Memorial Day is a marker of summer. In Boulder, we have a ton going on throughout the long weekend, including the Boulder Creek Festival, the Bolder Boulder 10K race, and all sorts of celebratory and memorializing events, as well as deals, sales, and cookouts all across the city.
But one thing Memorial Day weekend also does is signal the beginning of summer, which means outdoor swimming and the outdoor pools in Boulder open up for the summer months! Labor Day, outdoor pools all close for the cold season. Memorial Day, they re-open, and we can’t wait to go get our splashes and our sunburns on. Landlocked though Colorado is, Boulder sure does have a lot of water to cool off in outside, and a good thing too, as our summers are bright, sunny, and hot.
Here are some of the best and most fun places to go swimming outdoors in Boulder. Don’t see your favorite here on the list? Let us know where you like to go in the comments.
In the meantime, we’ve got the other City of Boulder regular childhood swimmin’ hole: Spruce Pool. Spruce Pool is probably the best family-friendly outdoor pool in Boulder, and it’s easy to see why: it’s got plentiful full length lanes for all your swim lesson and workout needs, as well as a very shallow pool for the very wee ones, and a plethora of water play features like jets, fountains, and of course who can resist the big duck slide?
Nobody, that’s who.
YMCA Water Park
Now the Boulder YMCA’s main pool is indoors (and it’s a great one, too–as well as having a robust lesson and water fitness array for all ages, kid to senior citizen), but outdoors, the Mapleton Y has a super fun play area.
The water park is like a miniature amusement park, full of sprinkling, splashing, pouring, misting, and cooling apparati to splash around in. It’s a great way to cool down after a rigorous swim or water fitness lesson, or just cool off on your way home from a bike ride. Tons of fun in a little package: what’s not to like?
The Rez (as Boulderites call it) is often affectionately nicknamed Boulder Beach. Not an outdoor pool, technically, but a reservoir, the Boulder Rez is one of Boulder’s favorite places to swim outside, regardless.
The reservoir has a shallow swimming area roped off for the kids, and a larger swimming area for those 16 and up, and it’s a lot of fun to take a dip and then catch a few rays, and pretend you’re on a “real” beach. The Rez also boasts all kinds of other water-related activities all season, like: sailing, water skiing, and the like. The Boulder Reservoir also is the venue for such bigtime outdoor events as the Kinetic Conveyance race, and other big outdoor parties.
Indian Hot Springs
The Indian Hot Springs is one of the most popular outdoor swimming venues that Boulderites like to indulge in. Okay, so it’s in Idaho Springs, not Boulder, but it’s close enough, and what better way to enjoy splashing around in healthful mountain mineral water than to dip into a hot springs pool so close by?
The Indian Hot Springs has a few different ways to enjoy the spa-like ministrations of the naturally hot, naturally mineral-rich waters: there’s the big swimming pool (still kept at least 90 degrees), the geothermal caves, and the outdoor jacuzzis, as well as some private baths too. The hot springs being hot springs, too, means that this outdoor series of pools, unlike the other swimming pools mentioned, is open year-round. Remember, though, that the big pool is the one that’s the most family friendly. The caves are 16+ only.
Aw man: I was so excited to write about the pool area of the big Scott Carpenter park complex. Having grown up here, I of course spent many hours as a kid climbing up to the top of the rocketship in the park, and sunning and splashing in the big public pool. And in (more recent than my childhood) years, there has been a glorious skate park added, and major updates to the pool itself.
When I just visited the website, though, it says it’ll be closed this year. Darn. Though the reason they’re closed till 2020 is an exciting one–there are many upgrades and huge renovations afoot at Scott Carpenter pool. So I guess we can wait till they’ve finished making it into an even better place to go than it was already.
Honorable Mention: Tubing in Boulder Creek
The creek is the center of Boulder activity: the downtown area surrounds it, several of our parks center or feature it, and once you get into the mountains, you’ll find that rafting is one of the more widely-done of water sports Boulder has. The Boulder Creek has been touted nationwide as one of the best rivers for tubing–it’s super fun, but at an easy level for those not well versed in intense whitewater rafting skills.
It being a cold river, not a warmed pool, many Boulderites like to take the icy plunge on our hotter days, and it’s a relaxing way to amble down along the Creek Path, when you’re actually in the creek. Plus, Boulder has an annual event that’s extreme in its whimsy and fun: the yearly Boulder Tube to Work Day. This year, Tube to Work Day will happen on July 12th, and we can’t wait.