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Where to Go Swimming in the East Bay

Lake Anza in Tilden Park, Berkeley. Photo by QT Loung, via Terra Galleria 

Today is officially the first day of spring, and while it may not be hot enough to strip off all those layers, this weekend's forecast is glorious clear skies for the Bay Area. And since the East Bay is always about ten degrees warmer than San Francisco – and a lot of these spots are heated anyway –  why not head to a swimming hole across the bridge if you’re looking to soak up a little sun this weekend? Or save this list for August, when the weather really heats up. Have more suggestions? Add them in the comments. 

Crown Beach, Alameda 

This is the closest you’re going to get to a real, sandy beach in the Bay Area. The water is warm and shallow, so you can feel free to frolic and swim without worrying about the frigid winds and freezing waves you'd enocounter at SF's beaches. At the west end of Crown Beach is a bathhouse with changing rooms. And if you’re not interested in getting wet, rent a sailboat, kayak, or inflatable raft and set out to sea, or you can even stay on the shore and fish. Next to the beach there are also picnic tables, barbecue pits, a lawn area for games, and scenic bike trails. Head down in June for the annual Sand Castle and Sand Sculpture Contest, or the summer-time Concerts at the Cove featuring music, food, and activities. Get details here

Open year round, Eight Street and Otis Drive, Alameda 

The Claremont Hotel pool, photo via the hotel. 

Claremont Hotel, Berkeley 

If you'd prefer to sip cocktails poolside, then consider signing up for The Claremont Hotel’s recreational membership and you’ll get much more than just a pool to splash around in. The aquatics include a heated recreational pool, a heated lap pool, a kiddie pool (with waterworks), and an outdoor jet-stream whirlpool to relax in. Other perks include tennis courts, a fitness center and weight room, extensive cardio, strength, and yoga classes, gorgeous views of the Bay at the bar and restaurant and more. And with discounted night stays, there’s basically no reason to ever leave. Bonus points: This is where they filmed the pool scene in Mrs. Doubtfire! Get the details here

Open year round, $30 day pass with spa treatment, 41 Tunnel Round, Berkeley 

Robert’s Pool, Oakland 

Located near a lush grove of redwood trees off Skyline Blvd., the Roberts Pool complex has a 25 yard, heated (!) swimming pool with a depth of 8.5 feet. Although there’s no diving board, you can still have tons of fun – bring a picnic, or grab something from the vending machines, and catch some rays on the lawn areas. Plus, the  complex is fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, with an accessible lift into the pool. Special times are set aside for lessons, recreational swimming, and lap swimming, or you can rent the whole place out and throw a pool bash. Get the details here

Open April 26 - September 21, $3 access fee. 10570 Skyline Blvd., Oakland 

Lake Anza in Tilden Park, Berkeley

Tilden Park's Lake Anza (pictured above) is a bucolic East Bay getaway. Its sandy beach is open to the sun and sheltered from the wind – perfect for sunbathing – and Lake Anza is the perfect place to cool down after a morning hike. Make a day of it and bring along a picnic, there’s ample grounds nearby, or grab refreshments from The Lake Anza Beach Cafe. And don't forget to check out the Botanical Gardens, the Little Farm, and the Merry-Go-Round. Get details here

Open April 26 - September 21, $3.50 entrance fee. Lake Anza Road, Berkeley 

Strawberry Canyon, Berkeley 

Located above Cal’s Memorial Stadium in the Berkeley hills, Strawberry Canyon is a favorite hot spot for students and families alike. The 6-lane pool is heated to a toasty 80 degrees, and while three of the lanes are dedicated to lap swimming, the rest are for play. There’s also lockers rooms, hot showers, kick boards and other pool toys, a pool lift, and ample parking in the lot. Bring your own towels, and come early to stake out a space on the grass where you can soak up some sun after your swim. Get details here. 

Open May - November, $5 day pass. Centennial Drive, Berkeley 

Lake Temescal, photo via the East Bay Regional Park District 

Lake Temescal, Oakland

Dip your toes into sunny lake Temescal or tan on the beach front property. Originally built as a storage lake for drinking water, Temescal is now one of Oakland’s most popular swimming holes with an accessible beach house including changing rooms and showers, and plenty of room to bring snacks and lawn games or go hiking, fishing or biking around the park land. You’ll have to leave your dog at home, but there’s no where else you’ll want to be on a sunny day. Get details here.

Open April 16 - September 21, $3 beach access fee. 6502 Broadway Terrace, Oakland

Click here to see Where to Go Swimming in Wine Country