With the rainy summer kickoff Memorial Day weekend behind us, the sun is out and the pools are open.

I spent the summers of my youth in a lake in western Pennsylvania. You read that right, IN the lake (or nearby pool), all day, every day from Memorial Day through Labor Day, until my fingers and toes “pruned.”

As a teen and college student, I continued my water obsession while lifeguarding at various outdoor and indoor pools. As an adult, I’ve learned to love the meditative (and friendly to middle-aged knees) exercise of lap swimming.

When I moved to Colorado, I found it a challenge to uncover the best public pools and watering holes. I suspect many remain under my radar.

This summer, it’s advisable to plan ahead if you’re looking to take a dip in southern Colorado.

Some nice outdoor pools in the Colorado Springs area include the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region’s outdoor pools (including Cottonwood Creek Family Center YMCA, Wilson Ranch and Monument Valley Park). As I write this on a hot, sunny weekend day, these pools are listed at capacity and those who would like to visit are encouraged to schedule ahead for the next “blocks” of pool time. The Y offers seasonal pool passes for its members, and guests may pay a day rate. Visit ppymca.org for details.

Our sister paper, The Gazette, in 2018 published a list of public swimming pools and beaches in Colorado Springs and neighboring cities. Find it at bit.ly/3ikupsP, but note that some of the areas listed, including Prospect Lake Beach, are temporarily closed. Be sure to inquire with the facility before you head out.

There’s no swimming allowed in the three lakes of the Tri-Lakes area — Lake Woodmoor, Monument Lake and Palmer Lake. But even if you can’t get in the water, there’s something very soothing and relaxing just being near it. And there are plenty of activities to do on the shore, including walking on trails, fishing and picnicking.

In Park County, Lake George, Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Area or Eleven Mile State Park for fishing or boating, but not swimming, are gorgeously scenic outings.

Your dog can cool off at the dog beach at South Suburban Reservoir in Stratton Open Space in Colorado Springs (human swimming not allowed).

There are also outdoor pools at private clubs scattered throughout the area.

For lake swimming take a road trip to one of these 5 Best Swimming Spots at Colorado Lakes recommended by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (cpw.state.co.us/swimming).

Also, Paradise Cove in Guffey, formerly known as Guffey Gorge, is a fan favorite swimming hole. Find information about the day-use area at blm.gov/visit/guffey-gorge. There is a $6 fee and parking is limited.

Or you can head to one of the free downtown splash parks in Colorado Springs, Uncle Wilber Fountain in Acacia Park or the Julie Penrose fountain in America the Beautiful Park. There’s also Deerfield Hills Sprayground at Deerfield Hills Park and The Water Hole at Venezia Park. See the Colorado Springs website, coloradosprings.gov, for information about these favorite cooling-off places for people of all ages.

Are you a swimming fan, too? If so, I’m sure I’ve missed some of your favorites. Please share them with me at my email address below!

Editor of this publication and the other three Pikes Peak Newspapers weeklies, Michelle Karas has called the Pikes Peak region home for six years. Contact her at michelle.karas@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

Editor, Pikes Peak Newspapers

Michelle has been editor of the four Pikes Peak Newspapers (Pikes Peak Courier; Tri-Lakes Tribune; Cheyenne Edition; and Woodmen Edition) since June 2019. A Pennsylvania native and Penn State journalism graduate, she joined The Gazette's staff in 2015.

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