Where to Go Swimming in Philadelphia in the Summer


One of the best ways to cool off on a hot summer’s day in Philly is to jump in a pool. Luckily, the city is full of swimming pools, including a number of free public pools and some members-only swim clubs.


It’s the middle of a heatwave and the air conditioning in your Philadelphia home is working overtime, but it doesn’t seem to be doing much. If the heat in the city is getting to you, there are a few ways to cool off. One option is to go swimming in Philadelphia. You might not know it, but the city is actually home to many public pools and private swim clubs. If you want to head out of town and swim in a more natural setting, such as a river or lake, you can do that as well.

Public Pools

Thanks to the city’s 70 public swimming pools, it is fairly easy to go swimming in Philadelphia. All you need to do is put on your swimsuit, grab a towel, and head over to the pool nearest you. Generally, pools are open from late June through August, seven days a week. Specific hours and activities vary by pool, but most are open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekdays and from noon until 5 p.m. on weekends. Adult swim, for people over age 18 only, is often during the last hour of the day, while family swim is usually earlier.

In 2016, several of the city’s bigger pools are participating in Swim Philly. In addition to open swim times, these pools will host programs such as Aqua Zumba and Yoga on the Pool Deck every week.

Many public pools don’t have showers, restrooms, or lockers to stash your stuff. It’s best to bring as little as possible to the pool, as storage space is usually limited.

Private Swim Clubs

While getting to swim for free is great, if you want a pool that offers a bit more, such as shower facilities and an on-site restaurant, it might be worth it to join a swim club. Private swim clubs also tend to be open longer than public pools, from May through September, instead of June through August. The North Shore Swim Club, in Northern Liberties, has a 1,500-square-foot pool and offers two membership levels, either weekday only or seven days a week. The club has a restaurant and bar on-site, and members have the option of enjoying food and drink while they lounge on the pool deck. Other amenities at the pool include towel service, a ping-pong table and other games, and cabanas.

In Center City, the Lombard Swim Club also has an on-site restaurant for members and a variety of pool programs, including yoga in the mornings and a swim team. The big downside of the Lombard Swim Club is its wait list. As of 2015, the average new member waited a decade before getting to join.

Swimming in a Lake

If you’d rather swim in a lake or relax on a sandy shore, it might be worth it to cross the river to New Jersey and visit Bellmawr Lake. You don’t have to be a member to swim at Bellmawr, as it charges a per-day admission. Along with the lake for swimming, Bellmawr has picnic areas and a beach volleyball area. You’re welcome to bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages, or you can purchase food and drink from the on-site bar.

From free fun at the city’s public pools to a chance to cool off in a natural setting, there’s no reason not to put on your suit and go for a swim this summer.


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