Swimming Spots in the Bay Area this Summer!
Check out one of these 15 swimming spots in the Bay Area, but be warned, this is San Francisco and some of these swimming spots will be on the cool side. Though there are also sunny spots deep in the East and North Bays where much warmer weather is the norm.
From rope swinging into Bass Lake to taking a dip in the Contra Loma swim lagoon, these are the best (and cheapest) places to swim in the Bay Area.
1. Heart’s Desire Beach – Tomales Bay State Park, Inverness, CA 94937
This beach in the Tomales Bay State Park has been described as the most pleasant place to swim in Northern California. Iverness Ridge shields the beach from cold winds so the water is especially warm. On sunny weekends it can get really crowded, but a short hike in either direction can take you to similar but less crowded beaches, like Pebble Beach or Indian Beach. Heart’s Beach has a picnic area with barbecues, dressing rooms and toilets. Swimming is free and so is parking.
2. Veterans Memorial Beach – 13839 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Veterans Memorial Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the Russian River in Healdsburg. It’s open through summer, and swimmers are urged to only swim when lifeguards are on duty. There’s no cost to use the beach, but there is a $7 parking fee. We recommend you arrive early, as the quaint parking lot fills up pretty quickly. Make a day of it, as there are shady picnic areas and restrooms.
The water in the center of the river is deep because of a dam downstream, so be careful.
3. Bass Lake – 1 Bear Valley Road, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
A favorite amongst nudists and hipsters. It takes about an hour to hike to the lake (if you can resist stopping every minute to snap a pic of the views), and you can read the National Park Service’s trail guide and suggested hikes for Point Reyes (Bass Lake is towards the middle of the page). There’s also more detailed directions here.
The main attraction of Bass Lake is a rope swing that continuously gets cut down by a park ranger and promptly put back by a guy named Frank, who’s a legend around those parts. It’s free to visit.
4. Baker Beach – 1504 Pershing Drive, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, CA 94129
Let’s get the awkward out of the way first: The northernmost end of Baker Beach is where the nudists go to sunbathe. You want to soak up some sun in your birthday suit? Here’s the place to go.
An easy stroll from the often crowded parking lot, you’ll find a picnic area with tables, grills, and restrooms. Most folk come here just to sunbathe, as the water is very cold. It’s free to swim and park.
5. Hamilton Pool – 1900 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94115
There are two waterslides at this pool. What more motivation could you need to get over to the Hamilton Recreation Center for recreational swimming time? Recreation swimming happens every day (except Sunday when the pool’s closed) in the afternoon. Rates: $6 for adults and $1 for kids. The water can be on the chilly side.
6. Mission Community Pool- 19th Street & Linda Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
The 4,565-square-foot Mission Community Pool, constructed in 1926, was remodeled in 2013 and is a neighborhood favorite for Mission folk. It’s the only city-operated outdoor pool in San Francisco, offering a large pool for novices, recreational and lap swim programs during the summer months, and more. The murals outside are not to be missed.
7. Aquatic Park – Hyde Street & Beach Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
There are diehards who swim here every morning, rain or shine. You might not have that kind of ambition as the water is cold, but on that rare warm day this is a nice spot to dip your toes in. It’s free and open 24 hours. Feeling more adventurous? SwimArt offers expedition swims under the Golden Gate Bridge.
8. Coffman Pool – 1700 Visitacion Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94134
Because of its location, Coffman Pool is often described as one of San Francisco’s hidden treasures. People like the pool because it isn’t as busy as other San Francisco public pools, and there’s a UV system installed so it doesn’t use as much chlorine as typical public pools. Adults pay $6 to swim; minors under 18 cost $1.
9. North Beach Pool – 651 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
This is a bright and airy indoor pool in the heart of North Beach. There’s one warm pool and one cold pool. The pool’s schedule is packed with activities, so seek it out before you decide to drop in. Adults pay $6; anyone 17 and under cost $1.
10. Martin Luther King Jr. Pool – 5701 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94124
If you drive this is definitely a good choice since there’s an abundance of parking. The location has a 25-yard x 25-meter pool and a separate wading pool for tots.
11. Lake Anza – Lake Anza Road, Berkeley, CA 94708
This sandy beach is open to the sun and sheltered from the wind, making it a favorite for East Bay locals. Lifeguards are posted during swim season, but you can swim any time at your own risk.
12. Lake Temescal – 6500 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618
Lake Temescal has an accessible beach house adjacent to the swim area which offers changing rooms, vending machines, and showers. The swimming area is open spring through fall. Parking is $5 per vehicle and $4 for trailered vehicles. Dogs cost $2 per pooch. (Guide/service dogs are free.) The lake’s lifeguards are on duty from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
13. Cull Canyon – 18870 Cull Canyon Road, Castro Valley, CA 94552
When the swim area was constructed, a secondary dam was built to provide an inner swimming area complete with sandy beach. The swimming complex is open during warm months and has a lifeguard on duty. There’s a bathhouse, vending machines, and a 1.5-acre swim lagoon on site. It’s $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for kids under 16.
14. Shadow Cliffs Lake – 2500 Stanley Boulevard, Pleasanton, CA 94566
Most visitors say it’s not the prettiest of beaches (it’s an old quarry), but the water is pretty warm since it’s so far east. There’s a bathhouse and a “snack shack” that has snacks, water, and toys for the kiddies. It costs $6 to park. Dogs: $2 per dog. Guide/service dogs free.
15. Contra Loma Swim Lagoon – Frederickson Lane, Antioch, CA 94509
The lake’s swim lagoon has a sandy beach with access to restrooms, a concession stand, and a lift into the pool. Swimming is allowed only when lifeguards are on duty. From June to August the lagoon’s open daily from 11am to 6pm. There’s a $5 parking fee. Also, dogs will run $2 per pup.
Source: SF Curbed