Area pools, lakes and beaches offer summer swimming options

Special to GO — If you’re looking for an escape from the summer heat, area swimming pools, lakes and beaches offer a variety of options.


Justin K. Ward Aquatic Center at the Highlands County YMCA, 100 YMCA Lane, Sebring, has an outdoor, heated pool with 10 25-yard lanes. The facility is open year round, Monday-Thursday 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and  Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

YMCA day passes are $5 per visit. Monthly and annual members are available for the whole YMCA or “swim only.”

For more information online go to

The center also includes a splash pad for the little ones, so everyone can enjoy the water all year long!

The YMCA offers a variety of swimming lessons including parent/child classes for ages 6 months to 36 months, preschool lessons for ages 3 to 5, and youth level lessons for pages 6 to 14.

Private swim lessons for all ages are also available. Lessons are booked through the Aquatics Director, Jarrod Fuchs at 863-382-9622.

For more information on the YMCA or the aquatic center, call 863-382-9622

• Highlands County residents also enjoy swimming in area lakes.

Lake Jackson, covering 9,212 acres, is located within the city of Sebring. Lake Jackson is approximately 25 feet at its deepest. Most of the area is fairly shallow. The lake has a number of private beaches as well as public swimming beaches.

Veterans Beach, 215 Lakeview Drive, has picnic shelters with grills, a playground, and a small beach.

City Pier Beach is located just to the West of Downtown Sebring. The park has a play area, public restrooms and a public beach.

The public beaches are open from sunrise to sunset.


The Pioneer Park Aquatic Center, 866 S. R.715 Belle Glade, has pools, tipping buckets and water slides. The Pioneer Park Aquatics Center summer hours (through Sept. 4) include Open Swim hours Tuesday-Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The pool is closed on Sunday and Monday.

The schedule changes slightly for holidays. On July 4, the pool will be open noon to 4 p.m. On Sept. 4, the pool will be open noon to 4 p.m.

When Palm Beach County Public Schools are in session, the pool is open only on Saturdays. Admission is $1 per person (93 cents plus tax). Infants under the age of 2 are admitted free. Vinyl cover and swim diapers are available for $4 plus tax.

Pioneer Park Aquatic Center. Photo courtesy Amelia Pucket.

Pool passes — good for 20 admissions — are available for $15.

Pioneer Park Aquatic Center is available to rent after hours for functions such as birthday parties and group events with a minimum of two hours. The fee is $60 per hour.

Palm Beach County is proud to offer the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program, the most comprehensive and effective program available. Based on a logical, six-level progression that helps swimmers about 6+years old and adults develop their water safety, survival and swimming skills. It is designed to give participants a positive learning experience.

The center will offer four sessions of swim lessons this summer. Session 1 runs June 6-16; registration is Saturday, June 3 starting at 8 a.m. Session 2 is June 20-30; Registration is June 17, starting at 8 a.m. Session 3 is July 11-21; Registration is July 8, starting at 8 a.m. Session 4 is July 25-Aug. 4; Registration is July 22, starting at 8 a.m.

For information, please call 561-993-3892.


• Okeechobee Sports Complex: The Okeechobee Sports Complex Pool, 640 N.W. 27th Lane in Okeechobee. Okeechobee County Sports Complex pool, 580 N.W. 27th Lane in Okeechobee. For information call 863-467-7667.

Summer pool hours run May 30-Aug. 7: Tuesday-Friday, from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, from 1 to 6 p.m.

Family Swim Nights are Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Family Swim Night admission is $2 per person.

Aug. 13-Sept. 25, the pool will be open Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.
Admission is $3 per person per day. Children age 3 and younger are admitted free but must be accompanied by a swimming adult. Passes good for 10 visits are available for $25. Children under the age of 12 will not be admitted without an adult.

Discount rates are also available for groups of more than 15 people (including daycare centers) and for non-profit organizations.

Lap swimming admission is $2 per day.

Swim lesson sessions run June 5 to July 20. Registration for swim lessons will be June 1 and 2 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the pool. Cost is $40 per child, with a $5 discount for additional siblings living in the same household.

Okeechobee Sports Complex Pool

Senior Water Exercise sessions are available through Sept. 29 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 9:45 a.m. Senior water exercise is $2 per person per visit.

The pool can be rented for private parties at a rate of $60 for two hours and $20 for each additional hour. For additional guests, the charge is $20 for up to 30 additional guests.

Okeechobee KOA, 4276 US Highway 441 South in Okeechobee, offers summer pool memberships for area residents.

Membership fees are based on the number of adults and children covered. The KOA has two large pools — one for families and one for adults only — as well as a wading pool for the little ones. For information, call 863-763-023.


Clewiston Swimming Pool: Clewiston’s public swimming pool at 113 W. Osceola Ave. has both a water slide and a diving board. The pool is open Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. Entry fee is $4 per person. Children under the age of 3 are admitted free with a paid adult. For more information, please call 863-983-7656.

The pool will offer swimming lessons from beginner to advanced, June 12 to 29; and, July 10-28. Deadline for registration is July 2.

There will be three classes starting at 9:05 a.m. for 45-minute sessions.

Children must be at least 5 years old by Sept. 1.

The pool is also available for pool parties. The fee is $132 plus tax for 2 hours.
For questions contact Joanna Gutierrez at 863-983-1492 or email at

Harlem Swimming Pool:  Swimming Lessons from beginner to advance will be offered at the Harlem Swimming Pool, 2001 10th Street in Clewiston. For more information, call 863-674-5252.


Public beaches on the Atlantic Coast include:

Alex’s Beach, one mile south of Jensen Beach on Highway A1A, in Jensen Beach is open for swimming, shelling, and dune walkovers. The beach is pet friendly and ample parking make this beach a favorite.

Bathtub Reef Beach, 1585 S.E. MacArthur Blvd., Stuart, on the south end of Hutchinson Island, is one of the most popular sunning and swimming beaches. Scuba diving is also available offshore in the shallow waters around the reef.

Chastain Beach, 1213 S.E. McArthur Blvd., Stuart, is between House of Refuge and Bathtub Reef along Highway A1A. The beach is not guarded year round, so check to make sure a lifeguard is on duty. (The historic House of Refuge was originally built and manned to help shipwreck survivors.).

Frederick Douglass Park, 3500 S. A1A, Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, is on South Hutchinson Island. The beach covers 13.7 acres. Lifeguards are on duty during summer months only. This beach is one of the few places you can ride a horse on the beach. Guided tours on horseback are available, advance registration is required at If you are interested in riding your own horse on the beach, you must purchase an annual or weekly riding permit. For more information online go to

The dogs certainly enjoyed their day at the beach.

Walton Rocks Beach, 6501 South A1A, on South Hutchinson Island, is an off-leash dog beach. The 24-acre beach, has convenient parking, bathrooms with showers and a natural reef that is exposed at low tide. Dogs must be under their owner’s control at all times. Dog owners must clean up after their pets.

Glasscock Beach, 4775 N.E. Ocean Blvd, Stuart, Martin County, is off Highway A1A north of Jensen Beach Causeway. This beach is perfect for surfing and shelling.

House of Refuge Beach, one mile south of Stuart Beach on Highway A1A in Hobe Sound is a good spot for snorkeling.

Jensen Beach, 4191 NE Ocean Blvd., Jensen Beach, at intersection of Highway A1A and State Route 732, is a popular spot for visitors. The park area has volleyball courts as well as bathrooms and showers.

Kimberly Bergalis Beach, off South A1A on South Hutchinson Island, has lifeguards on duty during summer months only. There are covered picnic areas, restrooms and showers.

Pepper Park Beach Park, 3375 N. A1A, Fort Pierce, on North Hutchinson Island includes 52.4 acres and is guarded year round. The beach has a large pavilion, picnic tables with grills, restrooms, showers, playground, volleyball, basketball, tennis courts, ample parking. This beach is next to the Navy UDT-SEAL Museum.

Stokes Beach off Highway A1A in Jensen Beach offers opportunities for swimming, surfing and snorkeling.

Waveland Beach, 10350 S. A1A, on South Hutchinson Island, includes 3.6 acres. The beach is guarded year round and has bathrooms & showers.

Gulf Coast public beaches include:

Fort Myers Beach, off Estero Boulevard in the City of Fort Myers Beach, is on San Carlos Bay, which is wide open to the Gulf of Mexico, although not actually on the gulf. It is billed as the safest beach on the Gulf Coast because of its calm and shallow waters. There are more than 30 beach access points. The beaches are open from sunrise to half an hour past sunset.

Sanibel Island is a barrier island just offshore from Fort Myers, accessible by the Sanibel Causeway. The island has sandy beaches that are well known for shelling. The beaches have public restrooms.

Beach parking is $2 per hour. Captiva Island, also known for its beaches, is accessible over a bridge which crosses at Turner Beach.

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