Pools, rivers, beaches, water parks, and lakes help you cool down on hot days.
California Aqua Adventure Waterpark Fremont, Calif. “A whole day of fun,” says Paola Chuakay of Newark, Calif. “Splash in the refreshing pool, ride a thrilling waterslide, or just float aroundin the park’s lazy river.” (510) 494-4426, goaquaadventure.com.
Lakeport Clear Lake, Calif. “A quaint downtown, family-owned restaurants, boat launches, and places to rent multiple kinds of watercraft,” says Earl Evens of Pleasanton, Calif. (707) 263-5615, cityoflakeport.com.
McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park Burney, Calif. “When you hike to this beautiful waterfall,” says Amy Rodrigues of San Jose, “you can spy fish, enjoy the scenery, picnic, and splash in the cold water.” (530) 335-2777, burney-falls.com.
Pope Beach South Lake Tahoe, Calif. “The water is surprisingly warm in summer and early fall,” says Evangeline Padilla of Davis, Calif. “There’s a picnic area with a perfect lake view, and sometimes ducks to keep you company.” (530) 543-2600, aboutlaketahoe.com/beaches/pope_beach.htm.
Raging Waters San Jose. “Great for kids and adults,” says Shelly Piombo of Eureka, Calif. “There’s a wave pool, a lazy river, tons of waterslides, and delicious food.” (408) 238-9900, rwsplash.com.
Russian River Sonoma County, Calif. “Hands down the best place for family water fun,” writes Hayley Minier of Bodega Bay, Calif. “Get relief from the heat at one of the many public beaches and have a great afternoon picnicking, swimming, tubing, or canoeing in the gentle current.” (707) 869-9000, russianriver.com.
Salmon Creek Falls Gorda, Calif. “A wonderful, almost secret spot,” says Charlotte Sanford of San Francisco. “Meander a quarter mile into the forest to find a picturesque waterfall with gorgeous rocks and a hidden pool for swimming.” (831) 385-5434, www.fs.fed.us/r5/lospadres.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Santa Cruz, Calif. “You can’t beat this classic spot on Monterey Bay,” says Joyce Harper of Hayward, Calif. “Sun, sand, eats, and a roller coaster.” (831) 423-5590, beachboardwalk.com.
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area Whiskeytown, Calif. “A slice of heaven!” says Cathy Ellis of Ukiah, Calif. “With its clear, crisp water, this lake is a great summer escape. Fishing, boating, and camping, too.” (530) 242-3400, nps.gov/whis.
Nevada Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield Park Reno. “There are pools and currents perfect for kayaks, canoes, rafts, and inner tubes,” says Lisa Winans of Reno. “Plenty of room for swimmers—and it’s free.” (775) 334-2414, www.reno.gov.
Oregon Chozu Bath & Tea Gardens Ashland, Ore. “Call it adult water fun,” says Brad Landsiedel of Newport, Ore. “Soak in a saltwater hot pool, then cool down in a cold plunge set in a Japanese-style garden. Perfect after a day of hiking in Lithia Park.” (541) 552-0202, chozugardens.com.
Devils Punch Bowl State Natural Area South of Depoe Bay, Ore. “An amazing discovery,” says Cheryl Witters of Salem, Ore. “We took a three-generation outing there during a minus tide and explored tide pools rich with life. Five-plus stars!” (541) 994-7341, oregonstateparks.org/park_217.php.
Dexter State Recreation Site Dexter, Ore. “An all-around family-time place,” says Barbara Kochevar of Gladstone, Ore. “During warm months the lake is busy with water-skiers, boaters, and picnickers.” (541) 937-1173, oregonstateparks.org/park_244.php.
Emigrant Lake Recreation Area Ashland, Ore. “Always a warm-weather hit,” writes Carla David of Jacksonville, Ore. “What could be more fun than a waterslide on a hot afternoon?” (541) 774-8183, jacksoncountyparks.com.
Pacific City Ore. “Crabbing, beachcombing, clamming, birdwatching, photography—you’ve got lots of choices,” says Stephen Ware of Merlin, Ore. “Venture into town and discover a bunch of great things to eat—fish-and-chips, clam chowder, Hangtown fry with fresh oysters.” (503) 392-4340, pacificcity.org.
Splash! at Lively Park Springfield, Ore. “A wave pool, a waterslide, and a kiddie pool, plus a lap pool and a Jacuzzi for the adults,” says Dave Taube of Eugene, Ore. (541) 736-4244, willamalane.org.
Washington Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound, Wash. “Fun for all ages,” writes Nanette Weldon of Lincoln City, Ore. “This resort with an indoor water park has great waterslides, a wave pool, and other activities wet and dry.” (800) 640-9653, greatwolf.com/grandmound.
This article was first published in September 2010 and updated in August 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.