Best Free Public Swimming Pools in DC
No matter if it’s the middle of summer and your kids are begging for some pool time or winter has you looking for ways to get out of the house and burn some energy, there are plenty of public swimming pools in Washington, DC that are free for residents. All you need is to show proof of residency for some watery fun free of charge. So grab the pool toys and some snacks and head to the water at our favorite public pools in DC.
The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) operates seven aquatic centers for structured programs and lap swimming. These public pools are open to nonresidents as well. Admission, based on the swimmer’s age, ranges from $3 to $7. Discounted swim passes for 30 or 90 days are available. All public pools require a valid ID for entry.
Enjoy one of the 17 lanes at Takoma Aquatic Center. Photo by Maurice A. Butler/Facebook
Indoor Public Pools in Washington, DC
DC indoor pools return to full-capacity usage, with no reservations required, on Tuesday, June 1. Until then, use is limited to those who have booked a reservation online. Reservations can be made here until June 1. Masks are required inside all buildings for patrons older than 2 who are not swimming or engaging in vigorous exercise.
Open year round, these indoor pools are often part of recreation centers that offer family and children's programming. Check individual websites for hours and closures.
This recently renovated indoor facility features a lap pool, leisure pool, and a large indoor water slide. Open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6:30am-8pm; and Saturday-Sunday, 9am-5pm; closed Tuesday and Thursday.
Deanwood offers guests a lap pool, leisure pool with water slide, and plenty of programs for the entire family, from preschool aquatics to classes for seniors. Located within the Deanwood Recreation Center, it is open Monday-Friday, 6:30am-8pm; and Saturday-Sunday, 9am-5pm.
Ferebee-Hope offers programs and classes for children and adults, some of which are partnered with the YMCA. Hours vary between the summer and school year so be sure to check its website for the most up-to-date schedule.
Located in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, this indoor aquatics center offers six 25-yard lap lanes, including a dedicated aqua fitness lane. The entrance is located on Champlain Street NW, on the opposite side of the entrance to Marie Reed Elementary School.
This indoor center features a dedicated children's/leisure pool as well as a 17-lane lap pool. There's also a fitness center on site. Takoma Aquatic Center is open Monday-Friday, 6am-9pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9am-5pm.
Located in the Eastern Market, this indoor center offers an eight-lane, 20-by-25-yard pool, a kiddie wading pool, and community room.
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Cool off in family-friendly Rosedale Pool. Photo courtesy of DC Department of Parks & Recreation
Outdoor Public Pools in Washington, DC
Open for the summer from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. From May 29-June 27 outdoor pools are open weekends only from 10am to 6pm. Additionally, pools are open on Memorial Day, May 31. From June 28-September 6 most outdoor pools are open six days a week from 10am to 6pm. See the list below to determine which day each specific pool is closed.
Located near the Maryland border, Benning Park has a leisure pool that both kids and grown-ups can enjoy, plus a water slide for the younger ones. The pool is closed Thursdays.
The metro area's most popular outdoor public swimming facility, Francis Pool features three separate pools, shady spots, and plenty of umbrellas to cool off under, as well as two 25-meter lap lanes for swimmers looking to get a workout in. Francis Pool is closed on Tuesdays.
Located in Ward 5, Harry Thomas Sr. Pool has been ranked as one of the city's best public pools. With a large outdoor pool and children's wading area, it's perfect for families with both younger and older children. Closed on Tuesdays.
This small comunity pool, also in Ward 5, is set at the bottom of two hills on the east end of Langdon Park. There is a community center on-site and plenty of outdoor activities available in the summer.
This outdoor pool has a unique L-shape, which offers plenty of swimming space for families. Best of all, there's a playground on-site for kids who want to play in and out of the water. Oxon Run is closed Mondays.
Located in Petworth, this wonderful outdoor pool is designed specifically for children ages 12 and younger. So bring the younger kiddos and enjoy. Park View Children's Pool is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Younger children will love the slides and kiddie pool at Rosedale Pool. There's also a larger lap lane and a library and community center on-site. The pool is closed Wednesdays.
DC Pools: Things to Know Before You Go in 2021
- Most locker rooms, lockers, and showers are available for use.
- Face coverings (masks) are required for all patrons older than 2 when indoors, including in locker rooms and recreation centers.
- Face coverings are required on the pool deck for patrons who are not fully vaccinated.
- Pools that reach maximum capacity will follow a “one-in, one-out” policy.
- For other questions, review the DC pool safety guidelines.
Originally posted in 2019. Writer Krystal Alston contributed to this 2021 update.