Sure, there are miles of great beaches in SoCal, including a few hidden gem beaches, but sometimes you want to cool off without sand and waves. It can be worth going a little farther to find a swimming pool that’s open to the public for recreational swimming and offers something special: Think slides, water play features, extended shallow areas for the little ones to splash in, or even just a beautiful, peaceful setting with cocktails and wifi. Here’s our list of cool destination swimming pools worth a drive in LA and OC.
Note that many of the destination pools normally featured in this post are closed during the 2020 health crisis; the information about the pools below is confirmed as of July 31, 2020. New closures are announced daily, however, so we strongly recommend calling before heading to any of these pools. For more swim center options, check this list of community swimming pools open in summer 2020.