As the school year winds down, your thoughts may be turning to summertime activities geared toward the whole family. And with forecasts of hot, hazy, humid days fast approaching, what could be better than a dip in a cool pool or watering hole? Can’t afford a country club or pool membership? No problem! Many low- or no-cost options for escaping the summer heat are in your immediate area or are a short drive away.
Water safety should always be your first priority, so if anyone in your family doesn’t know how to swim, this might be a good time to register for swim lessons. You will be giving the gift of a lifelong – and potentially life-saving – skill.
In the immediate Capital Region, several options are tailored to specific age groups, including programs offered by the following organizations and municipalities. Additionally, free learn-to-swim programs are being offered at a host of state parks this summer, and several of them are in the Capital Region or Saratoga Springs area. Details about each park location and the sessions available are included on this website. Please contact the individual programs for more information, or contact your local American Red Cross office about its learn-to-swim program.
Listed below by county are just some of the public swimming locations around the Capital District and beyond where you and your kids can cool off in the summer. For a more comprehensive listing, be sure to consult your local government/county websites or tourism sites.
Albany – The City of Albany Department of Recreation offers several outdoor swimming, wading, and spray pools scattered throughout the city, as well as the Mater Christi pool, at the site of the former Mater Christi Seminary and the current Correctional Services Training Academy. Admission is free. The outdoor locations are open from June 26, 2015 to September 8, 2015. Some of them are “zero-depth entry” pools, so they allow you and your child to walk in gradually, an especially nice feature for the smallest tots.
Altamont – The Bozenkill Park pool is open noon to 7 p.m. during the summer, and both residents and non-residents are welcome. The admission fee for the pool is nominal, and children younger than five are admitted free of charge. Parking is free for village residents. Affordable swim lessons ($25 for five lessons) for children three to 12 are offered throughout the summer.
Bethlehem – The Elm Avenue Park pool is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting June 10. The pool closes September 7, 2015. Town of Bethlehem residents and their guests are eligible to use the facilities, which include a 50-meter pool, an intermediate pool, a diving pool, two children’s spray pools, a children’s play area, locker rooms, and a concession stand. Both season passes and pay-as-you-go rates are available.
Cohoes – The Cohoes Community Center indoor pool is open to residents and non-residents alike. Day passes are available, and non-residents are welcome. Summer hours are Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. The pool is closed on Saturdays from June through August. Another option is Lansing’s Pool, an outdoor facility that is free for Cohoes residents with proof of residency; non-residents must pay $5/day.
Colonie – The Ciccotti Family Recreation Center indoor water park is an expansive facility, complete with a water splash park, lazy river, and zero-depth entry pool. It also offers a full array of swim lessons geared for toddlers to adults. The aquatic center hours are Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The activity pool is closed Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon to accommodate swim lessons. Guest passes are $15 per person per day for non-members 6 months and older. Some restrictions apply for non-members, so please call (518) 867-8920 before you visit to confirm water park hours, rules, staffing, and expectations.
Guilderland – The outdoor pool at Tawasentha Park is open, weather permitting, from mid-June through Labor Day to town residents and their guests. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. Fees for residents are $3 for adults and $1 for children ages 5 to 14. Those older than 60 or younger than 5 are admitted free of charge. Residents can also purchase daily or season passes. For more information, call (518) 456-4446.
New Scotland – Thompson’s Lake State Park, located within Thacher State Park, is open only on weekends through June 14. Starting June 20, it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through September 7. A parking fee of $7 per car is charged during the swim season when the beach is open.
Ravena – The Village of Ravena pool opens at the end of June and closes Labor Day weekend. Hours are noon to 7 p.m., with swim periods exclusively for adults from 9 to 10 a.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Village residents may obtain a pool pass at the village clerk’s office by presenting a picture ID and current utility bill. Non-village residents may use the pool for $2/day, or $1/day if accompanied by a village resident with a pool pass. For more information, call (518) 756-8233. The Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk School District also has an indoor pool that is open to the community. Non-residents are welcome; current fees and hours of operation can be found on its website.
Canaan – Public access to Queechy Lake is available through membership in the Adams Point Beach Association or by purchasing a daily beach pass at the Canaan Corner Deli. Reduced-rate annual memberships are available to those in need. Adams Point Beach is open late June through Labor Day. Over the summer, the Canaan Recreation program includes free morning swim lessons for children who reside in Canaan. For more information, call (518) 781-4504.
Chatham – Crellin Community Park, owned and operated by the town of Chatham, has a pond and a summer swim program. Call (518) 392-0337 for additional information.
Craryville – The Taconic Hills Central School District operates the Aquatic-Fitness Center during the summer. In July and August, pool hours are 6 a.m. to 7:35 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The pool is reserved for pool parties Saturdays between 2 p.m. and 3:50 p.m. Daily rates are $2 for adults and $1 for seniors and college students with ID. Admission is free for children up to grade 12. Annual passes may also be purchased.
Taconic State Park – Swimming is permitted along both the Rudd Pond and the Copake Falls beaches. A parking fee applies. The websites include more details on the amenities available at both locations.
Poughkeepsie – The city of Poughkeepsie operates two municipal pools that are open June 27 to August 23, 2015. The Pulaski Park pool is open daily from 1 to 7 p.m. Both day passes and season passes are available, and free swim lessons are offered. The Spratt Park pool offers open swimming from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and lap swimming from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Season and day passes are available.
Rhinebeck – Residents of the town/village of Rhinebeck with a photo ID may obtain a summer pool pass during open swim periods. Pool hours are 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The pool is open Memorial Day weekend and Saturdays and Sundays through June 28, after which it is open daily until Labor Day. For more information, contact the pool staff at (845) 876-6161.
Haines Falls – The North-South Lake in the Catskill Forest Preserve offers swimming in designated areas for campers and day-use visitors. For your safety, swimming is only permitted while a lifeguard is on duty. Call (518) 589-5058 for beach hours.
Tannersville – Tannersville Lake, also known as Rip Van Winkle Lake, offers swimming, a picnic area, and pavilion. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer from noon to 5 p.m.
Amsterdam – The City of Amsterdam pool, located at Veterans Field, is available to residents during the summer months (July 1 through the end of August). Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the main pool measures an impressive 50 x 25 meters. The pool also features two smaller, separate sections that are 3 and 13 feet in depth, respectively, to accommodate swimmers of different abilities. Lifeguards are on duty at all times. Admission is $1 for swimmers and non-swimmers alike.
Cherry Plain/Petersburgh – Cherry Plain State Park offers a sandy beach on Black River Pond that is perfect for swimming, as well as a bathhouse and comfort station. Parking is $7 per vehicle.
Cropseyville – Grafton Lakes State Park, with its six ponds, is a popular swimming destination. Long Pond is known for its wide, sandy beach, and many of the ponds are also suitable for fishing. Swim season begins May 23 and extends to September 7. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily during the summer. The parking fee is $8 per car.
North Greenbush – Snyder’s Lake, previously known as Lake Aries, is a swim destination that is home to Camp Scully.
Troy – The city of Troy operates two public swimming pools: South Troy and Knickerbacker. Hours are 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children, and free swim lessons are available for children six and older. In addition, the city offers spray parks in Frear, Prospect, and Knickerbacker parks. For more information, contact the pool staff at the numbers listed on the website.
Ballston Spa – Six-week swim lessons are offered at Ballston Spa Village Pool.
Moreau Lake State Park – This state park offers a beautiful sandy beach, hiking trails, picnic pavilions, and more. The swim season extends from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and the beach is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The vehicle entrance fee is $8 per car.
Saratoga Springs – In Saratoga Spa State Park, two pools complete with showers, locker rooms, and restrooms, as well as food concessions, are available. The Peerless Pool Complex includes a zero-depth entry pool the size of a football field, a pool whose main feature is a winding slide, and a kiddie wading pool with a mushroom-shaped fountain. You must be at least 48 inches tall to use the slide pool. Victoria Pool, built in the 1930s, is a smaller pool with interesting architecture. The admission fee for the Peerless Pool is $2 for adults and $1 for children, with a parking fee of $8 per car. Entry to the Victoria Pool is $8 for adults and $4 for NYS seniors and children ages 5 and older. Both pools are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting June 27.
Niskayuna – The outdoor Niskayuna Town Pool is open to town residents and their guests. The season begins Saturday, June 13 and ends September 7. Both season and day passes are available, and three swim lesson sessions are offered during the summer.
Schenectady – The city of Schenectady operates four pools: Central Park, Front Street, Hillhurst, and Quackenbush. At the time of publication, information for the 2015 summer season was not available, so check the website in the coming weeks for updated schedules, fees, and programs.
North Blenheim – Mine Kill State Park, located in the scenic Schoharie Valley, boasts an Olympic-size swimming pool, wading pool, and dive pool available at no cost to anyone. Swim lessons for children are offered during the summer season, which extends from June 27 through Labor Day. The pools are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily during that time.
New Paltz – If you want to swim while taking in dramatic scenery, you should check out Lake Minnewaska, a picturesque mountaintop lake in the Shawangunk Mountains. The lake is situated within a state park and offers a beach, picnic area, numerous nearby waterfalls, and hiking trails. Swimming is open for the season on June 20. The vehicle entry fee for the park is $10.
Lake Luzerne Region – A string of lakes dots this region, and two public bathing beaches are located along Lake Luzerne itself. Lifeguards are available at both sites.
Queensbury – The Gurney Lane Pool opens for the summer season on June 25 and will remain open until Labor Day. Reduced-rate season passes are available until June 5.
Warrensburg – Morry Stein Park and Beach at Echo Lake offers families a place to swim and a small sandy beach. The lake is staffed by lifeguards during the summer season and a playground and picnic pavilion are also available. The swim season extends from late June through Labor Day; hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Whether you’re splashing around with little ones in a pool or exploring some of the area’s lakes, beaches, and wilderness, you’ll be surprised how water play and swimming can enrich your family’s free time together. To ensure a successful outing, just don’t forget the sunscreen, and be mindful of water safety at all times.