We love to share our favorite swimming pools, lakes, lagoons, and beaches in time for summer (and all year, too!). Here are some of our favorite places to splash with our families in the East Bay. Where do you swim?
Favorite Outdoor Pools (open seasonally)
- El Cerrito Pool – A shallow area with an active fountain makes this pool welcoming to little kids while older ones will love the slide. On warm days, a splash pad runs at the same location. Recreational swim hours change so check the schedule. (pictured above) Fees are $6 for adults, $3 for kids under 6, $4 for youth 7-17 years, and $3 for non-swimmers hanging out.
7007 Moeser Lane, El Cerrito
- King Pool, Berkeley – Located at Hopkins Park adjacent to a playground and tennis courts in North Berkeley, this public pool is nothing fancy, but has a shallow area and family swim hours during specific times of day. Find the PDF published by the City of Berkeley Aquatics program to see current Family Swim hours. $6 for adults; $3 for children; cash or check only.
1700 Hopkins Street, Berkeley
- Mills College – General public is $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.
5000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland
- Roberts Regional – We like the pool at Roberts Regional Park in the Oakland hills, off of Skyline Blvd; great playground there, too! 25-yard, heated swimming pool with a depth of 3 feet to 8.5 feet (no diving board), vending machines and lawn areas for picnics. $2 for ages 1-15 or 62+; adults pay $3. FREE under 1 year. $5 Parking Fee
10570 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland
- Strawberry Canyon – 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 are $10 for adults, $5 for kids under 12, kids 3 and under are free. There is a seasonal swim pass for kids for $70. The hours are impossible to remember, but are listed on this website.
Centennial Drive just East of Stadium Rim Way, Berkeley
- West Campus – At the quiet intersection of Browning and Addison, you can find another Berkeley public pool. Family and Public swim times vary. Since it is outdoors, this pool can be chilly. Check the schedule for hours. $6 for adults; $3 for children; cash or check only.
2100 Browning Street, Berkeley
Check out our guide to Bay Area water parks >>
Favorite Beaches (open seasonally)
- Crown Beach, Alameda – Crown Beach is open year round with no lifeguards or fees; changing room onsite. Check the water conditions before you go; swimmer's itch has been reported. Ick.
8th Street & Otis Drive, Alameda
- 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 features bathhouse, vending machines, free life jackets and lifeguards. Terrific for families with small children with shallow water and white, sandy beach. There's also a dock for stronger swimmers to visit. Check restrictions and hours.
18627 Cull Canyon Road, Castro Valley
- 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.
- Lake Anza – Like going to the beach, you'll want to bring sand toys and lounge chairs, and maybe your own picnic, although there is a snack bar on site. Located inside Tilden Park, a visit to Lake Anza is like a mini-vacation. Shade is limited, so bring an umbrella, too.
Central Park Drive in Tilden Park, Berkeley
- Lake Temescal – 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. See our summary of Lake Temescal.
6500 Broadway, Oakland
See also 10 great Bay Area beaches available with a little drive outside the East Bay.
Favorite Indoor Pools
For the perfect family fun outing at a swimming pool to play with your children, look for words like “Family Swim” or “Recreation Swim” on the linked schedules.
- Albany Aquatic Center – The facility includes both an indoor and outdoor pool. Family swim daily and the water is warm enough for little kids. Check the schedule. Fees: Adult $7; Youth (5-17) $4.25; Toddler (0-4) $3.
1311 Portland Avenue, Albany
- AquaRec at Aquatech, Alameda – Well known for its swim lessons, this gorgeous indoor pool (with adjacent cafe and bar, ahem) has family fun swim available for drop-in times too for $10/swimmer. Aquababy is cheaper at $8/swimmer but we know how relaxing that is.
2203 Mariner Square Loop, Alameda
- East Oakland Sports Center – The place you definitely want to hold your next pool party is a perfect year-round swimming pool with water slides and a lazy river. Check facility hours. Fees: Adults $10; Youth $3 with discounts for Oakland residents.
9161 Edes Ave., Oakland
- Emeryville Swim Center – This sunny pool is filled with camps and lessons throughout the season. Recreation swim happens three times each week and is $4 for adults; $2 for youth; FREE under 5. Check hours.
- Richmond Plunge – Recently reopened, this indoor pool has historic appeal and many classes with limited family recreation swim. Check the schedule. See our profile of the Richmond Plunge. $6.25; Youth $3.75; Tot Splash Fees: $2/swimmer with discounts for Richmond residents.
1 E. Richmond Ave, Richmond
- Richmond Swim Center – Recently renovated, this indoor pool offers a daily family swim time as well as a designated tot splash just for little ones (0-5). Check the schedule. Fees for Rec Swim: Adults $6.25; Youth $3.75; Tot Splash Fees: $2/swimmer with discounts for Richmond residents
1 East Richmond Avenue, Richmond
- Silliman Aquatic Center, Newark – This indoor water park in Newark has a lap pool and a heap of amenities for the kids. Read our review of Silliman, and please check the hours before you go, lines can be brutal. Fees: 0-2 yrs. is $3 and includes a swim diaper; everyone over age 3 $10.
6800 Mowry Ave, Newark
We'd love to hear about your swimming pool favorites that we forgot! Also, remember that water quality, prices, hours, and everything change all the time, so please check before you show up in your bikini with a cooler full of sandwiches and water bottles!
[Photos: Heather Flett, Whitney Moss, Anna Azimi, all rights reserved]