Kids and Family

It's Hot and You're Going Stir Crazy: Where to Find a COVID-Safe Pool

The Lorenzo Hotel pool
The Lorenzo Hotel pool Lauren Drewes Daniels
Feel like slipping into a pool of calm blue water, slipping your head underwater and muffling out all the noise? We get that. And while we might not be in our primest bikini shape — literally rolling out of the winter of COVID — who cares? Get outside in the fresh air, dive deep and let all the wetness wet you.

On July 3, the state updated the minimum protocols for swimming pools. Basically, no groups of more than 10 people, groups must maintain a 6-foot distance and everyone must wear a face mask except when in the water.

Pools are allowed to open at 50% capacity, although some places are taking a hard pass. There is a line in the state protocols that reads, “Swimming pools are open at the discretion of the pool owner," which seems open for interpretation. In our research, it's a mixed bag as to which pools are open and which aren't. Here is a guide as of Monday, but as we're learning, things can change.

Dallas Aquatics hasn't opened any of their community pools yet. But, on their Facebook page they swear they miss us all terribly: “As SOON as we know something definitive, we will be shouting it from the rooftops to let you know — and of course posting it here and our website.” 

The Dallas Fraternal Order of Eagles' pool is closed for now with no indication of plans to open.

The Gaylord Texan's lazy river has reopened, and they've been running fire sales of sorts on their website. The list of protocols for visiting the pool is long-ish, but that lazy river is nice.

click to enlarge You can rent this for just $100 an hour. - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS/SIMPLY.COM
You can rent this for just $100 an hour.
Lauren Drewes Daniels/
Swimply is a new service that is like the Airbnb of pools: You can rent other people’s private pools by the hour. So, those neighbors who never use their pool? Well, now you can use it while they’re doing whatever it is they do to pay for a pool they never use. There are about 45 local pools listed to choose from, of various shapes, sizes and amenities. 

Hotel pools seem to be open, although most, such as The Statler, require guests to make reservations for a certain time to prevent overcrowding and allow for breaks for the area to be sanitized. Some sell day passes, like The Adolphus and The Anatole's Jade Waters via The Lorenzo Hotel has day passes at the front desk ($20 each). Call ahead and get specific details prior to heading over. 

A few public pools in Richardson recently opened

Epic Waters in Grand Prairie, the largest indoor water park in Texas, is open, along with a few of their outdoor public pools.

Arlington city pools are open. They've created a system that allows swimmers in for two-hour increments, then they close to clean the facilities for half an hour and reopen. As guests enter, they pick chairs/space, which are spaced at 6 feet between parties. In the water, it's a free-for-all, but chlorine and sun ... so, we're good, right? This writer takes her kids at least twice a week and always feel good about it. Night swimming (8:30 to 10:30 p.m.) on Monday and Wednesday at Woodland West is a favorite.

click to enlarge Woodland West swimming pool in Arlington, just a big old pool of water - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
Woodland West swimming pool in Arlington, just a big old pool of water
Lauren Drewes Daniels

The 168,000-gallon saltwater Texas Pool in Plano has reopened for fun in the sun; except for Mondays.

Burger’s Lake in northwest Fort Worth is open to any and all, with no apparent capacity limits. The 1-acre sandy bottom, spring-fed watering hole is a little slice of bliss. If at all possible, go during the week when it’s not as crowded. And they do have good burgers.

click to enlarge The Paluxy River inside Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS
The Paluxy River inside Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose
Lauren Drewes Daniels

This spot is a wee bit of a drive, but the Paluxy River that snakes through Dinosaur Valley State Park is one of the best-kept secrets in North Texas (see photo above). We probably shouldn't have used "snakes" as a verb because visitors do need to be aware of their surroundings. However, on a recent weekend, couples had brought coolers and small grills riverside to watch the water go by. Swimmers can take a dip in the shallow river, perhaps after a hike through the park. If you go, you’ll need to reserve a day pass in advance.

Once there, only a silly head would park in that first parking lot. Thankfully you're more clever than most, so wind back into the park and find the parking lot furthest from humanity. The water is a very short walk and there's hardly anyone there. Afterward, head over to Loco Coyote for chicken-fried steak and onions rings so big they're downright arrogant. That's a solid road trip right there.

Stay cool, Dallas. 
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.