Best pools photo
(Chesapeake Beach Water Park; Mark Gail/The Washington Post)

Best pools

Lavanya Ramanathan  |  Updated 05/15/2012

Make a dash for a summertime splash: If you're looking for the perfect pool this summer, check out some of these tried-and-true favorites.

 

Volcano Island Waterpark at Algonkian Regional Park

Sterling, VA

Looking for Downpour? You've found it. Downpour Waterpark at Algonkian received a Polynesian-themed makeover a couple of summers ago -- meaning the park has a new sand play area, more shade, and a smoking volcano towering over it all. Like many pools, it opens for the season on May 26.

 

Water Park at Bohrer Park

Gaithersburg, MD

This popular Montgomery County pool got a kid-friendly makeover in time for the 2012 season. Where once its most compelling features were the 250-foot slides -- a fast one for daredevils and a slower one for the faint of heart -- this year toddlers will reap the benefits of an overhauled tot pool and more play features. The season opens May 26.

 

Chesapeake Beach Water Park

Chesapeake Beach, MD

This Southern Maryland water park can cost a whopping $18 to enter if you're not from Chesapeake Beach, but the amenities, including a waterfall, lazy river and slides, make up for the price. Built on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, this pool boasts faux palm trees, but real bay breezes. The 2012 season opens May 26 for weekend fun; the pool will be open weekdays June 14-Aug. 17, then on a reduced schedule through Labor Day.

 

Old Town Pool

Alexandria, VA

This no-frills public outdoor pool, one of only a handful in Alexandria, is near a playground and boasts a kiddie pool that tops out at three feet. It's also near the Metro and the heart of Old Town. The 2012 season runs weekends beginning May 26, and weekdays June 23-Aug. 19.

 

Water Mine Family Swimmin' Hole

Reston, VA

This Reston water park isn't a rural "swimmin' hole" at all: It's a gold-mine-themed wonderland, with slides, a tubing river and other attractions aimed at elementary-aged kids. It's no wonder it's a family favorite. For the 2012 season, it's open weekends beginning May 26, and weekdays beginning June 20.

 

Great Waves Water Park at Cameron Run Regional Park

Alexandria, VA

With its giant wave pool (eight feet deep in places) and array of slides, Great Waves is the flagship pool of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. But the park also features a batting cage and golf, and you can get a pass for all three and save.The 2012 season kicks off beginning May 26; Great Waves is then open Fridays-Sundays June 1-June 15; and open daily June 20-Sept. 3.

 

Banneker Pool

Washington, DC

This is pool-going reduced to its simplest, most pleasurable form: There are no slides, no mushroom-shaped water umbrellas, and if you're a D.C. resident, no reason to pull out your wallet. Bonus: It's close enough to Columbia Heights to please the scenesters and the families who frequent it. It opens weekends beginning May 26, and operates on a regular schedule beginning June 18.

 

Bethesda Pool

Bethesda, MD

This pool is z-shaped, so you can literally find a corner to call your own. Bonuses include a diving well and separate junior and tot pools. The pool opens for the 2012 season on May 26, going daily beginning June 11.

 

Upton Hill Regional Park Pool

Arlington, VA

This outdoor complex is centered around Ocean Dunes, one of Northern Virginia's ubiquitous, souped-up water parks, with slides and other attention-getting features. The massive mini-golf course and batting cages at the park make it a great summer date spot; get a pass for all three for little more than the price of a movie ticket.

 

East Potomac Pool

Washington, DC

This D.C. public pool is on Hains Point, which means that even though it's in a city, it's blissfully quiet. Fifty meters long and with depths up to 13 feet, it's popular with adults, including lap swimmers. It opens weekends beginning May 26, and operates on a regular schedule beginning June 18.

 

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