SPLASH! New Jersey's Best Family Swimming Pools
Summertime means swimming–the kids cool off, get exercise, and are entertained all at once–triple bonus! While NJ abounds with beaches and lakes, many of us prefer the plain old comfort of a chlorine-enhanced, lifeguard-protected swimming pool. For you, the pool-lover, we’ve assembled a list of NJ swimming pool options—some public, some private, summer-only, year-round, indoor, outdoor....take your pick—and then, take the plunge!
When it comes to swimming pools, typically the lowest cost option, and the one closest to home, is your local Department of Recreation’s public pool. Most towns offer a resident-only, summer-long membership. Unfortunately, there’s not a consolidated list of municipal New Jersey pools, but you can find your local public pool through searching online with keywords “New Jersey,” your town name, and “Parks and Recreation.” Typically, you’ll need to submit an application with payment (which varies greatly by town,) then you’ll receive “badges” good through the summer. Before you apply, it’s a good idea to stop by the pool and visit local community postings for reviews, as the quality of these facilities varies greatly.
You know the song! “You’ve gotta go to the Y-M-C-A”. Click here to find your local Y. The Y’s websites offer great, detailed information on lessons, teams, open swims and memberships. Almost all locations offer day-passes, in case you want to check out the facilities, or you just need an indoor play option on a rainy day. Call 1-800-872-9622 for more information.
The Madison Community Pool (Madison, NJ)
Now here’s a town that wants its residents in the water! The Madison Community Pool offers swimming, entertainment, a snack bar, swim lessons, and a competitive swim team. The pool is handicap-accessible. It is divided into several areas, each catering to the different needs of its members. The deep water area features a 19' drop slide with a 12' plunge, a 120' winding slide starting from 18' above the surface and a 1m diving board. The adult lap area offers two lanes in five feet of water reserved for lap swimmers. The four foot area is a swimming/wading section for taller children and adults. The three foot area is a wading section for young children who are toilet trained, and the baby pool is a separate pool for kids under 5. There’s also a snack bar, games and Wi-Fi. Dues begin at $440 for a resident family plus a $125 facility assessment and $780 for a non-resident family, plus the same facility fee. Call 973.377.0043 for more information.
Berkeley Heights Community Pool (Berkeley Heights, NJ)
Pack the swimsuits and picnic baskets and head to the Berkeley Heights Community Pool for a great day outdoors! There’s an Olympic-size swimming pool featuring two diving boards and two slides; a shallow end for pre-schoolers learning to swim; and a baby pool for the youngest swimmers. There’s also swim and dive teams, swim lessons, basketball, tennis courts, and tetherball on-site. When everyone’s water-logged and hungry, head over to the new barbeque grills and refurbished picnic tables! Dues are $550+ $275 initiation fee for resident families; $650 for non-resident families plus the same initiation fee. Call 908-464-6214 for more information.
Maplewood Community Pool Recreation (Maplewood, NJ)
WARNING: Maplewood resident-only pool! Live in Maplewood? Lucky you! With three pools, a 10 meter dive tower, arts & crafts, games, volleyball, water aerobics, street hockey, a concession stand and a summer concert series, Maplewood residents have a great place to get their summer swim on! The pool also offers swim lessons to members’ kids at a reduced rate of $25. Call 973-761-6330 for more information.
Tenafly Swim Club (Tenafly, NJ)
If you’re looking for a laid-back outdoor swim club, this is it. Nestled between overhanging trees and grassy areas, the heated pool offers a reserved lane for lap swimmers, a diving well with two one-meter spring boards, and a gated kiddie pool. Done with the water fun? The recreational area contains a playground, jungle gym, ping pong tables, knock hockey, shuffleboard, tetherball, basketball, and a sand volleyball court. Umbrellas and lounge chairs are available, and a picnic area allows you to pack lunch and spend the day in the sun. Residents and non-residents are welcome. New members are $533.93 per individual and $640.93 per couple; children are add-ons and are $25 each. For more information, call 201 567-5572.
The Lake Mohawk Pool (Byram, NJ)
Take the natural scenery of North Jersey mountains and Lake Mohawk, combine with the comforts of a private pool-and-tennis club, add a great “Snack Shack,” a Kids Club offering children’s soccer, kickball, basketball, dodge ball, ping-pong, arts-and-crafts, face-painting and more, and you have the newly re-named lake Mohawk Pool. Since 1937, this club’s been a Northern NJ family summer staple, and with good reason: it boasts a 50-meter, 6-lane pool with 2 diving boards, a kiddie pool and swingset play area, hard-surface tennis courts, ½ court basketball, a multi-purpose athletic field, a picnic area…all with a welcoming, family feeling. You may join for the pool, but you’ll end up staying for the great activities, which include movie nights and live concerts. Dues are $850 for a family membership. For more information, call 973-726-3263.
Toms River Fitness and Aquatic Center (Toms River, NJ)
Your kids want to swim, but you’re just not all that into it. We all know what chlorine does to bleached blonde hair (hello, Grinch green). Plus, there’s the sunburn and mosquitos…ugh. Instead, head to Toms River Fitness and Aquatic Center where the kids can swim indoors while you take in a wicked new work-out! Voted the Asbury Park Press' Reader's Choice for Ocean County's Preferred Fitness Center, the TRAC offers both day passes and memberships, so you can dip your toe into the waters without fully committing to the plunge. Kids’ swim lessons start at 6 months through adult, there are swim teams and clinics, open swims, and a vast array of fitness classes. Non-member day passes per person are $15. Call 732-914-9500 for more information.
Metuchen Municipal Pool (Metuchen, NJ)
Metuchen’s Municipal Pool is a perfect family spot…the pool is large with areas for all levels of swimmer. There is a snack bar, picnic tables, and inexpensive swim lessons for kids 3-12 years old. They also offer adult fitness swims for those who want to strengthen their skills. The local librarian comes to the baby pool regularly for a storytime for the little ones. Dues begin at $370 for resident families; non-resident families are $500. Call 732-632-8540 for information.
Round Top Swim and Tennis Club (Warren, NJ)
“Like having a backyard pool party with all of your friends, every day of the week,” states a member, joining a chorus of rave reviews for this private swim-and-tennis club situated on 14 acres in Warren Township, Somerset County. Approximately 200 families share a large pool, kiddie pool, 4 tennis courts, volleyball, basketball, bocce, shuffleboard, playground, and snack shack. Hey, a daily party with no clean-up? I’m in. Fees include a $50 application fee, a one-time member fee of $500, and a refundable bond fee of $1500. The annual dues for a family membership are $1020. Call 732- 356-0944 for more information.
Chatham Fish and Game Protective Association (Chatham, NJ)
Funky name for a pool club? Hey, give ‘em a break–they were named in 1891! This landmark, year-round club offers not only swimming, but tennis, platform tennis and bowling. There’s also a member's lounge and ballroom in which members’ may host private parties, teen/tween socials and lots of member fund-raiser events. It’s your go-to place for family get-outs! Dues include a $200 non-refundable application deposit, $1,650 initiation fee plus an $845 semi-annual all-inclusive membership fee per family. Call 973-635-8131 for more information.