Where to cool down in Pittsburgh this summer: A guide to pools, spray parks, and lakes

A girl swims with googles and a swimcap.

Updated 12:45 p.m. June 12, 2019

Man, it’s a hot one.

Rob Thomas/Santana references aside, it’s getting steamy out there, and you might just want to cool down in a pool, spray park, or lake.

Here’s where to find your new favorite spot to splash around.


Swimming under cloudy Pittsburgh skies.

City pools

Pittsburgh city pools are open daily as of June 12, and there’s likely one near you. Pittsburgh is home to more than a dozen outdoor pools offering daily admission for places to relax in the sunshine and cool off in the water. Swimming lessons are also available with advance registration.

Hours: Monday through Friday: 1-4:45 p.m. open swim; 4:45-7:45 p.m. family swim. Saturday and Sunday: 1-5:45 p.m. 

Cost: Day passes cost $3 for youth (ages 3 to 15) and $5 for adults (ages 16 and up) – cash only. If you’re planning to swim often, it might be worth buying a pool tag.

Locations:

East/Central

  • Ammon — Hill District
  • Bloomfield — Bloomfield
  • Highland — Highland Park
  • Homewood — Homewood
  • Magee — Greenfield
  • Schenley — Schenley Park
  • West Penn — Polish Hill

North

  • Jack Stack — Brighton Heights
  • Riverview — Perry North
  • Sue Murray — North Side

South/West

  • Banksville — Banksville
  • McBride — Lincoln Place
  • Moore — Brookline
  • Ormsby — South Side
  • Phillips — Carrick
  • Ream — Mt. Washington
  • Sheraden — Sheraden
  • Westwood — Westwood

Sunbathers at Dormont Pool.

Other pools

Lots of communities around Pittsburgh have public pools, and these are a few of the most popular.

  • Dormont PoolThis pool is big — like really big. It’s the largest public pool in Pennsylvania measuring in at 42,000 square feet. Day passes are available with a discount for Dormont residents.
  • Wave pools at Boyce Park, Settlers Cabin Park, and South Park: Go with the flow at these county-run wave pools.

A flower structure at a spray park.

Spray parks

Pittsburgh’s spray parks conjure the nostalgia of running through the sprinklers with a brand new twist. Sprinklers turn off and on automatically and offer delightful color and movement.

“You do not need swimming skills to enjoy the spray parks,” CitiParks explains online. “Spray parks are accessible to the tiniest toddler to a pre-teen adventurer, and even those using wheelchairs.”

Find a spray park near you:

  • Arlington — Arlington Playground
  • Beechview — Vanucci Playground
  • Burgwin – Burgwin Playground/Burgwin Field
  • East Hills — East Hills Park
  • Paulson —Paulson Playground
  • Shadyside — Mellon Park
  • Troy Hill —Cowley Playground
  • Warrington —Beltzhoover

Presque Isle at Lake Erie

Lakes

Make a day trip (or a weekend trip) and head to one of Pennsylvania’s lakes.

  • Moraine State Park: Swimming is permitted at two beaches along the shore of Lake Arthur. Plus, you can go fishing, boating, or windsurfing at the park.
    Drive time: 40 minutes from Pittsburgh.
  • Conneaut Lake: This natural glacier lake offers fishing, swimming, water skiing, sunbathing or simply a chance to relax by the water.
    Drive time: 1.5 hours from Pittsburgh.
  • Presque Isle State Park at Lake Erie: Described as “Pennsylvania’s only ‘seashore,'” Presque Isle State Park is a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that arches into Lake Erie. Swim, boat, fish, hike, cycle, skate, and feel like you’re at the ocean while gazing out over the water.
    Drive time: 2 hours from Pittsburgh.
  • Raystown Lake: Waterski, wake board, paddle board or just float at this 8,500-acre lake with a sandy beach.
    Drive time: 3 hours from Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh's water steps on the North Shore.

Other options

  • Sandcastle: Slide down 15 waterslides, chill in the lazy river, play in the wave pool, and stroll the boardwalk at Pittsburgh’s water park.
  • Soak Zone at Idlewild: Splash around in a wave pool, slide down water slides, and play in the children’s area.
  • Water Steps: Dip your toes into the water at the North Shore Water Steps.
  • Fall Run Park: Feel the icy spray from a 35-foot waterfall in Shaler.