Get Out

Where to Go to Swim in Seattle

Pool party! Who’s in?

By Jessie Wesley June 20, 2012

The more shallow the water, the easier it is to find the sunglasses you dropped to the bottom.

Nothing says summer like inflatable swimmies or a cannonball into the deep end. Here’s where to swim this summer:

• Starting June 23, lifeguards will be on duty at public swimming holes daily from noon to 7pm. (At other times, swimmers are allowed within 50 feet of the shoreline and at their own risk.) There are nine spots in the Seattle Park system, including one in Seward Park in the south end, which includes facilities for barbecuing, swimming, and boating. Madrona Park Beach has a low diving board and swimming raft in Lake Washington. Matthews Beach Park which holds the polar bear plunge in the winter, is a bit more temperate in summer; the park draws active types with room for a volleyball net and access to the Burke-Gilman Trail.

• Most wading pools will also be open starting June 23, although be sure to check schedules; park officials note that budge constraints are limiting the city offerings this summer. Luckily a few private companies have picked up some funding slack: The Admiral District Safeway has paid for the Hiawatha Playfield wading pool to open Saturdays, while the Hiawatha Advisory Council has made it possible for the Delridge Playfield pool to open on Sundays. An sponsorship in response to Seattle’s “most popular wish” will provide the funding for the Saturday operations of East Queen Anne Playground, Powell Barnett Park, and Wallingford Playfield wading pools.

• Somewhere between a lake and a wading puddle are Seattle’s public outdoor pools. Mounger Pool in Magnolia is now open 6am to 9pm daily and has family friendly parties every Friday (check the Rock and Roll Party June 22, which will have games, activities, and prizes). Coleman Pool in West Seattle, the city’s only public outdoor saltwater pool and home to a giant corkscrew slide, is getting a facelift, including replacement of the pool deck and parts of the pool shell—it reopens June 30.

• When only indoor chlorination will do, there’s the Ballard Pool and its rope swing, Evans Pool by Green Lake, and the Helen Madison Pool, which has facilities for both tots and adult lap swimmers.

• Though the city maintains a number of swimming spots, there are also a number of private ways to get wet. Membership is required for Lakeridge Swim Club and View Ridge Swim and Tennis Club.

For a complete list of Seattle city pools, beaches with lifeguards, and wading areas, check the Seattle Parks Department website.

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