Great Ways to Get Wet

When the temperature starts to climb, check out one of these popular beaches, pools or water parks to cool off and have fun. 


Maria B. Freitas Park – The splash pad allows kids to activate the water by putting their hands on a center pipe. Watch your kids squeal with joy as it splashes down. The park also has a playground and amphitheater. 81 Trellis Drive, San Rafael. FREE. 415-485-3070.

Marinwood Aquatic Facility – Located next to Marinwood Park and Playground, this center has a 25-yard length main pool with a double-flume waterslide, as well as a tot pool for children under 7. Check website for times. $7 youth, $9 adults for nonmembers. 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. 415-479-2335.

Terra Linda Community Pool – There’s a tot pool with beach-like access, a spray feature, a nearby playground, barbecues and a basketball court. Check website for hours.  $5 adults, $4 children for residents; $7 children, $9 adults for nonresidents. 670 Del Ganado, San Rafael. 415-485-3346.

San Francisco

Hamilton Pool – This indoor facility’s two waterslides and large heated pool make it a favorite with families. It’s also available for swimming parties. Check website for hours. $1 under 18, $6 adults. Geary and Steiner streets. 415-292-2008.

Sava Pool – This indoor pool reopened in 2009 after a $17 million renovation. This 25-yard, eight-lane pool offers lap swim and recreation swim times as well as swimming lessons. $1 under 18, $6 adults. 19th Avenue and Wawona Street. 415-661-6327.

Yerba Buena Gardens Children’s Playground – Slides are two stories high. Plus, there’s sand and water to play in, along with other structures. 750 Mission St.


Joinville Swim Center – There are two outdoor pools here – a 6-lane pool and a shallow pool for children. June 17-Sept. 4.1-4pm Mon.-Fri. 1-5pm Sat.-Sun. and holidays. Check website for costs.  2111 Kehoe Ave., San Mateo. 650-522-7460.

Ryder Court Park – This facility has a seasonal splash pad along with picnic pavilions, barbecues and a playground. FREE. 1625 J. Hart Clinton Drive, San Mateo. 650-522-7000. 

East Bay

Alameda County

Livermore Aquatic Center– Slip down a 22-foot-long spiral waterslide, climb an interactive play structure in a zero-depth-entry activity pool or relax in two areas, including a toddler-friendly beach entry pool. Open daily to the public June 11-Aug. 19. 1-6pm Mon.-Thu., 12-6pm Fri.-Sun. $4-7 admission, ages 2 and under FREE. Robert Livermore Aquatic Center, 4448 Loyola Way, Livermore. 925-373-5751.

Family Friday – Beat the heat on a Fri. night with your family at Aqua Adventure Water Park for fun in the Roundabout River, slides and pools at a special after-hours time and rate. Fridays: June 29, July 20 and Aug. 10. 4-8pm. $9. 40500 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont. 510-494-4426.

The Wave – Visit the City of Dublin’s new boardwalk-themed water park that includes a tower of six water slides, a splash zone for toddlers and a sports pool. Open daily through Aug 13. 11am-6pm. $15-17 over 40 inches tall, $13-15 under 40 inches, $3-4 under age 2. Emerald Glen Park, 4201 Central Parkway, Dublin. 925-556-4590. 

Contra Costa County

Splash n' Dash – Conquer the San Ramon Olympic Pool & Aquatic Park's new inflatable obstacle course. While you’re there, check out the pool’s waterslide and aquatic park. June 4-Aug. 12. 12:30-3:30pm Mon.-Fri., 12:30-4:30pm Sat. and Sun. $3 plus $5 entrance fee. 9900 Broadmoor Drive, San Ramon. 925-828-3427.

Hurricane Harbor – The former Waterworld California has become Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord with new experiences such as Splashwater Island along with water rides, slides and features just for kids. Open daily; check website for schedule. $44.99 general admission over 48 inches, $39.99 junior admission under 48 inches. 1950 Waterworld Parkway, Concord. 925-609-1364, option 2.

Silicon Valley

Anderson Lake County Park. The largest reservoir in Santa Clara County, this lake welcomes power and non-power boating, personal watercraft and fishing. The reservoir was closed due to low water levels in the fall; check website for updates. 19245 Malaguerra Ave., Morgan Hill. 408-779-3634.

California’s Great America. This amusement park features Boomerang Bay Beach Club, which offers waterslides, a lazy river, wave pool and more. Open seasonally. 1 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara. 408-988-1776.

Gilroy Gardens. This amusement park features a new Oasis Splash Zone with interactive water attractions, open Memorial Day through September, plus two more water play areas, paddle boats and more. 3050 Hecker Pass Highway, Gilroy. 408-840-7100.

Golfland. Three twisty slides lead into a plunge pool below. Open seasonally. 976 Blossom Hill Road, San Jose. 408-225-1533. 

Lake Cunningham Park. Enjoy non-power boating, pedal and sailboat rentals, fishing, a water park and views of the hills. Paddle boats also available at Lake Almaden. 2305 S. White Road, San Jose. 408-535-3570. 

McEnery Park. Kids can play in this re-creation of the Guadalupe River, which starts in the “mountains” with mist and boulders, flows through sandy foothills and meanders on a broad plain before disappearing into the fields. The water feature was closed; check website for updates. San Fernando Street, east of the Guadalupe River, San Jose. 408-535-3570.

Morgan Hill Aquatics Center. This city pool also boasts a slide, fountains, geysers, music by the pool and more. Opens Memorial Day weekend. 16200 Condit Road. 408-782-2134.

Raging Waters. Northern California’s largest water park, it features more than a dozen slides and a wave pool. Open May-September. 2333 S. White Road, San Jose. 408-238-9900. 

Rinconada Park Pool. Includes a year-round heated lap pool with diving boards, plus a wading pool with geysers, a waterfall, a small slide and “aqua ducks” that shoot water. 777 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto. 650-463-4929. 


Capitola City Beach. Swimming and surfing just steps away from restaurants and shops. Capitola Esplanade. 831-475-6522. 

Carmel Beach. This long sandy beach is popular with families and heaven for off-leash dogs. Foot of Ocean Avenue. 831-620-2000.

Cowell Beach. On the other side of the wharf from popular Main Beach and Santa Cruz Boardwalk, this beach is slightly quieter, though still crowded on warm days. 101 Beach St., Santa Cruz. 831-420-6015.

Manresa State Beach. A long beach for walking, surfing, fishing, collecting sand dollars and recreation. 400 San Andreas Road, La Selva Beach. 831-761-1795.

Monterey State Beach. A favorite place for surfing, tide-pool exploring, kayaking, beachcombing, kite flying and volleyball. Del Monte and Park avenues, Monterey. 831-649-2836. 

Twin Lakes State Beach. One of the most visited state beaches in California, it features campgrounds, hiking and biking sites, family programs and restrooms. East Cliff Drive at Seventh Avenue, Santa Cruz. 831-427-4868. 

Janine DeFao is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.

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