Sun 12pm-5pm. Prices: Adult 18+: $7.00, Youth 7-17: $6.00, Child 0-6: $5.00

walnut creek swimming pool
Obstacle course in Walnut Creek swimming pool

Larkey Pool, Walnut Creek

Larkey is a favorite and is offering sprayground drop-in starting in June. During recreational swimming at Larkey, the large sections of shallow and deep water are open along with the diving boards and the sprayground. During sprayground only hours, only the sprayground is open and the pool is not available for recreational swim. Summer Hours: Sprayground: June 13 – August 5, 2022: Monday – Thursday 10:30 am-12:30 pm & 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm. Rec Swim: M-F 1pm-4pm, Sat/Sun 12pm-5pm. Sprayground Prices: $2/Person Rec Swim Prices: Adult 18+: $7.00, Youth 7-17: $6.00, Child 0-6: $5.00. Check Hours Here >

San Ramon Olympic Pool and Aquatic Park

The San Ramon Olympic Pool and Aquatic Park is another favorite of 510 Families readers who are looking for a warmer destination in which they can enjoy a pool. Reservations are not required. This pool features an awesome play area for toddlers and preschoolers. Check Spring/Summer Hours Here >

Splash fun at San Ramon Olympic Pool | Photo: Kat Choi

Favorite Beaches Where You Can Actually Swim (open seasonally)

East Bay Regional Park swim options are awesome and affordable. Crown Beach and Keller are FREE, while the rest listed here are $3 for adults and $2 for kids. Drop-in, or check if pre-registration is available if you want to make sure you can get in on busy weekends.

Crown Beach, Alameda

Crown Beach is open year-round with no lifeguards or fees; changing room is onsite. Check the water conditions before you go; swimmer’s itch has been reported. Ick. We’ve been oodles of times though, all without issue.
8th Street & Otis Drive, Alameda

Lake Temescal, Oakland

Another oasis in the middle of a city, Temescal Park offers ample picnic spots on grass as well as on the sandy beach of the lake. It’s been a while since this local lake has been open for swimming, but apparently, the water is okay this summerRead more about Lake Temescal > Check the website for more info>
North Entrance: 6500 Broadway Oakland
South Entrance: 6502 Broadway Terrace Oakland

Keller Beach, Richmond

This gem is located in the Point Richmond District at Miller/Knox Regional Park in southwestern Richmond; no lifeguard but lots of sand, water, and pretty views. See Whitney’s review of Keller Beach.
Dornan Drive & Western Drive, Richmond.

Cull Canyon, Castro Valley

A human-made 1.5-acre swim lagoon with a real sandy beach all around the edge in a natural setting surrounded by trees. It also features a bathhouse, vending machines, free life jackets, and lifeguards. Terrific for families with small children with shallow water and white, sandy beaches. There’s also a dock for stronger swimmers to visit. Read about our visit to Cull Canyon > Open weekends and holidays beginning April 30, 2022, and weekdays starting May 31, 2022. Check restrictions and hours.
18627 Cull Canyon Road, Castro Valley

Don Castro Swimming Lagoon, Hayward

A sandy beach with a machine-made lagoon gives the best of both beach and swimming pool vibes. We love the toddler-friendly shallows. Don Castro is a family favorite. Opening for the Summer 2022 season on Memorial Day. More information here>
22400 Woodroe Avenue, Hayward

Find local East Bay Private Pools on Swimply

We found several wonderful-looking East Bay swimming pools that look lovely and dozens more if we’re up for a road trip to Marin or the South Bay. Some backyards have premium amenities that you can add to your bookings like an outdoor kitchen, trampoline, movie screen, or hot tub.

Would you rather swim at:

Why not all of them on different days?!

pool party with friends on floating tubes
You and your kids can have the whole pool to yourselves. Just add friends and swimsuits | Photo provided by Swimply

Favorite East Bay Swim Spots Closed for Summer 2022

More Ideas to Splash and Cool Off in the Water

See also more great Bay Area beaches available with a little drive outside the East Bay.

Check out our guide to Bay Area water parks >>

Pick your favorite splash pad for little kids>>

Find pools doing swimming lessons for East Bay kids >>

Use the promo code 510FAMILIES for 20% off your first Swimply swim. Rent a beautiful private pool today >

Stinson Beach with Kids
Zayn gets buried in sand at Stinson Beach | Photo: Anna Azimi

Big thanks to Swimply for sponsoring our guide to East Bay swimming pools and giving us nearly endless options for a little family swim party. Use the promo code 510FAMILIES for 20% off your first swim. Rent a beautiful private pool today >

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[Photos: DepositPhotos, Swimply, Kat Choi, Anna Azimi, all rights reserved]


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3 thoughts on “Where Do You Swim in the East Bay?”

  1. Hi- one extra helpful piece of info is which of the pools allow for kiddos own PFDs.

    Richmond Plunge and El Cerrito Swim Center do not.
    Albany Community pool and East Oakland Swim Center do.


  2. We go to the Pinole Pool fairly often but you HAVE to call ahead. It is run by a swim club for the City of Pinole and have been known to close way earlier than posted hours. They run a snack window and better still, if they are following their own rules, clear the pool every hour for 15 minutes for adults only in the water, so you can get in a few laps while your kids glare at you over their popsicles on deck!
    We also have added the Martinez pool (30 minutes away from EC) to the rotation because it’s always warmer there and they have an amazing “dumpy bucket”. Again, check hours (but rec swim is 12-4 weekdays during the summer, not sure about weekends).

  3. Is Mills College pool open to children again? I thought it was just lap swim. The date on this article is June 2022. I checked the Mills College Trefethen website and I don’t see any Rec Swim or children’s hours; just lap swim. ??

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