Summer Swimming: Outdoor Pools and Water Parks in Seattle, Tacoma and Beyond
Outdoor pools with a view, waterslides, best pools for tots, quarry pool and more
Kali Sakai and ParentMap staff
Outdoor pool season is here! In greater Seattle (and beyond), that means wave pools, simulated surfing pools, lazy rivers, zero-depth (beach-like) pool entries, aquatic play structures, and slides, slides and more slides.
We’ve compiled a hot list of outdoor pools and water parks worth a visit this summer. And one tip: Heated outdoor pools are a great destination on cool, cloudy days, too, and you'll have fewer crowds. (And also see our guide to indoor pools, and, of course, our spray parks guide.) If we missed one of your favorites, let us know; email email@example.com.
Open: May 28–early Sept, 2016, daily from late June
Water temp: 85 degrees
Overview: Overlooking the beach in lovely Lincoln Park in West Seattle, this Olympic-size saltwater pool was recently renovated and upgraded. It features a diving board and corkscrew tube slide. Pool toys like water noodles and mats are available, too. Important note: There is not a wading area for tots.
Tips: Colman is a popular swim destination that sells out on hot days. Come early to purchase your swim admission. This facility requires admission for anyone entering the facility, even if not swimming. Deep water swim test required for all those under 18. Modified swim test allowed with personal flotation device (life jacket). Note: Pool visitors need to make a short stroll through Lincoln Park to reach the pool.
Prices: $3.75/$5.25; $1 slide fee (in addition to admission). Ten–visit pass $33.50 youth/senior, $47 adult
Water temp: 85 degrees (big pool), 94 degrees (small pool)
Overview: Mounger is actually two pools: a larger, deeper pool, with a 50-foot corkscrew tube slide, and a separate warmer-water, shallow pool for young kids. For tots: Check out ”Pool Playland,” a “gentle” public swim (daily from 11 a.m.–noon) that takes place in the small, warm water pool only, and is for children 5 years and younger. An adult, 18 years or older, must accompany all children in the water. Water noodles and other toys are available during Pool Playland, Family Swims, and Fun Family Friday sessions. You may also bring your own toys at the lifeguard’s discretion.
Tips: This pool is also very popular and sells out on hot days, so come early. Family Fun Fridays feature games, activities and a different theme weekly. Look for “Free Slide Day.” Check Mounger's Facebook page for updates. Mounger Pool will be installing a new fixed shade structure.
Prices: $3.75–$5.25. $1 slide fee (in addition to admission). You can also purchase a 10–visit pass for $33.50 youth/senior, $47 adult.
Open: June 1–Sept. 11, 2016 Water temp: 80-83 degrees Overview: Set in one of Edmonds' loveliest, shadiest parks, this popular pool, run by the YMCA, features a diving area with diving board and a hot tub (for ages 6 and older). Note: There is not a separate shallow area for toddlers. Tips: If you have a big family make sure to get the Family Day Pass or consider an 11-visit family pass for $150 or family season pass for $480. Yost Park is also worth exploring, with shady forest trails, a creek, basketball court and a playground. Prices: Youth $4; adult $5; family (4–6 members) $15. If you’re a resident of Edmonds or a Dale Turner Family YMCA member, you’ll receive a discount on fees. Eleven-punch pass for family (4-6 members) $150; 11-punch pass youth $40; adult $50
Overview: Kids love the Water Walk, slide, inner tubes, water basketball hoops and diving board. Other amenities include a BBQ on deck for picnics and new sound system. For tots: The shallow end of the pool (depth of 2.5 feet) is designated the “Preschool Zone” and is only for kids 48 inches and under with adult supervision.
Tips: Plan to arrive 20 minutes prior to your session opening on hot days. After swimming, spend the day at McCollum Park and bring a picnic or a bike for the trails.
Prices: $4.50 per person per 75-minute session, ages 2 and under free. 10–visit punch card: $33; individual season pass: $55, household season pass: $135.
Water temp: 86 degrees (outdoor pool and wading pool)
Overview: Located in the heart of downtown Kirkland, this large, L-shaped pool features a deep area with a low diving board that bigger kids will enjoy. For tots: A separate wading pool for young kids is open during all public swims, and there are special “wading-pool only” sessions for for kids under 7 and their caregivers.
Prices: $4 per person per session or 10-visit pass $35. For a family of swimmers, check out the Household Unlimited Pass $260 (includes 2 named adults and named dependent children).
Water temp: Outdoor pool: 79–81 degrees. Indoor pool: 84–86
Overview: Samena is an indoor/outdoor pool with a diving board outdoors, and indoor events monthly. For tots: There is a wading area in the outdoor pool that's open when outside temperature is 72-plus degrees.
Tips: The least crowded times are family swim (only open to members).
Prices: Membership required: Non-members can take swimming lessons. Members get discounted lessons and access to Family Swim. Call 425-746-1160 x113 for membership rates. Dual family and single parent family rate options available.
Water temp: Lap pool 85 degrees, activity pool 85 degrees
Overview: Prepare yourself for lots of water excitement with the 26-feet high orange-and-blue water slides, the lazy river, wave machine and island lagoon. Shark Bites Cafe offers beverages and snacks. For tots: There is zero-depth entry to a water play structure, toddler water area, and numerous spray features.
Tips: Pre-sale admission begins at 9 a.m. for the noon–3:30 p.m. session. Sales begin at 1 p.m. for the 4–7:30 p.m. session. The second session of the day is usually less crowded. Water toys are not allowed during leisure swim sessions. Call 425-430-6719 to check on pool closures.
Prices: This is a public pool, cheaper for residents; find rates here. Full session $4–$8/residents; $8–$14/non-residents. Babies 1 and under are free. If you plan to go often, look into a season pass: $60 resident/$120 non-resident. The pass guarantees entry on all days.
Overview: This recent addition to Tacoma's public outdoor pools features a gradual zero-depth entry, a 100-gallon tumble bucket (fills up then dumps when full) and Pierce County’s first “Wave Pool,” which simulates an ocean wave experience. For tots: Little ones will enjoy the separate shallow pool and “sprayground” that sits adjacent to the main pool.
Tips: There are limited tables and chairs, so get there early if you’d like a lounge chair, or bring your own. Visitors can likewise bring their own food and beverages but no glass containers are allowed. Concessions are also available.
Prices: Full session $8/$10; half/evening session $6/$8; tots (ages 0–4) free. Season passes: $75 for first pass; $70 for additional. Swim passes are good for both Kandle and Stewart Heights pools.
Overview: Another popular outdoor public pool in Tacoma, Stewart Heights features a 160-foot water slide, lazy river, bubble pool (looks like a hot tub but pool temp), water basketball hoops and tumble buckets. For tots: There is a zero-depth entry area.
Tips: There are limited tables and chairs, so get there early if you’d like a lounge chair or bring your own. Visitors can likewise bring their own food and beverages but no glass containers allowed. Concessions available also.
Prices: Full session $8/$10; half/evening session $6/$8. Season passes cost $75 for first pass, $70 for additional. Swim passes are good for both Kandle and Stewart Heights Pools.
Open: Expected to open July 1, 2016, but depends on temperatures; check website and Facebook page. Once open, hours Friday–Sunday, noon–6 p.m. (closed Monday–Thursday)
Overview: Against the stunning backdrop of an old sandstone quarry, this 82-foot-deep freshwater pool promises the ultimate deep-water experience. Kids can bounce off or two diving boards and swim to a waterfall that flows into the quarry. The downside of all that deepness is that the water is cold. Plan this adventure for very hot days. For tots: There is also a slightly warmer wading pool for young kids.
Tips: Kids under 18 have to pass a swim test before entering the deep pool. Train-crazy kids will also enjoy visiting the old train depot next door (made of sandstone). It's open weekends. There are also trails in the park.
Prices: $4 day pass for non-residents of Tenino; $36/10-visit punch card. Residents $2 day pass; $18 punch card; $100 season pass (includes two adults and three children)
Open: Early season, Memorial Day–June 21; regular season, June 22–Labor Day Water temp: 82 degrees Overview: Swimmers will love the huge tube slide, diving board and water toys. On dry land they have the Snack Shack, foosball, ping-pong, and tennis courts next door. Tips: You must take a ferry to visit Vashon so consider making a day of it; check out this article on day-tripping to Vashon. Prices: $6.50 per person; tots free (ages 3 and under). Register here.
Open: May 23–Sept. 7, 2015, open daily starting June 3
Water temp: Varies among the different attractions.
Overview: Located just off I-5 in Federal Way, Puget Sound's biggest water park features 10 water attractions for every level of ability and comfort. Check out ride name and height/ability restrictions. Highlights include the new Mountain Dew Slide Complex, a triple slide with three dynamic tube slides offering riders a range of heights and experiences through the twists and turns of Slide Alley. There is also a 500,000 gallon wave pool and the Konga Lazy River. There are over 60 rides, slides and attractions within the park. For tots: For little ones, try Hooks Lagoon, a large pirate-themed water play area with fun spray features that's perfect for kids 36–54 inches tall. (Note: To experience the Hooks Lagoon Slides, children must be at least 42 inches and under 54 inches.)
Tips: Weekdays in June are less crowded. It is definitely recommended to bringing your own stroller, as they don’t provide rentals and the park is 70 acres. Rent your own cabana 24 hours in advance.
Prices: May 28-June 30 $16.99-$19.99 (discount for online purchase); July–Sept. $16.99-$30.99 (discount for online purchase). Day passes are good for admission to both Wild Waves and Enchanted Village. Kids 3 and under free; parking $10–$20. One admission ticket provides access to everything except two paid thrill attractions.
Deals: It pays to purchase online (but do it before you are at the park because discount tickets are not available for purchase via mobile devices if you are within park property). Other deals include group tickets and season passes available. Season pass prices increase as the season progresses so buy early to save: May $69.99, June $79.99, July–Sept. $89.99.
Water temp: 80 degrees Overview: Located just in Moses Lake, about three hours from Seattle, Surf n Slide is known as clean, affordable and toddler-friendly with zero-depth beach entry to the pool, a children’s splash pad with a variety of spray fountains, plus a Treasure Island water play structure and baby octopus slide. Kids and teens interested in more exciting water play will love the Flowrider (surfing simulator, one of only a few in the region), 200-foot slides and sand volleyball courts.
Tips: Use a season pass or punch card to enter via VIP entrance to bypass the line. Eat at the Hang Ten Grill or bring your own coolers or picnic basket (no glass containers, tobacco or alcohol allowed).
Prices: Daily pass: Tots free (4 and under), $8–$10 youth/senior/adults. A punch card (10 punches) is perfect for large groups and families because you can punch multiple people on one card: $75 for ages 5-12 and seniors, $85 for ages 13-17, $95 for ages 18–64. Season Passes: multiple options available depending on size of family. Check website.
Overview: If you're headed to the Chelan area for a summer getaway, don't miss this fun, family-sized water park that takes advantage of the natural topography for its slides (it's built on the side of a hill). Rides and attractions range from the Bug-a-boo slide and Aqua Zoo for toddlers to intermediate slides and the new lazy river ride for older kids to the Thunder Rapids and enclosed pitch black slide for the ultimate thrill-seekers. There's even a 60-person hot tub. For tots: There is a zero-depth wading and Aqua Zoo activity pool by the Lazy River.
Tips: Tuesdays tend to be a little slower than the rest of the week and the best months to come are late June or the last week of August. Note: Any goggles or sunglasses must have a strap for the sides.
Prices: Daily pass: $17–$22; free 2 and under; discounts for "PM Plunge," three hours before close Take advantage of free re-admittance — come and go all day long with a stamp on your hand.
Overview: Enjoy the two diving boards, Frog Slide (tiny slide), Lily Pads (rope ladder across pool inner tubes), tube slide, water basketball hoops, dry playground, concessions stand and covered areas with grills that can be rented. For tots: Little ones can ease into the pool with the zero-depth entry section of the leisure pool; and the tiny Frog Slide is a perfect beginner slide for young kids under four feet tall.
Tips: Since temperatures get into the 90s and 100s in Ephrata, bring lots of sunscreen and water, then seek shade under the giant umbrellas or nearby trees. Feel free to bring outside food and drink but no glass containers or alcohol. Come and go as needed with unlimited daily in-and-out privileges.
Prices: Daily pass: Tots free (5 and Under), $5.50–$6.50 kids and adults
Open: Open weekends starting May 28; open daily starting June 25–Sept.5, 2016
Water temp: Between 80–84 degrees
Overview: Just south of the border, near Birch Bay State Park, find this family-friendly water park with nine slides, a 40-person hot tub (you must be 7 or older), kiddie pool, volleyball, basketball and activity pool. Concession stand. The black slides include the Black Hole and a slide with a 60-foot drop (kids must be at least 12 years old and 100 lbs. to go on the drop). For tots: The kiddie pool, for ages 8 and under, has three slides.
Tips: Check online for special deals. Reserve a covered spot online. Outside food is allowed but no competitors food (all fast food and pizza prohibited). No coolers, alcohol or glass allowed.
Prices: $12.95–$19.95 for full day. $10.95–$14.95 for “late day” after 3 p.m. Senior viewer $5 and viewer refund $8. Check the Promotions page for deals.
Note: This article was originally written in 2013 and updated for 2016.