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6 Ways to Stay Cool This Summer (When You Don’t Own a Pool)

By Kaitlyn Chow on July 10, 2014

The Spray and Ground Park in McAllen, Texas, helps kids stay cool.
Brian McCord

Summer has officially begun and you may have already said, “I need a pool.” Not everyone has the space for that, though, much less the money and time it takes to maintain one. So we’ve put together some tips and leads on where to cool off and beat the summer heat. 

Splash Pads 

It’s as simple as Googling “splash pads in (your city).†Many cities have created new water features where fountains or sprinklers run throughout the day and kids can run around freely for hours of fun. Adults, you can forget your age and join in the fun, too!

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Public Pools

Many towns have some public pool or aquatic center where you can purchase a summer membership or pay a couple dollars entrance fee to use it for the day. To get the best chairs and areas to layout, show up a few minutes earlier than the pool opens, usually mid-morning. This nifty Swimmer’s Guide Pool Finder will help you locate a public swimming area anywhere in the world.

Find a Pool Friend

Take stock of your friends who have access to neighborhood or apartment complex pools. Neighbors can usually only bring a certain number of guests, so plan trips to the pool ahead of time. And don’t just be a pool mooch: Offer to bring snacks, beverages and pool toys to acknowledge your friend’s hospitality.

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Water Parks

If you’re lucky enough to live near a water park, make it a one-day vacation. If not, plan out a weekend and book a cheap hotel for a relatively inexpensive mini-vacation. Most parks offer discounted summer passes, group discounts and online coupons, so be sure to research rates ahead of time.


Most mid-sized cities have a YMCA, and many of these facilities have indoor and outdoor pools. Their memberships have great flexibility on pricing, and they offer year-round options including day care, after-school programs, gym and fitness classes, and more.

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Locate a Lake

Most states in the U.S. are landlocked and require a several hour drive to any beach, but you can probably find a natural or man-made lake somewhere within a reasonable drive. You don’t have to have a boat to enjoy a trip here, but it does help to make friends with others who do. If neither of these options work for you, research whether you have a nearby lake with a “beach†area where there is sand to play in and a safely roped-off area for swimming.

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