Four years of drought and record high temperatures make you wonder if we’re now experiencing the new normal. Perhaps it’s too soon to tell, but it seems like a good bet that this summer will be another hot one, with plenty of days in which the mercury climbs into the 80s and 90s. With that in mind, we thought we’d put together a list of some of the best lakes and family-oriented swimming pools to beat the heat in the East Bay
Lake Anza Rd., Berkeley
Located in Tilden Regional Park in the hills above Berkeley, Lake Anza is the most picturesque swimming hole in the East Bay. Surrounded by towering trees and golden-brown hillsides, Lake Anza has a big sandy beach and a roped-off swimming area. We guarantee that the kids will love digging in the sand and splashing around in the shallow section of the lake. But they might like snack bar the most.
Open Memorial Day, and daily, May 25–Sept. 13. Kids $2.50; adults $3.50; children under age one are free. EBParks.org/parks/Tilden
6502 Broadway Terrace, Oakland
Lake Temescal is quintessentially Oakland. Each year, it attracts a diverse group of visitors — as diverse as Oakland itself. And why not? It’s got a large sandy beach, a grassy picnic area, full bathrooms, and showers. Plus it’s gorgeous — and the water is super refreshing on summer days. The lake also has roped-off sections for beginning, intermediate, and advanced swimmers. Remember: Bring sunscreen, and perhaps even an umbrella on really warm days. Also, check the website before you go, because last year the lake closed for a time because of a drought-induced algae bloom.
Open daily through fall. Kids $2; adults $3, children under age one are free. EBParks.org/parks/Temescal
18870 Cull Canyon Rd., Castro Valley
Cull Canyon is a perfect East Bay spot for days when you want to take the kids swimming but it’s too foggy or chilly in the Oakland-Berkeley area. Located in almost-always sunny Castro Valley, Cull Canyon’s lake has a huge grassy area that’s great for picnicking and Frisbee-tossing (on non-busy days). The shallow area of the lake is also quite large — which makes it ideal for beginning swimmers. Plus, there’s a dock that you can jump from in the middle of the lake.
Open daily through fall. Kids $2.50; adults $3.50; children under age one are free. EBParks.org/parks/Cull_Canyon
10570 Skyline Blvd., Oakland
Roberts Recreational Area in the Oakland hills won an Express “Best Of” Award last year. And it’s no wonder. Nestled in a redwood forest, the park features picnicking, hiking trails, a baseball field, and a fabulous play structure for kids. But the jewel of the park is Roberts pool, which is heated and surrounded by a big lawn. Plus, there are showers, full bathrooms, and a snack bar. But be forewarned, on warm weekend days, this place gets crowded.
Open through mid-September. Kids $2; adults $3, children under age one are free. EBParks.org/Parks/Roberts
Strawberry Canyon Pool
Strawberry Canyon Recreation Area, Centennial Drive, Berkeley
Located across the street from UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium, Strawberry Canyon Pool is arguably the most beautiful public outdoor swimming pool in the East Bay. It includes a shallow play areas for kids and lap swimming for adults, plus an expansive spot to relax and enjoy the warm summer sun. The UC Berkeley-run facility also includes locker rooms and showers.
Opens May 23. Kids $3; adults $5; children under the age of three are free. RecSports.Berkeley.edu/facilities/pools/strawberry-canyon-pool
3860 Hanly Rd., Oakland
Located in woodsy Dimond Park, this City of Oakland pool is one of the most popular in town. It’s big, too — 33 yards long (about 100 feet) — and is tons of fun for families with kids. Includes bathrooms and showers.
Open year-round. Kids $1; adults $3. Oaklandnet.com/Government/o/opr/s/aquatics/OAK029286
371 45th St., Oakland
This classic Oakland pool sits next to Oakland Technical High School and Studio One in the city’s Temescal district. Like Lions Pool, it’s 33 yards long and very popular with lap swimmers (me included). But it’s also open for families on weekend afternoons, and has a large shallow area. Includes bathrooms and showers.
Open year-round. Oaklandnet.com/Government/o/opr/s/aquatics/OAK029288