Swim & Splash Near Charlottesville

words by ELLEN SEWELL
FAMILY-FRIENDLY PLACES TO COOL OFF - SWIM, KAYAK & MORE

Blue Ridge Boost Summer Camps

Cool off this summer at these swimming pools, splash pads, playgrounds, splash parks, lakes and local swimmin’ holes in the Charlottesville area! Be sure to bring sunscreen, towels, hats, cover ups and swim diapers for the little ones. Keep in mind it’s also a good idea to call ahead for schedule changes for swim meets and thunder/lightning delays when you are using our popular CharlottesvilleFamily Guide to Swim and Splash Fun for Families. Older kids will love the challenge of a river trip on the James – perhaps tubing or kayaks. You can always pull off to the side for a swim in the river too. Check websites for season pass and/or membership information or if you are on the river, water levels. CharlottesvilleFamily also wants to be sure your family swim experience is safe. Please don’t miss the expert advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics at the conclusion of this handy Family Guide to Swim and Splash Fun where you can learn about implementing layers of water safety, Our community has experienced child drownings and we want to honor those losses be encouraging everyone to be safe near water. Happy summer! 

Charlottesville’s Public Swimming Pools

Kids have no sense of time and will happily swim from open to close. As the summer rolls on, kids make a lot of new friends at the pool that they may continue to play with throughout the year. Parents might even make great connections with the moms, dads and grandparents who come to the swimming pool. If you’re a work-from-home parent looking to get adventurous this summer, some tips for pleasing clients and your kids all within the same three-hour span are:

  • Overpack. You’ll regret not bringing the extra towel when you look up and see one floating in the shallow end.
  • Check for Wi-Fi. Some pools have open internet.
  • Don’t trust your kids. In their excitement to swim, they’ll fib. The goggles aren’t in the bag, they’re on the dresser.
  • Have fun. The pool affords a lot of time for completing work, but enjoy taking breaks to play with the kids.
Children in pool

Crozet Park Aquatics & Fitness Center


434-205-4380
Managed by ACAC, this eight-lane outdoor pool features zero-depth entry, a mushroom waterfall, a baby pool, umbrella-shaded picnic tables, snack bar and a bathhouse. Located in Claudius Crozet Park, this swim center offers year-round aquatic amenities with a winter swim dome and month-to-month membership options. Swim lessons are available with limited capacity. Crozet Park Pool Cost varies. acac.com/crozetpark/

Onesty Family Aquatic Center


434-295-7532
This facility located in Meade Park in Charlottesville offers spray features in the pool, a slide, diving board, lazy river and a zero-depth entry area with play structure for younger kids. Onesty Family Aquatic Cetner Cost: ages 3 and under free; city residents $1–$6; nonresidents $2–$11.

Smith Aquatic & Fitness Center


434-970-3072
This 27,000+ sq. ft. indoor facility features a lap pool, diving board, two water slides, zero-depth entry, in-water play structure and lazy river. Perfect for a swim or a splash! Smith Aquatic Center Cost: ages 3 and under free; city residents $4–$8; nonresidents $5.50–$11.

Washington Park Pool with Water Slide


434-977-2607
This lighted outdoor pool includes lap lanes for a serious swim workout, a toddler wading area, a mushroom fountain, a spiral slide, zero-depth entry and a bathhouse. Washington Park Pool Cost: ages 3 and under free; city residents $1–$4; nonresidents $2–$6.

All City of Charlottesville pools have lifeguards on duty, but for safety, children under 8 must be supervised in the water by an adult. Pool hours are subject to change. Call 434-970-3260 for more information on pool hours, swim lessons and the city swim team. charlottesville.gov

Summer Only Membership Swimming Pools in Charlottesville

ACAC Adventure Central Waterpark


434-978-7529, acac.com
A fantastic swimming pool for the entire family, Adventure Central Waterpark features an area for kids with several slides.

Blue Ridge Swim Club


434-242-6894, blueridgeswimclub.com
Nestled in the country near Ivy, this incredibly unique natural pool is stream-fed and was originally built in 1913.

Fairview Swim & Tennis Club


434-973-7946, fairviewclub.org
Located in the Belvedere neighborhood in Charlottesville, this pool has diving boards and many lap lanes.

Farmington Country Club


434-296-5661, farmingtoncc.com
This private pool features a 12-foot diving well, an eight-lane 25-meter lap pool, and a small wading pool for infants.

Glenmore Country Club


434-817-0506, glenmorecountryclub.com
Located inside the beautiful Glenmore neighborhood in Keswick, this pool is a lovely option for families who like to swim. 

Greene Hills Club


434-985-7328, greenehillsclub.com
The pool at Greene Hills is a fantastic option for families looking to cool off in Greene County.

Hollymead Swim Club


540-751-1888, hollymead.info
There are a limited number of non-resident memberships available at this 29N area pool.

Key West Swim & Tennis Club


434-977-7665, keywestclub.org
A wide range of memberships are available at this 40-acre facility which includes a heated 25-meter swimming pool.

Old Trail Swim Club


434-823-1670, oldtrailvillage.com
Located at the base of the mountains, there are a limited number of non-resident memberships available at this beautiful pool that features a zero-entry section and a diving board for swimmers. 

Year-Round Charlottesville Membership Pools

ACAC


Albemarle Square: 434-978-3800
Downtown: 434-984-3800
acac.com 

Boar’s Head Resort


434-296-2181, boarsheadresort.com

UVA Intramural Rec Sports


434-924-3791, recsports.virginia.edu
Lane reservations are required for lap swimming.

Piedmont Family YMCA

434-974-9622, piedmontymca.org

Blue Ridge Boost Summer Camps

Charlottesville Lakes, Swimming Holes & Splash Parks

The CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Guide to Swim and Splash Fun for Families is a useful tool for planning your summer fun and cooling off with water activities. These three Albemarle County parks—Chris Greene, Mint Springs and Walnut Creek—have sand beaches for freshwater swimming during the summer months (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day) with lifeguard protection. You can also rent canoes and enjoy fun water playground activities at the sandy shore. Chris Greene Lake also has a dog playground area. Season passes are available. There will be no swimming on days that Albemarle County Schools are in session. The area also offers two fun swimming holes—Riprap Hollow and Sugar Hollow—alongside popular hiking trails for an old-fashioned dip. (No lifeguards.) 


434-296-5844, albemarle.org

Sugar Hollow swimming hole

Chris Greene Lake & Canoe Rental

434-296-5844
With 53 water acres and two beach acres, lifeguards, changing rooms and canoe rentals, Chris Greene Lake is a great place to cool off. Fishing and limited boating are also allowed. Hours: 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Cost: ages 3 and under free; county residents $2–$3; nonresidents $3–$4.50.

Mint Springs Valley Park & Lake


434-296-5844
Located in Crozet, Mint Springs Park includes eight water acres and one beach acre for swimming, limited boating and fishing. Lifeguards and restrooms are on-site. Swim season is June 17–August 22. Hours: 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Mint Springs Lake Cost: ages 3 and under free; county residents $2–$3; nonresidents $3–$4.50.

Riprap Hollow Swimming Hole


hikingupward.com
A clear, deep-blue swimming hole is your reward for hiking 1.7 miles from the lower trailhead, off Route 612 near Crimora. Refreshingly shaded, this spot offers glimpses of crayfish and salamanders in the shallows. This Riprap area is part of the Shenandoah National Park system. Hours: Dawn to dusk. Cost: Free.

Family at a swimming hole

Sugar Hollow Swimming Hole


swimmingholes.org
A short drive out of town near White Hall, this cool river swimming hole offers a refreshing break from the Sugar Hollow trail, with clear water and gentle rapids. Swimming in the reservoir is not allowed. Hours: Dawn to dusk. Cost: Free.

Walnut Creek Park Lake Swim & Canoe Rental

434-296-5844
Walnut Creek offers 45 water acres and two beach acres, a lifeguard, shelter, restrooms and canoe rentals. Fishing and limited boating are allowed. Hours: 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Cost: ages 3 and under free; county residents $2–$3; nonresidents $3–$4.50.

JAMES RIVER WATER FUN 

Enjoy water fun on the James River—tubing, canoeing, kayaking and rafting—in part-day, one-day, two-day and overnight trip options. Tubing departure times are limited. Cost varies. The CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Guide to Swim and Splash Fun for Families is a great way to plan your family-friendly water activities and cool off this summer.

Howardsville Canoe Livery

434-286-3331

James River Reeling & Rafting

34-286-4386, reelingandrafting.com

James River Runners

434-286-2338, jamesriver.com

Rivanna River Company

(434) 218-2052, rivannarivercompany.com

girl swimming at Charlottesville pool with inner tube

Charlottesville Spray Grounds

If swimming isn’t your thing, cool down at a spray ground! Charlottesville Parks & Recreation offers a fun complement to the pools with three city spray grounds in popular parks, open daily through mid-September. Picnic shelters and playgrounds are nearby! The CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Guide to Swim and Splash Fun for Families is perfect for cooling off with babies and toddlers when you visit a splash park for water fun and you can also find casual swim experiences, swimming holes out in nature, lakes, competitive swimming teams and more.  charlottesville.org

Belmont Park Sprayground & Splash Pad


434-970-3260
Play during park hours, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Free.

Greenleaf Park Spray Ground & Splash Pad


434-970-3260
Play during park hours, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Free.

Forest Hills Park Spray Ground & Splash Pad


434-970-3260
Play during park hours, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Free.

 

Virginia Swim Safety Tips

The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging parents and other adults to plan multiple layers of protection to keep children and teens safe around water this spring and summer. Drowning can happen to any family. It’s quick, and it’s silent. Drowning is the single-leading cause of death among children aged 1-4, and a top cause of death among teens. We can lower these rates if pediatricians, parents and policy-makers work together to implement the types of solutions we know will keep children safe. Please share these resources with parents and caregivers.

According to the AAP, the layers of protection should include:

  • All children and adults should learn to swim. If swim lessons are suspended in your area due to coronavirus, it is important to add other layers of protection until your child can access lessons.
  • Close, constant, attentive supervision around water is important. Assign an adult ‘water watcher,’ who should not be distracted by work, socializing, or chores.
  • Around the house, empty all buckets, bathtubs and wading pools immediately after use. If you have young children, keep the bathroom door closed, and use toilet locks to prevent access.
  • Pools should be surrounded by a four-sided fence, with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Research shows pool fencing can reduce drowning risk by 50%. Additional barriers can include door locks, window locks, pool covers and pool alarms.
  • Adults and older children should learn CPR.
  • Everyone, children and adults, should wear US Coast Guard-approved life jackets whenever they are in open water, or on watercraft.
  • Parents and teens should understand how using alcohol and drugs increases the risk of drowning while swimming or boating.

#DrowningPrevention  Safety information from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Find more great family festivals and fun with our stories on Virginia Children’s Museums, Dad daytrips, science projects to try at home, Richmond’s Science Museum, County Fairs in Central Virginia and more. Find Charlottesville 4th of July events and try this great 4th of July recipe for strawberry shortcake with blueberry sauce.


ELLEN SEWELL is a Virginia native and mom of 3 young children. She enjoys experiencing all the Charlottesville area has to offer for families.


 

CharlottesvilleFamily.com, a collection of local resources including a popular calendar of events, family services guides and features on education, health and family day trips for parents and teachers in Charlottesville, as well as Virginia Wine & Country Life, a semi-annual life & style magazine, and Wine & Country Weddings, an annual art book celebrating elegant Virginia weddings.