The best bets are community pools, which serve specific community members and charge visitors a nominal fee, or free city pools in Houston and its suburbs.
In Houston, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department operates 37 free public pools, where you not only swim free but also take classes free that teach swimming and water fitness. Each pool is open afternoons and evenings from Tuesday through Sunday. Children under 8 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The department also operates a heated indoor natatorium for citizens with disabilities at 1475 West Gray.
The Quillian Center is a community pool facility with two pools that accommodate pre-K children to adults.
The full-size pool for adults has water slides, diving boards, and a floating alligator.
The shallow, smaller Noah’s Ark Pool has been voted the best pool in Houston. Children love its fun mushroom water drop, mini slides, and, in the center of the pool, the fantastic playground that’s a kid-friendly depiction of Noah’s Ark.
The cost to use the pool is $7.50 per person, with discounts available for seniors age 65 and older and for active military members. Infants under the age of one are admitted free. The fees can add up for a family of four or more, so why not make the most of your time there by packing a picnic for everyone and spending the day?
10570 Westpark Dr, Houston, TX 77042
The pool at Colonial Park in the town of West University Place is a community pool with great features, including a corner with massaging jets and in-water lounge chairs. The nearby playground, rock wall, drop slide, and lily pad crossing makes the park a great all-in-one spot for outdoor fun. An on-site concession stand and plenty of shade make it easy to stay there all day.
The pool is open from mid-spring to early fall during the day, but hours may vary. Be sure to check the website before visiting, or call ahead to make sure the pool is open before making the trip.
Walk-in rates are $4 for residents and $7 for non-resident guests. Weekly, monthly, and seasonal passes can be purchased for both residents and nonresidents; however, nonresidents must be accompanied by a resident in order to purchase a guest pass. Nanny passes are also available.
4130 Byron St, Houston, TX 77005
This pool in Houston’s Memorial Park is a great spot if you’re looking for something free and don’t need a lot of bells and whistles with your water play.
This city pool is clean and well-maintained, though debris from nearby trees sometimes blows into it. Changing rooms are available on-site.
The Memorial Park pool remains open for lap swimming early mornings from Tuesday through Friday until November 3, or until the water temperature cools to below 72℉.
6402 Arnot St. Houston, Texas 77007
The Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA in downtown Houston has a large indoor pool with plenty of lanes for lap swimming and an open area for free play. Classes are also available for all ages, including basic swim lessons, water aerobics, and lifeguard training and certification.
Admission is free with a membership that covers all activities at the downtown YMCA location; nonmembers pay $25 for a day pass.
808 Pease St, Houston, TX 77002
Did you know that there are 37 free pools around Houston? I’ve lived here most of my life and I didn’t! The city of Houston has a complete list here along with a map of where to find them. These pools also offer “first come, first serve” free swim and water fitness classes.
All of the details on the classes and hours for each pool are listed online. These pools are spread all over the city, so one is bound to be close to you.