Watermelon, bike rides, lemonade stands… certain foods and activities just suggest summer – but nothing conjures memories of erstwhile sunny seasons quite as well as an afternoon spent poolside. No matter if you’re a high-diver or a toe-dipper, whether you’re escaping the city or staycationing, Essex County is home to plenty of pools to suit your preference. Read on for a guide to ten local pools throughout Essex County for those days when the backyard sprinkler simply won’t cut it.
Cedar Street Pool | Woodside Avenue, West Caldwell
Cedar Street pool is one of two options for the residents of West Caldwell. Locals who live in Caldwell, and in certain cases, Roseland, might also qualify to register for membership at these locations. As of June 25, both pools are open on a daily basis. What sets Cedar Street apart from its twin is a designated “kiddie pool,” making this spot a great place to introduce your little swimmer to some summer fun. In addition to the children’s space and main pool, recreation areas are available to those who’d like to relax or play on land for a bit. Applications for membership can be found online, though seasonal I.D. badges must be acquired at the Municipal Offices.
Essex Pool | 41 Chestnut Street, Montclair
Essex Pool is one of three public options for swimmers in Montclair. These town pools are incredibly family-friendly, offering package memberships to accommodate families and even caregivers specifically. However, on a rotating basis, the three pools offer a two-hour adult swim as well. General hours are typically consistent across the three venues, weather permitting. According to the official website, all are open from 12:30PM to 8PM on weekdays and from 11AM to 8PM on weekends until mid-August. To qualify for membership, all residents must apply with proof of address and should have their photo taken at the Montclair Recreation Department.
Read More: Your Guide to Water Parks in the Northeast
Ginny Duenkel Pool | 01/2 Cherry Street, West Orange
West Orange’s local pool was named for Virginia Duenkel, a local athlete who competed (and medaled) in the 1964 Olympics. The facility is reserved for West Orange residents, and remains very affordable — membership rates have not seen an increase in five years. The pool deck features three pools, including a diving tank, water slide, and spray pad area. In addition, patrons can enjoy treats from the snack bar in a spacious dining area. Members note that the annual Sports and Games night is a favorite event, though a regular day at Ginny Duenkel can be just as fun. On the weekdays, the pool is open from 12PM until 7:30PM, while the weekends see slightly extended hours.
Glen Ridge Community Pool | 35 Clark Street, Glen Ridge
The Glen Ridge Community Pool (GRCP) is open to locals as of Memorial Day Weekend. Each year, the pool typically offers an array of swim lessons and swim team sign-ups for children of school age. However, 2021 is still not a typical year. Registration is solely online this year and additional covid guidelines remain in place. Members must make reservations prior to being admitted. Furniture will not be provided this season, though members may bring their own portable chairs and tables. Guests are not allowed at the moment and pool-goers are strongly encouraged to wear masks when not bathing.
Mervyn V.T. Haines Community Pool | 10 Wahler Road, Livingston
Haines Community Pool might just be the place to party. On Saturday, June 26, the town kicked off the summer with a “Pool Bash” open to the public. The well-laid-out complex (complete with table games, a wading pool, lap pool, and a waterslide) is accessible for all. Lockers and dressing rooms (with private showers) help to ease the transition from the chlorine to the car. In the summer, the pool is open from 10AM to 8PM.
Mountainside Pool | 205 Upper Mountain Avenue, Montclair
Located in the popular Mountainside Park, this pool is the second in the Montclair system. As with Essex Pool, membership is facilitated by the local Recreation Department and hours are the same as those detailed above. However, unlike Essex, Mountainside will remain accessible until early September. Interestingly, renovations on the broader park were officially completed in the fall of 2019. Due to the terribly restricted nature of 2020, this summer season will thus be a first for many locals who aim to enjoy both the upgraded athletic fields and Mountainside’s pool facilities.
Nishuane Pool | High Street, Montclair
Last but certainly not least, Nishuane completes the set of Montclair’s community pools. Group swim lessons, aquacise, and adult swim are advertised at each spot but please note that the three Montclair pools often host programs on a rotational basis. So, before you hop in the car, be sure to check website updates to determine the best location for your planned activity.
Peter S. Connor Memorial Swimming Pool | 5 Mead Street, South Orange
Also called the South Orange Community Pool, this space is located within the Cameron Field Complex. The broader compound features a baseball field, tennis courts, and field sports area that are all up for use. An idyllic duck pond sits close by (no swimming here, please). Membership can be purchased online if you are a full-time resident of the village. Unfortunately, guests are not allowed and the pool is still operating at a restricted capacity this year due to public health concerns. Refer to the website for the most up-to-date info.
See More: A Guide to Lavender Fields in New Jersey
Verona Community Pool | 257 Fairview Avenue, Verona
Brightly colored umbrellas line the large Verona Community Pool from all sides, covering the ample seating section from the summer sun. Beyond one end of the pool deck sits a gazebo, which can be rented for special occasions. A three hundred-foot slide, shuffleboard courts, table games, and a beach volleyball area compliment the expansive main pool (note that you will need to bring your own athletic supplies). On Tuesday nights, members look forward to a weekly “Family Fun Night” throughout the season. Verona residents are welcome to take advantage of this facility by securing a membership online. Due to COVID updates, hours are still shifting and certain capacity restrictions are in place so be sure to check the official “Occupancy Tracker” online before you go.
Westville Avenue Pool | 293 Westville Avenue, West Caldwell
This pool, the aforementioned twin to Cedar Street, is also available for residents of West Caldwell, Caldwell, and occasionally Roseland. One membership, obtained through an online application and visit to the Municipal Office, is valid for use at both pools located in the Township. Westville offers lap swimming from 11:30AM to 12:30PM, adult aquatic classes, and children’s swim lessons. An official swim team is open to interested elementary and high-school students. Alongside the standard pool, you’ll find basketball courts and a playground, so family and friends will be entertained both in and out of the water. If needed, day passes for guests can be purchased by members upon arrival at the pool offices.