Little ones love making a splash? These swimming pools for kids are a spectacular way to cool off when the city heat is too hot to bear—just get there early to grab a good spot and jump on in (and no running on the deck, please)!
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to outdoor activities for kids in NYC
Though NYC's public swimming pools for kids may not have ALL the allure of a backyard (pool noodles, diving boards), they are an amazing way to meet new neighborhood families and duh, no pool maintenance! Taking a dip is one of our favorite free summer activities for kids, so pack up the suits and towels, slather the tots with sunscreen and dive in! Be sure to read these important NYC pool rules before you go, and don't forget about our favorite splash parks, water parks and more. Also check out our favorite ways to beat the heat (start with Frozen and homemade ice cream)!
Tip: Many city pools require visitors to bring a sturdy combination lock and may forbid items including food, glass bottles and electronics. Visit the NYC Parks website for details before you make the trip!
Swimming pools for kids
The Astoria Park Pool, nestled alongside the East River, has been a family favorite since its construction in the summer of 1936. The oldest public pool in NYC—and the largest, with a capacity of 2,178 swimmers—the scenic spot allows parents to float in the kiddie pool with little ones or swim in the deep end and check out the view. Open daily 11am through 7pm.
Head to this pop-up pool to bob around with the kids while enjoying one of the best views in the city. A mere 3.5 feet deep, the popular attraction is ideal for young children and their families. Be warned: Pool time is limited to 45-minute sessions, and you'll need to grab a wristband either on the hour or a half hour earlier, depending on your time slot (it's best to check the website for details before heading over).
After diving in, wind down on the nearby sandy beach and enjoy some made-to-order lemonade. Sangria, wine and craft beer are also on offer for Mom and Dad after 6pm. Here are some additional rules, in case you were wondering. Open daily 10am–6pm.
This West Village rec center has two midsize pools for families to paddle around in. The outdoor pool is free, but you’ll need to sign up for a membership card before you can use it, so be sure to bring ID. There can be lines to sign up, but it’s worth it to get an outdoor swimming spot that isn’t swarmed all summer long—plus, it’s the only one in the city that still has a diving board! Your little guppies will have a blast cannonballing into the 100-by-50-foot pool, while everyone will enjoy Keith Haring’s playful artwork “Carmine Street Mural,” which he painted on the back wall in 1987—it makes a stunning frame to a cool city scene. Open daily 11am–7pm.
Don’t fret over rumors of hours-long waits and hordes of overheated teens at this Williamsburg pool—since it reopened in 2012, the city has worked out some kinks and boosted the on-duty staff. Now, if you arrive early in the day, you’ll find a beautiful and spacious swimming pool with a safe, shallow area for youngsters and a deep end that reaches only three feet 10 inches. Families can also take advantage of a sand volleyball court and indoor rec center, complete with fitness equipment, basketball court and weight room. Open daily 11am–7pm.
This Yorkville swimming hole is right at the edge of the East River, and visitors can spy Roosevelt Island from a pedestrian bridge linking John Jay Park with the East River Esplanade across the FDR. The 145-foot-long pool itself is lined with leafy trees, setting a bucolic scene for a dip or poolside lounge. At the diving area, kids can practice cannonballs, pikes, twists and jackknives with impunity. Even when the pool is at capacity on weekend mornings, it still feels spacious. Show up with your brood around 5pm on a weekday and you'll have the place mostly to yourselves. Unfortunately, though, there's no baby pool and little shade, which means you'll find an older and rowdier crowd. Open daily 11am–7pm.
Take a break from your Hunts Point fishing trip and venture to The Floating Pool at Baretto Point Park. This pool is best known for its family-friendly facilities and beautiful surroundings. Start the day on dry land with a picnic or walk through the park, and wrap it up with a relaxing trip to this watering hole atop a movable barge. Talk about a weekend well spent! Open daily 11am–7pm.
With separate adult and kiddie pools, this somewhat under-the-radar Brooklyn attraction is ideal for children of all ages. The environment tends to stay relaxing and peaceful, plus it's right next to the Thomas Greene Playground where kids can climb the monkey bars and scale mid-size towers. Grab your floaties and head to the baby pool, or take a dip with the big kids. The Double D pool takes safety seriously; it's monitored by several lifeguards and requires you to bring a lock to keep your belongings safe while you enjoy the waves. Gather the whole family, smear on some sunscreen, and jump in! Open daily 11am–7pm.
Families flock to this spot in warm-weather months to climb around on the tiny playground, shoot hoops on the basketball courts and—especially on summer scorchers—cool off in the pool. With one pool just three feet deep and another just one and a half foot deep, it's easy to keep an eye on little ones splashing around, and the clean water and attentive lifeguards make it even more parent-approved. Did we mention it's also right next to Dry Dock Playground? Open daily 11am–7pm.
Cool down and cheer up at the pool in the Red Hook Recreation Area. You can sign up to become a member here. Whether you take the tots to the colorful water park, jump right in to the Olympic-size pool or enjoy the adult lap-swim sessions during the week, this friendly attraction is sure to please. In the mood for some post-pool-time snacks? Head to the ball fields for some tacos, offered every weekend. Open daily 11am–7pm.
Want to swim like the pros? This swimming area was used as a training facility by the U.S. Olympic team for the 1953 games. The large adult pool is designed for more serious swimmers, but little water bugs can take a dip in the adjacent smaller pool. Open daily 11am–7pm.