With scorching Georgia heat heading our way, it won’t be long before we begin seeking the pale blue waters of a swimming pool to help us beat the heat — and have fun at the same time.
And while private swim clubs dot the metro Atlanta landscape, there are plenty of nice public pools offering something for everyone — from slides and splash pads for the little ones to swim lanes for serious swimmers.
Many public pools hold special events throughout the summer, including poolside movies, ice cream parties and of course, splash contests. Mountain Park Aquatic Center will host a Hawaiian-inspired party in late June, and the outdoor pools at Emory University will host a dive-in movie night, also in June (see below for more information).
Also worth noting: Almost all public pools offer swim lessons throughout the season.
Bodies of water have a way of attracting a crowd, and the public pools tend to get very full, so try (whenever possible) to the avoid peak hours (such as the middle of the day on the weekends). Aim to go during the week or when the pool first opens.
Here’s a guide to some of metro Atlanta’s best public swimming pools.
Murphey Candler Park Pool
Murphey Candler Park Pool is a lovely community pool in the midst of a gem of a park in DeKalb County that also includes a lake, trails, picnic areas and ballfields. It’s located just off Ashford Dunwoody Road barely inside the Perimeter, but you will feel as though you are stepping away from a metropolis and into a peaceful wooded getaway. In recent years, the pool underwent major renovations, which include new bath houses and diving board. Shaded by tall pine trees, the pool opens May 28 and stays open through Labor Day. It will host events throughout the summer. Also worth noting is the affordable recreational swim team — just $52 for the season. For more information and to register, go to www.mcmarlins.com.
The 411: $3, child; $5, adult; and $1, senior. Summer passes are available and cost $60 for an individual senior, $80 for a child, $120 for an individual adult and $250 for a family of four.
Noon-6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays; noon-8 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays; 1-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. (These hours are for when the kids are out of school; see website for reduced hours once school resumes.) 1551 W. Nancy Creek Drive N.E., Atlanta. (The pool is actually located on Candler Lake West.) 770-936-5468, www.brookhavenga.gov/city-departments/parks-recreation/aquatics.
Emory University’s Outdoor Pools
The Emory Aquatics Center at the Student Activity and Academic Center is a premier outdoor swimming facility. College kids, young families and retirees converge at Emory University’s outdoor pools, home to an Olympic-size pool with 12 lap lanes, a shallow end (that fills up with little ones and their parents), two 1-meter diving boards and two 3-meter diving boards.
There are also a teaching pool and a kiddie pool. You can buy a 14-visit guest pass that, along with the pools, also gives you access to eight tennis courts (including two clay), an outdoor sand volleyball pit, indoor and outdoor basketball, a fully equipped fitness center, locker rooms and a cafe. There are also two outdoor terraces, a grill, and plenty of seating and shade with sky blue umbrellas and chairs.
The 411: $120 for a 14-visit guest pass that never expires. Kids 2 and under are free. Summer family memberships cost $620. (Emory faculty/staff and affiliates/alumni can get passes/memberships at a significant discount.)
Summer facility hours, now through Labor Day: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; noon-9 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Pool remains open until Nov. 1 for those with extended memberships. See website for reduced hours after Labor Day.
Special events: a Memorial Day party from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May 30 featuring a scavenger hunt in the pool for about $100 worth of coins, and a slippery watermelon pool game (free with regular admission fees). Also, the Emory pools will host a dive-in movie night at dusk on June 17 ($5 per family plus regular admission fees).
Planning ahead: The visitor center parking is free on the weekends and during the week after 4 p.m.
Student Activity and Academic Center (SAAC), 1946 Starvine Way, Decatur. 404-712-2430, saac.emory.edu.
Hang poolside on Peachtree at W Atlanta-Buckhead
For those seeking a little daycation for adults, the W Atlanta-Buckhead may be just the place. From mid-May through early September, every Sunday from 1-6 p.m., the hotel’s outdoor pool is open to the public for a “Sundaze” event. Hang poolside on Peachtree, dip your feet in the infinity pool, enjoy music presented by rotating DJs, and cool off sipping a mojito, glass of chardonnay or peach-and-yogurt smoothie. Nosh on cheeseburger and fries or a chicken Caesar salad wrap. Your $25 Sundaze pass includes free valet parking and one complimentary drink. W Atlanta-Buckhead, 3377 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta. www.watlantabuckhead.com.
Overlooking Lake Clara Meer, the Piedmont Pool features a beach entry, four lap lanes, and a current channel. There are also concessions, a small splash pad for the little ones, locker rooms, showers and lounge chairs on a landscaped deck. With almost 50,000 people swimming in this intown pool from Memorial Day until Labor Day each season, expect a crowded spot for sunbathers and swimmers, especially on sunny weekend days.
For 2016, the pool opens for pool pass holders on May 28 and the following day for everyone else. The season lasts until Sept. 5 (Labor Day).
For swim lessons, go to www.piedmontpark.org/do/2016_Swim_Lessons_Piedmont_Park.pdf.
The 411: $1, children 5 and under; $2, children 6-16; $4, adults (17-54); $2, seniors (55 and older). Season passes (with access to extended hours): individuals, $175; couples, $290; families, $290-$395; and seniors, $125. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; noon-5 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. Piedmont Pool, 400 Park Drive, Atlanta. 404-875-7275, ext. 324, www.piedmontpark.org/do/swimming.html.
Recommended parking is in the SAGE parking facility in the park.
Wills Park Pool
Experience an Olympic-size pool with three diving boards or kick back on the provided lounge chairs.
There is no longer a baby pool at this Alpharetta city pool, but the little ones will happily splash in a fun new aquatic play pad. Stretching 2,000 square feet, this “Splash Zone” area features a whale, pelicans and palm trees with spray nozzles that shoot water. A concession area sells snacks, but food and drinks can be brought in from outside, too.
Special events take place each summer, and they’re usually free with admission.
For swim lessons, call 678-297-6100.
The 411: $3 per person; $1 for people 50 and older; free for ages 3 and younger. Pool passes also available: $150 for families ($225 for non-Alpharetta residents); $70 for individual ($105 for nonresident).
Open May 28-Aug. 7. Noon-5 p.m. and 7:30-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; noon-5 p.m. Fridays; noon-8 p.m. Saturdays; noon-8 p.m. Sundays (noon-5 p.m. Mondays for Alpharetta city residents and pool pass holders only). (These hours are for when the kids are out of school; see website for reduced hours once school resumes.) 1815 Old Milton Parkway, Alpharetta. 678-297-6108, www.willspark.com/swimming.html.
Mountain Park Aquatic Center
This facility sports an indoor lap pool that’s open all year. But it’s the outdoor leisure pool (more like a mini water park) that sees the most action during the summer. Its beach-style, zero-depth entry allows swimmers to gradually enter the water. There’s a play area for kids to splash around, as well as the Lazy River, a sectioned-off portion of the pool shaped like a figure-eight with a slow and easy current. A pair of giant water slides shoot thrill-seeking guests into the pool below.
There are special events planned throughout the summer. They include two evening swims known as Dip and Dine, 6:30-8:30 p.m. June 14 and July 12 (regular admission costs; Little Caesars pizza will be available for purchase). Another is a Hawaiian-inspired party with a steel drum performance, Hula Hoop and limbo contests, 6:30-9 p.m. June 28 ($8 a person covers admission and dinner of hot dogs, pretzels and Hawaiian punch). Preregistering on website is recommended but not required.
For swim lessons, call 678-277-0870.
The 411: $3.25 for Gwinnett residents and $6.25 for non-Gwinnett residents for 3 and under and 50 and up; $4.25 for Gwinnett residents and $8.25 for non-Gwinnett residents for ages 4-10; $5.50 for Gwinnett residents and $10.50 for non-Gwinnett residents for ages 11-49. Summer passes available: $79.50-$545.90.
The leisure pool opens on May 28 and remains open through Labor Day.
Summer hours for outdoor leisure play pool: noon-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 1-6 p.m. Sundays. (For complete hours on indoor lap pool and for reduced hours at leisure pool from Aug. 10-Sept. 7, go to www.gwinnettparks.com.) 1063 Rockbridge Road, Stone Mountain. 678-277-0870.