Summer is here and the water is calling. Even though Colorado is a land-locked state, there are plenty of places to take a dip, both in natural bodies of water and outdoor swimming pools. I’ve found 12 of the best places to swim in the Denver area, all with budget-minded water fans in mind.
Many local public pools have remained closed this year due to staffing shortages. In fact, many recreation centers have decided to keep the indoor pools closed during the summer season for that reason. Make sure to double-check any pool schedule before going for any changes.
Outdoor Swimming Pools
Break out the bottle of waterproof sunscreen and have a blast splashing under the sun at these outside pools. Many outdoor pools are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but it’s always good to check.
After being closed for a few years, this Wheat Ridge pool is back, and it’s better than before. Enjoy the zero-depth entry point, perfect for littles who want to splash and play without getting in deep water.
There are also lap pools, a 180-foot water slide, kid-sized slides and splash pad features. Plus, picnic tables and shady trees.
This pool does fill up, which means at peak times you may have to wait to get in. Luckily there’s a playground just across the soccer field.
Things to know: Regular hours run until August 11, but there are five more weekends of pool time after that (ends September 5). Check the schedule online as it can change, but in general the pool has open swim from 12 to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday; and open swim all day on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Admission runs $5 to $7 depending on residency and age. Save money with a 10-visit pass or season pass, ranging from $45 for single youth 10-visit pass to $270 for a non-resident 3-person season pass.
Location: 4355 Field St., Wheat Ridge.
Aztlan Outdoor Pool
This outside pool is pretty classic. There’s a deep end, shallow end, and a water slide. Bring a cooler with drinks and food and spread out in the grass or at one of the handful of picnic tables. Like many other Denver recreation centers, the outdoor pool is open until August 14.
Things to know: The community pool has open swim each day from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., then again starting at 3 to 6 p.m. Rates run $1 for ages 2 to 18; adults 19 to 24 are $3; 24 to 64 are $3.50; 65-plus cost $2. Pool passes for the summer start at $20 up to $50, which is the best deal if you plan on going a lot.
Location: 4435 Navajo St., Denver.
Barnum Park Outdoor Pool
Recently this sparkling pool got a one-million dollar makeover and it shows. There’s a splash pad for little kids and a deeper side complete with a water slide. Throw a picnic together and enjoy it at one of the picnic tables or under a shady tree on the grass.
Things to know: This community pool has open swim each day from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., then again starting at 3 to 6 p.m. Ages 2 to 18 are $1; adults 19 to 24 are $3; 24 to 64 are $3.50; 65-plus cost $2. Pool passes for the summer start at $20 up to $50, which is the best deal if you plan on going a lot.
Location: 370 Hooker St., Denver.
Cook Creek Pool
Enjoy swimming in one of the eight lap lanes, diving into 12-foot water, and dipping your toes in the zero-depth end of the pool. There’s also a pretty magnificent water play structure in the shallow end with slides and basket ball hoops.
Bring a picnic and make a day out of this adventure. There are tables to eat at and shade to escape the sun in.
Things to know: Visit the pool everyday until August 7, and just weekends August 8 through September 5. The pool is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Rates start at $4.50 up to $7 depending on the age and residency of the guest. There are also group rates and season splash passes available.
Location: 8711 Lone Tree Parkway, Lone Tree.
Globeville-Argo Park Pool
With a zero-depth entry point, water features and a water slide, this sparkling pool is perfect for kids. Even though inside the pool area there aren’t great places to sit, right outside the fence are tables, swaths of grass and a ton of trees.
Things to know: Visit this spot all season until August 13. Open swim runs each day from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., then again starting at 3 to 6 p.m.
Ages 2 to 18 are $1; adults 19 to 24 are $3; 24 to 64 are $3.50; 65-plus cost $2. Pool passes for the summer start at $20 up to $50, which is the best deal if you plan on going a lot.
Location: 4700 Logan St., Denver.
Mestizo Curtis Park Outdoor Pool
Kids love the splash-pad-playhouse feature at this neighborhood pool, and adults love the lap lanes. It’s a large pool great for families. Keep in mind there isn’t a lot of shade or tables inside the pool area, but since it’s right in the park, you can go outside the gates and picnic.
Things to know: Open swim runs each day from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., then again starting at 3 to 6 p.m. Ages 2 to 18 are $1; adults 19 to 24 are $3; 24 to 64 are $3.50; 65-plus cost $2.
Pool passes for the summer start at $20 up to $50, which is the best deal if you plan on going a lot. Visit this spot all season until August 13.
Location: 3181 Champa St., Denver.
Morse Park and Pool
Have you ever done a climbing wall in a pool? No? Well now is your chance at this facility in Lakewood. The pool also has a two-story water slide and plenty of room for lap swimming. Bonus, it’s touted as maintaining an 80- to 85-degree temp all summer, so hopefully that means less blue lips on your kids.
Things to know: Admission starts at $2 and goes up to $6, depending on age and residency. A family of four can get a day pass for $15 if they reside in Lakewood, or $18 if not.
The pool is open daily until August 14. Check the schedule online as times for open swim change. There are also aqua fitness classes you can sign up for.
Location: 8180 W. 20th Ave., Lakewood.
Natural Bodies of Water
Whether man-made or nature-made, these spots exude the swimming hole and lake-side beach vibe. We added on an indoor hot spring pool too, for those who want something a little extra.
This swimming spot feels the most like an ocean-side beach, and features volleyball, restrooms and changing areas, concessions, and plenty of space.
Another thing that stands out about this Aurora lake are the lifeguards, who are there from Memorial Day through Labor Day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Things to know: The swim area is open until September 30, daily when the reservoir is open. Keep in mind if there is lightning or bad weather, the swim beach will be closed.
Vehicle day passes to the area cost $10 during the week, and $15 on weekends. You can also get a $75 annual pass.
Location: 5800 S. Powhaton Road, Aurora
Bear Creek Lake Park
On the western side of Littleton is this bustling 2,624-acre park, and inside the park is Big Soda Lake. The mellow body of water has a great swim beach, perfect for those looking to get a dose of sun, sand and water.
There are grills, a beach volleyball area, lap lanes sectioned off, playground and some picnic shelters.
Things to know: The swim beach is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Fees start at $10 per vehicle ($5 for ages 62 and older and disabled guests) for a day pass to the park, or $80 for an annual pass.No dogs are allowed on this beach.
Location: 15600 W. Morrison Road, Littleton.
Chatfield State Park
In the center of Chatfield State Park in Littleton there’s Chatfield Reservoir, which boosts a man-made lake that’s about 1,423 acres. While it’s a prime spot for boats, there’s also a swim beach to enjoy.
Bring floaties, life jackets, sand toys, towels and anything else you might want at the beach. There’s not much shade here, so keep that in mind. Also, food is permitted, so pack a cooler with all your tasty treats and make a day out of it.
Things to know: Getting to the swim beach is a little tricky, but you have to start by entering the park. The main entrance is one mile south of C-470 on Wadsworth.
The swim beach area has ample parking and full facilities including showers (open through Labor Day). Visit this spot any time the park is open. Fees start at $10 per vehicle for a day pass to the park, or $80 for an annual pass.
Location: Chatfield State Park, 11500 N. Roxborough Park Road, Littleton.
Cherry Creek State Park
Head to the sandy beach for some summer fun in a natural setting, even if it’s man-made. There’s a roped-off swimming area, a bathhouse with restrooms, and plenty of places to plop down a towel and bucket of sand toys.
There are no lifeguards on duty, and the park doesn’t allowed pets, glass or charcoal grills on the beach.
Things to know: Daily vehicle passes are $11, or get an annual pass for $83. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: 4201 S. Parker Road, Aurora.
Indian Hot Springs
Sometimes you need to take a dip without slathering on a ton of sunscreen, or on those days when the sun is just too hot. Though this spot is a 30 minute drive from Denver, it offers little swimmers a naturally heated, indoor pool ripe with natural minerals.
The last part is good for the skin, but the heated part comes in when you have kids who often are freezing in pools, even in the middle of summer.
With the natural warmth, kids and their adults can swim for hours without worrying about getting chilly or getting too much sun.
Things to know: The pool is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can pack a lunch and eat in the cafe room. Bring your own towels and lock for the lockers (they can also be rented for $3.50). Rates start at $19 to $21, but save money with 10-visit punch card for $155. Bonus, kids 2 and under are free.
Location: 302 Soda Creek Road, Idaho Springs.