The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
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 five nearby spots where you can get various gangs back together.
Your Kids & Their BFFs
Originally constructed in 1955, Congress Park’s pool has long been an oasis for neighborhood residents. A recent $10.1 million renovation 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. Although most Denver Parks and Recreation–run outdoor pools opened on June 13, Congress Park’s debut is TBD as the city waits for the fresh coat of waterproofing epoxy to dry. Free with recreation membership; daily admission is $1 for kids ages two to 18, $3 for young adults ages 19 to 24, and $3.50 for adults; annual pool passes cost $20, $35, and $50 for those age groups, respectively
Your Couple Friends
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 wine 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. $270; sunset cruises typically run on Friday and Saturday evenings, June through August, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. but can be booked other nights by request
Your College Buddies
No, the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center isn’t Mandalay Bay. But if you book a cabana by the 3.5-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. Starting at $200 for a half-day (9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.); $350 for a full day
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 new 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. $35 per person, Monday through Friday; $40 per person, Saturday and Sunday
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 four-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 14 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. Prices vary