Florida summers demand frequent immersion in a refreshing body of water. Yes, we have the Gulf of Mexico, but swimming pools offer a cool alternative, whether you’re a swimmer hoping to rack up laps, a parent in need of a water slide or a lounger longing for a tall drink and some relaxation. Let’s dive into some popular public pools.
Arlington Park and Aquatic Center
Athletic amenities for all.
Location: 2650 Waldemere St.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Saturday, noon-5 p.m.
Swimmers have respectfully shared lanes here for years, keeping exercise enthusiasts returning, stroke after stroke. For $4 and under, all ages can plunge into the plethora of pools: 50-meter lap pool, 25-yard instructional pool and wading pool.
Insider Tip: Swim classes. Baby and Me swim class, Adult Fitness, Stroke School, swim teams and a whole wave of other water exercises. You can also get fit on land, with outdoor basketball, tennis and racquetball courts plus a dog park.
Sun-N-Fun RV Resort
A splashy summer staycation.
Location: 7125 Fruitville Road
Hours: Every day, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
This 177-acre resort is a perfect weekend getaway for two—or for the whole family. Submerge into the splash park Monday-Thursday for $7 or buy a weekend daily pass for $9 (plus a fee for the Mega slide.) Movie Fridays feature a dive-in movie for child floaters while parents soak it all in with a cocktail.
Insider Tip: Summer camp is offered through Aug. 11. Check out themed summer weekends, including Circus Weekend and Everything Chocolate Weekend.
Lido Beach Resort
Bask like a blissful hotel guest.
Location: 700 Benjamin Franklin Drive
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, noon-7 p.m.
This mingling hot spot is the “it” place for locals seeking poolside bliss. Officially, only guests can swim in the pool, but visitors are welcome to patronize the poolside tiki bar. A relaxing scene just steps from the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.
Insider Tip: Happy hour from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. offers beer, house wine and premium well drinks for half price.
Sarasota YMCA/Selby Aquatic Center
A full-fledged aquatic playground.
Location: 8301 Potter Park Drive
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Saturday, noon-5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
At the Y’s Evalyn Sadlier branch near Palmer Ranch, you’ll find a 50-meter Olympic size pool, diving pool and a water park (with wild water slides). Not a member? $7 per person gets you in for the day.
Insider Tip: To claim the best seats arrive as soon as the doors open, 10 a.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sundays. And The Shark Bait Grill is an affordable lunch or snack option.
Lido Beach Pool & Pavilion
Come for the water fun, stay for the sunset.
Location: 401 Benjamin Franklin Drive
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m.
Adults pay $4, while seniors and children pay just $2 to cool off in the 25-meter, five-lane lap pool overlooking beautiful Lido Beach and minutes from St. Armands Circle. When the pool closes, grab your towel and walk down to the beach for a post-swim sunset.
Insider Tip: You can grab a snack at the Lido Beach concession stand right next to the pool. Must have? The lobster roll. But remember to enjoy at the picnic tables—no food or alcoholic beverages are allowed in the fenced-in pool area.