On a sweltering summer morning, it can feel like there’s no better place to be than at a swimming pool. For a few hours. By then, your skin is wrinkled, you’re bored by the diving board and you couldn’t possibly handle another single round of Marco Polo. So if you don’t want to throw in the towel on your day out, you’d better hope your deck chair is parked next to some other activity options. Here’s a goggle-free guide to the area’s best pools for folks who can only take so much swimming before going off the deep end.
Pirate’s Cove Waterpark
There are plenty of treasures at this pirate-themed pool, including shell-shaped slides, water-spraying palm trees and Buccaneer Beach (a sand play area). When you realize you’d rather walk the plank than spend another minute there, however, you don’t need to set sail. Instead, stick with kayaking, canoeing and standup paddle boarding — all are available on weekends at Pohick Bay Regional Park’s boat launch facility on the Potomac River. Explore the wildlife in the area’s marshes on your own or with a guided tour ($30 per person). 6501 Pohick Bay Drive, Lorton, Va.; Piratescovepohick.com; $5-$8; weekends 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and starting June 16, open daily 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Also: You’ll never really strike out at Great Waves Waterpark (4001 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, Va.; Greatwaveswaterpark.com), which also features nine batting cages (three for softball and six for baseball). Helmets and bats are provided.
East Potomac Pool
The location of Washington’s only outdoor 50-meter pool is awesome not only because you have a monument view while doing laps, but also because it shares Hains Point with the East Potomac Park golf course (Golfdc.com). Community outreach coordinator Kimberly Thomas says the “pool people,” as they’re called on land, often chow down on pancakes in the clubhouse after a tough workout. And they have lots of opportunities for getting in golf that don’t require doing the full 18 holes. A practice hole is $14/hour for up to three people. The short par-3 course is $10-$13 for adults (and $2.50 for kids). And the historic mini golf course, just 100 yards from the entrance to the pool, is $5-$6.50 per person. 972 Ohio Drive SW; Dpr.dc.gov; free for residents, $4-$7 for non-residents; weekends, noon-6 p.m., and starting June 18, weekdays 1-8 p.m.
Also: The Rosedale Community Center (1701 Gales St. NE) boasts the newest pool in the District, as well as an artificial turf field, a basketball court and a playground.
Bethesda Outdoor Pool
This community hot spot offers different pools for lap swimmers, kiddies and general water worshippers. But they can all get there the same way: via the Capital Crescent Trail. The BOP is just about half a mile south along the trail from downtown Bethesda, and from there, it’s another scenic six miles into Georgetown. Although it seems like an ideal way to combine biking and backstroke, Montgomery County aquatics manager Doug Fox says few folks double up on their workouts. Trail users have a tendency to fill up the parking lots, however, so swimmers may find they’re better off cycling or sprinting than driving. Little Falls Pkwy and Hillandale Road, Bethesda, Md.; Montgomerycountymd.gov; $4-$6 for residents, $6.50-$7.50 for nonresidents; noon-8 p.m. weekends, 1-8 p.m. weekdays
Also: Take a quick hike at Martin Luther King Jr. Pool (1201 Jackson Road, White Oak, Md.). The HeartSmart trail that starts just past the Swim Center is only 0.8 miles.
Before you chill out, stretch out at the Liaison Capitol Hill, an Affinia Hotel (415 New Jersey Ave. NW; Affinia.com). On weekends, non-hotel guests can spend $50 to “Tone, Taste, Tan”: Take a rooftop yoga class (at 7:30 a.m.), get breakfast and then spend the rest of the day poolside.
Mother Trucker ($15, Mothertruckerdc.com) on select Saturdays at the Capitol Skyline Hotel (10 I St. SW) is more than just a pool party. Additional diversions include bounce houses, suspension aerial artists and lots of food trucks.