Joyful Family Swimming
Which public pool is the warmest?? Find out in our guide to family swim and baby & toddler swimming classes in SF
Thanks to a local mom’s petition, Mission Pool has extended family swim hours! Swimming and water play bring joy to many of us. With cold months approaching, the pool is a great way to spend family time. But where to swim and where to learn swimming is an evergreen topic on parents’ groups. We thought we’d recap what we’ve learned in our year of swimming with a baby and two toddlers!
But first, some housekeeping:
In cased you missed the resources for applying to public school last time, there’s another presentation.
Zoom Lunch & Learn TOMORROW (Thursday Nov 30) at noon hosted by SF Parent Coalition & Main Street Mamas
Join our Meetup group to stay posted on events!
Music Party with Roller Skating in Hayes Valley. They have a wagon full of used skates for people to borrow, from toddler size 8 to adult size 8.
Intergenerational Play Cooperative is where kids, caregivers, and older adults can enjoy free music or art sessions together. Their next event is Saturday December 9th, 3-4:30pm, at Mission Arts Center.
Thursdays work and play at Manny’s, 11am-1pm: The café has a kids area. Parents come to read, write, or just to chat while kids play.
Joyful Family Swimming
Pool Cost and Warmth
This guide to publicly accessible swimming pools’ temperatures and locations is pretty much up to date. The only thing is that prices have gone up: $8 per adult ($6.90 if you buy a 10-pack pass) and $2 per kid for public pools, and $20-25 per adult at private swimming pools (such as YMCA, JCCSF and UCSF — kids are often free). Hours change every few months, and we recap them below. All of the public pools are heated. North Beach is the warmest public swimming pool (86F versus 82F) and Balboa is generally warmer than advertised due to large bay windows. Hamilton is the only public pool with slides (but they’ve been under maintenance for 4 years). Mission is the only outdoor pool.
Family-rec Swim hours - January 9 to March 9, 2024
Public swimming pools are closed on Sundays and Mondays. There’s a maximum of two kids under 48 inches per adult, who should be within arm reach. If you have more than one kid, lifeguards may impose the kids to wear life vests. We include lap swim hours below if they allow for family swim in the shallow pool.
On Saturday March 9 2024, pools will be closed until 2pm. Times outside of business hours are in bold.
Balboa (shallow pool)
Tuesday 7-8am, 12.30-2pm, 2.30-3:30pm
Wednesday 9-10.15am, 2-3pm
Thursday 7-8am, 2.30-4pm
Saturday 9-10:30am, 12.30-2pm, 2.30-3.30, 4-5pm
Coffman (closed Feb 6 - Feb 19 for maintenance)
Saturday 1-2pm, 2.15-3.45pm
Hamilton (shallow pool)
Tuesday 6.30-8.30 am, 11am-12.30pm, 1.30-3.30pm
Wednesday 6.30-8.30 am, 11am-12.30pm, 1.30-3.30pm, 6.30-8pm
Friday 6.30-8.30 am, 11am-12.30pm, 1.30-3.30pm
Martin Luther King Jr (Jan 9 - Feb 9. After Feb 9 family swim slots are replaced by lessons)
Mission (closed for the season)
Saturday 12-1pm, 1:30-3pm
Saturday 12.30-2pm, 2.30-3.30pm
Saturday 11.30am-1pm, 1.30-3pm
Swimming classes for the under 5
While SF parks and Recreation offer swimming classes, there are only three spots open to the public in each class, and they are gone within one minute of registration opening. 😱 And lifeguards cannot allow private lessons in public pools due to safety concerns. Many parents swear by La Petite Baleen (in San Francisco and San Bruno), but cost and distance may be prohibitive. YMCA and JCCSF both have swimming classes for toddlers, and Pomeroy is a hidden gem offering classes every couple months.
Don’t believe Instagram videos: not all babies learn to swim in a month. And that’s alright. There’s lots of resources for you to help your child be comfortable in water. Key skills include going underwater, learning how to float on their back, entering the pool, but most importantly: having fun! Sing with your little one, use the pool’s balls (no outside toys at public swimming pools, though Mission Pool is relaxed about this rule) and splash around.
More Public Pools Please!!!
San Francisco has only 1.1 public pool per 100 000 inhabitants. 🤯 The family swim hours at one pool has greatly improved, to take into account the needs of working families. But we can and should ask for more! Aside from being fun, robust swim facilities and education prevents drowning at all ages. If these hours don’t work for you (we sure would love to see pools open on Sundays!), you can support Parks and Rec, write to your district supervisor, sign the petition, and bring your little ones to public pools! Happy swimming :)
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[cover photo courtesy of stockvault]