Summer Survival Guide: Where To Cool Down In The DMV

cooldown
Summer hasn't even officially started yet, but we're completely ready to be in our swimsuits every weekend (fruity concoction optional, but appreciated). And, since not all of us are lucky enough to have a rooftop pool at the ready, we've rounded up the best public pools and swimming holes in and around D.C. Put these on your go-to list when things really start heating up. Now, pass the ice-cold drinks, will ya?
Banneker Pool is one of the biggest and most popular public pools in the District. Go early if you want to score a lounge chair (and make sure you leave your towel on it while you take a dip). Open on weekends only until June 24, then six days a week (except Thursdays) until September. Free for DC residents.
Volta Park Pool, better known as "the Georgetown pool," is a small, charming public pool located just off Wisconsin Avenue NW. There's only a one-lap lane, but plenty of lounging space for reading and dozing. Weekday mornings are best to beat the crowd. Open on weekends only until June 24, then six days a week (except Thursdays) until September. Free for DC residents.
Mostly favored by triathletes and serious swimmers, the East Potomac Pool is a quiet oasis on Hains Point. Located near the East Potomac Golf Course, the Olympic-sized pool has ample space for swimming laps and sunbathing on the surrounding patio. Open on weekends only until June 24, then six days a week (except Wednesdays) until September. Free for DC residents.
Alexandria's Old Town Pool is fun for an afternoon outing. Once you've dried off, you can get an ice cream cone and hit the farmers' market or the local shops. Even better: This pool is located close enough to the Metro to make it worth the fare if you live in the District. Open on weekends only until June 23, then daily until September 2. Weekend hours are noon to 7 p.m.; weekdays 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., $2 for adults.
Sandy Point State Park on the Chesapeake Bay is totally worth the hour-long drive up Route 50. Pack a picnic, spread your towel out on real sand (!) and dip your toes in the water as you watch sailboats go by. Lifeguards are on duty; $3 for Maryland residents, $5 for non-residents on weekdays; $5 for Maryland residents, $7 for non-residents on weekends.
Beautiful Cunningham Falls State Park in Thurmont, Maryland (roughly an hour away from the District), is the perfect get-outta-town day trip. You can hike to the waterfall, then cool off by taking a dip in Hunting Creek Lake. Weekdays: Maryland residents, $3; non-residents, $5. Weekends: Maryland residents, $5, non-residents, $7.
At Point Lookout State Park, a peninsula formed by the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River, you can spend the day swimming, fishing, grilling, and kayaking, then camp overnight if you're really feeling adventurous. Open daily through Labor Day. $3 for Maryland residents, $5 for non-residents on weekdays; $5 for Maryland residents, $7 for non-residents on weekends.
Photos: Courtesy of D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation; Maryland Department of Natural Resources

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