Wellness mecca San Francisco is not exactly known for its pool-perfect sunny days. Still, cool temps and persistent fog aren’t a universal deterrent for the city’s swimmers, especially when there are indoor watering holes scattered throughout its neighborhoods and adjoining boroughs—some of which are filled with anxiety-busting, immunity-boosting, glow-enhancing saline.
Yes, that’s right; salt water is a serious superstar when it comes to your health (gargling it even helps to lower inflammation—thanks, nagging Grandma!). And while the obvious solution for those wanting to soak in sodium chloride is to take a long walk off a short pier into the ocean, pools—especially those protected from the elements—can offer a convenient (read: warm) alternative.
The 4 best saltwater pool options in and around San Francisco.
This Fairmont Hotel is located in the Oakland Hills, 12 miles from San Francisco. It features three heated outdoor saltwater pools—a rare chance for vitamin D!—one for recreational swimming, one for doing laps, and another for children. You can use these facilities as a hotel guest or a club member. Learn about joining here or book a spa appointment to use the propertiy’s saline whirlpools instead.
This 41,000-square-foot recreation center offers community access to a 5-lane, 25-yard, indoor saltwater pool, which is just… awesome. You can grab a membership here (and you might need a few hardcore lap sessions to get “It’s fun to stay at the…” out of your head).
The Fillmore location of Fitness SF, a sports club, also offers a 5-lane, 25-yard indoor saline pool. 3-day trial memberships are available for those who just need temporary access to a cool dip on a “hot” (read: over 65 degrees, with some sunshine) day.
The historic Metropolitan Club—founded in 1915—is a private women’s club located in the Nob Hill area of San Francisco. Within its six floors of restaurants, bars, and fitness facilities is a saltwater pool. If you’re not a member, you can gain pool access by staying at the Metropolitan overnight (at a reasonable rate!); however, you have to be referred by someone who belongs to the club in order to do so.
Mineral Pools, various locations in San Francisco area
Though not saline, per se, several facilities in the area offer mineral pools, which include salt in addition to, well, other minerals. Try Indian Springs, Calistoga Solange, and Fairmont Sonoma Mission for a rejuvenating dip. You can also swim in the actual salt-soaked ocean through Swim Art, an organization which offers instructional clinics and expedition swims in the Pacific for those hearty enough to brave the water’s cold temps.
Los Angeles has some pretty sweet saltwater pools, too, though sometimes local swimming holes can’t quite cut it. Find out why one writer flew all the way to Japan for a healing soak.
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