Our contributor today is Berkeley mom Nila Rosen who tipped us off to the idea of researching in advance of a road trip to locate a community swimming pool that will break up the drive. Bonus: post-swim napping in the car.
The Calistoga Community Pool is my favorite pool to stop at when venturing north to wine country. First of all, for Bay Area folks, it is of course HOT up there over the summer so dips in pools feels well, like a summery thing to do. Second, this pool is actually two large pools– and both are the luxurious salt water kind.
The first pool is one of those wonderful kiddie pools for all ages — one that is large and clean. It spans from 1 foot to 4 1/2 feet and more or less feels like a hot tub for adults. The wading area offers water bucket features and spouts for little ones, and a one-year old can stand in this pool at the same time a 12-year old can play in it.
The second pool is deeper — 4 feet to 12 feet and boasts an excellent diving board. I witnessed two 7-year old boys (mine included) lose their hesitation of the unknown and jump off the diving board for the first time in their lives. It is low enough that even an adventurous adult will whip out her diving skills that haven't been in effect for 20 years.
The snack bar is limited, so bring your own cooler if you don't want your kids eating chips and sodas. There are picnic tables and lovely grassy areas, including a bit of shade, but an umbrella would be nice.
Adults are $4 each and kids are just $2, so a family of 4 can spend the day there for just $12. Parking is free.
The town of Calistoga is just a three minute drive away, so you could indulge in staying overnight and go to the fancy and expensive hot springs one day and then compare it to this lovely and cheap body of water the next. Or just make it a day trip and go out to dinner in the town after a day at the pool. I've had to drag my kids away from this place after three full hours in the water.
Check the website before you go. This year's swimming season ends on October 20, 2012.