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Nothing says summer like slipping on a bathing suit and frolicking in a swimming pool—or, because this is Colorado, a reservoir with mountain views or a rushing river—with your besties. Whether you like to be in the water, on the water, or just next to the water, we found seven nearby spots where you can get wet-’n’-wild with your crew.
Best for: Your kids and their BFFs
Price: Free with recreation membership; daily admission is $1 for kids ages two to 18, $3 for young adults ages 19 to 24, $3.50 for adults, and $2 for seniors 65-plus; annual pool passes cost $20, $35, $50, and $30 for those age groups, respectively
That's only $1 per issue!
Originally constructed in 1955, Congress Park’s pool has long been an oasis for neighborhood residents. A $10.1 million renovation before the 2022 season makes it worthy of packing up your progeny and their friends, no matter where you live, for a wallet-friendly visit to the state-of-the-art swimming hole. Children with more advanced water skills can practice their freestyle form in the lap pool, while younger kids have a dedicated place to frolic in the form of a youth pool surrounded by seating from which caregivers can keep a watchful eye. This year, Denver Parks and Recreation–run outdoor pools will be open from June 9 to August 19.
Best for: Your couple friends
Price: $270; typically Friday and Saturday evenings, June through August, from 5 to 8 p.m. but can be booked other nights by request
Thanks to Victoria Sailing School’s sunset cruises on Chatfield Reservoir, you can, well, sail into the sunset with your SO without leaving the metro area—and without having any actual sailing skills. Proprietors Erica Cook and Tibor Van den Wildenbergh (or one of their staff) are happy to show you the literal ropes, but you’re also welcome to relax with snacks and a bottle of vino and enjoy the view of the sun dipping below the foothills to the west. Split the cost, and the romantic experience, with another couple or two; the J/30 keelboat fits up to six guests.
Best for: Your college buddies
Price: $200 for a half-day during the week, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. (weekends are $350); $350 for a full weekday ($600 on weekends)
No, the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center isn’t Mandalay Bay. But if you book a cabana by the 4.5-year-old Aurora mega-hotel’s pool or lazy river, order a few piña coladas, and squint your eyes against the (superior-to-Nevada) Colorado sunshine, you just might be fooled. Cabanas one and two are conveniently close to the hot tub, while eight through 12 are on the opposite end of the pool from the kid-favorite waterslide feature. All 15 shade structures have plush seating, TVs, and food and drink service from Arapahoe Springs Bar & Grill. You have to be a hotel guest to reserve one, so plan to make a night of it by grabbing dinner at one of the eight on-site restaurants, which range from Italian to Asian to a sports bar with a 75-foot flatscreen.
Best for: Your concert crew
Price: $160 for tickets and a two-month X Club membership for either June and July or August and September; $320 for combo passes for every show and four months of membership
Normally, to hang out by X Denver’s rooftop pool and hot tub, you have to either sign a lease for one of the Ballpark building’s apartments or apply for membership to its X Club ($175 per month), which also grants you access to an on-site gym and fitness studio, a large co-working space with reservable conference rooms, and exclusive events. This summer, however, you can simply buy a season pass for the Deep, a concert series in its second year co-hosted by national production company River Beats. From June through September, there will be two poolside, 21-plus shows each month, and a variety of ticket packages include full-time use of X Club amenities. So, while electronic dance acts such as South African–born duo GoldFish, producer Max Styler, and indie-inspired Chet Porter will bring the party on select Saturdays, weekday happy hours (dress code: swimsuit) with cocktails from the 11th floor, full-service restaurant and lounge are just as much of a reason to talk your friends into reallocating their gym membership dollars here for the summer.
Best for: Your co-workers
Price: $36 per person, Monday through Thursday; $38 per person, Friday through Sunday
If you spend time in Golden in the summer, you’re almost guaranteed to see people schlepping tubes along Clear Creek. Now, thanks to a shuttle option from Adventure West, you can ride the river’s mix of natural and man-made features without the walk—an ideal bonding experience for a group with varied fitness levels. The package includes commercial-grade (read: not what you buy at Target) tubes, helmets, and life jackets, and two shuttle trips, meaning you get to float the frothy stretch twice. Rentals generally open once the flow slows to safer levels in late June. Check Adventure West’s website for current conditions and availability.
Best for: Your extended family
It was only a matter of time until someone founded the Airbnb of swimming pools, and that someone is Swimply. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the five-year-old platform allows users to book private pools—yes, as in, in someone’s backyard—by the hour. A search of the Denver area pulls up 19 options, most of which are outside city limits. Many are set up to accommodate large groups, however, making it an intriguing idea for that family reunion you’ve been delaying. On our shortlist: this 2.5-acre Aurora property (max capacity: 50), which boasts a diving board, a sound system, and games, including a human foosball court, cornhole, yard Jenga, and pingpong; and this 25-person Foxfield venue, where you also have access to an indoor pool house rec room and (for an additional fee) a grill and basic kitchen.
Best for: Your swolemates
Price: Varies based on age and residency, but adult, lap-swimming-only fees start at $8.50 to drop in, $76.50 for a 10-visit punch card, and $211 for a season pass (good through August 13)
We know you’re all about leg day, bro—but swimming is an excellent full-body workout that builds endurance and cardiovascular fitness in addition to muscle. Add some laps to your gym rat routine by heading to the Splash at Fossil Trace. The 10-acre water park in Golden has a 25-meter outdoor pool with eight lanes that are open seven days a week, with special hours reserved for adults. (Should you choose to bring the whole fam, though, there’s a zero-depth play pool with slides and fountains and a gigantic sandbox for the kids.)