We’re inching closer to Memorial Day weekend, and pool season is upon us – once the rains subside! Many of us have already been to a swimming pool in between the rain showers, or are ready to visit the public pool once the summer heat hits in earnest. We have a wide variety of neighborhood and municipal pools to choose from here in Austin – don’t forget to check the City of Austin’s website for a massive list of pools and splash pads to plan your trip.
What to Bring to The Pool
Before heading out to take a dip, take a look at our list of what to bring to the pool below. You may not need all of these items, but there are bound to be a few you might want that you didn’t consider bringing.
Standard issue: for a trip to a public pool (or any pool for that matter) it is always best to bring a few pool essentials, including:
- Sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
- A towel to dry off with when you get out of the water.
- Sunglasses and a hat to protect your face and head (while in or out of the pool).
- A bottle of water, to keep yourself hydrated while you’re out in the sun.
Beyond the usual suspects, here are some additional items you might consider bringing, depending on the pool you are going to and who is going with you.
- Water shoes may be helpful if you are swimming somewhere with uneven terrain, or if you just have sensitive feet.
- Goggles, fins, a kickboard – bring any tools you’d like to use to make your swimming experience more fun, or just get a good workout.
- A blanket and/or a camping chair with a shade will make you more comfortable when you are not in the pool. Many public pools in Austin have limited shade and seating areas, so if you plan to relax, make sure you can do it comfortably.
- Take some snacks with you if you plan to stay a while, or if you know you’ll work up an appetite after swimming. Make sure to check the pool website beforehand, though, as a handful of pools (such as Barton Springs) prohibit outside food.
- If the kiddos are in tow, make sure to pack some small toys for the pool, swim diapers for those who are not potty-trained, and floaties/life jackets for those who need them.
- Many public pools have restrooms, showers, and a changing area. Take a change of clothes if you plan to go somewhere after your swim.
What Not to Bring
It’s also important to consider what NOT to bring when taking a trip to the public pool. Here are a few public pool tips on what to leave at home, but always check the pool’s website to be sure.
- Glass containers are prohibited at swimming pools, to avoid injuring pool patrons.
- The consumption of alcohol and cigarettes is not permitted at public pools in Austin.
- Any music source, such as a radio or boom box, is typically forbidden unless accompanied by headphones.
- Sports equipment may be restricted in some cases, mainly basketballs, footballs, frisbees, etc.
- Outside food and drink may be off limits as well.
Though not prohibited in most pools, patrons are strongly encouraged to leave valuables at home. A smattering of public pools may have lockers available, but your valuables are always safer at your residence.
Make sure your trip to the public pool is a pleasant one – be prepared before you go! And any time you are out and about this summer, remember that the Zika virus is in the Central Texas area and carried by our mosquitoes. Though there have been only a handful of cases in our area, it is important to protect yourself. When you’re not swimming, an application of bug spray is not a bad idea. There are also several mosquito-repellent tools you can use while swimming, such as mosquito patches and mosquito repellent bracelets. If you feel there is a mosquito problem near your area contact ABC to help get rid of these pests.