Colorado is known more for skiing than swimming, more for pot than pools, but there are still plenty of places across the state where you can submerge yourself this summer. Whether you're a water sports novice or an underwater expert, looking to beat the heat or settle in for a hot, steamy soak, here are ten places you won't want to miss.
Carla Madison Recreation Center
2401 East Colfax Avenue
Denver's newest and flashiest rec center has it all when it comes to fitness, and it didn't skimp on pools, either. Yes, it has two: an eight-lane lap pool for serious swimmers, and a leisure pool with a giant water slide, splash area and lazy river, just the thing for wearing out kids on a long, hot afternoon. And with drop-in rates of just $6, discounts for monthly and annual memberships, and discounts for MY Denver Card and MY Denver PRIME Card holders, it's the cheapest way to get wet in the Mile High City.
Cherry Creek State Park
4201 South Parker Road, Aurora
For people who prefer the open water — or as close to it as we get in our landlocked state — there are a handful of state parks around the metro area with swimming beaches. With the swim beach at Chatfield State Park closed this summer because of construction, we'll be hitting its eastern counterpart, Cherry Creek State Park. The water is roped off here, so swimmers don't have to guess when they might run afoul of a boat, jet-ski or sailboard.
1111 14th Street
Anyone with champagne tastes on a champagne budget will want to take advantage of the Four Seasons' Urban Oasis Pool Pass at least once. From Monday through Thursday during the summer months, non-hotel guests can lounge on the third-floor terrace and soak up the sun between dips in the heated, fifty-foot pool. And while the price tag on this venture isn't exactly small — it starts at $150 for pool access, though we recommend ponying up $200 for access to the locker rooms, a steam room and $50 in food and valet credits — it's cheaper than booking a room, which will run you upwards of $300.
Mount Princeton Hot Springs
15870 County Road 162, Nathrop
If you're heading southwest of Denver this summer — or any time of year, really — take a detour from your road trip and loosen up those muscles at one of Mount Princeton's numerous mineral pools. There's an adults-only spa pool, a 400-foot water slide emptying into the upper lagoon, an exercise pool and a historic bathhouse, plus two sets of hot springs pools. If you visit outside of spring runoff, you can settle into one of the creekside pools constructed directly in Chalk Creek that spike at 120 degrees. Think about spending a night or two — just to make sure all your soaking options have been thoroughly evaluated.