Since Chattanooga has started to melt, I thought now would be a great time to highlight our favorite swimming spots! I’ll try to give tips for what to do nearby, like whether you should pack a picnic or if you can eat out for little nearby, and also what ages are best for each spot. Having an 11-, six-, and five-year-old, I’ve visited these spots often over a span of ages!
We don’t have a pool. Instead of wallowing in that, we go to free or cheap swim spots! Some of you have pools and generously invite your friends over; I look forward to Monday pool days at a friend’s house. Apart from that, I like to take the short trip from our yard sprinkler in Ringgold to downtown Chattanooga to enjoy some of these spots. Early morning is the sweet spot to get the kids out, before the sun is beaming down and we get distracted with something at home.
This is a favorite early morning spot. Giant carved animals spray water and bubble up in surprising patterns from the ground. You can’t help but hear the squeals of happy kids when summer comes! It can get pretty crowded in the summer with tourists stopping by. It’s completely open, so bring a set of eyes for each little one or assign siblings to a buddy. Safety aside, the giant grass park is a great place to run or scoot around while the kids dry off. The antique carousel nearby is just $1 per ride. Bathrooms and parking are great as well. I’m not sure when they turn the fountains on, but we have been as early as 9am and they’ve been on. Bring a picnic blanket, snacks and water. There are restaurants close by as well as ice cream, but it’s shielded with a tree line so kids won’t be begging to go every few minutes.
This was a favorite when my wild boy couldn’t yet swim. There is a splash pad that’s gated with covered picnic tables and chairs, so no escaping toddlers! Plenty of room to play and stay cool. Sit in peace with a lifeguard close by to both the splash pad and pools where older siblings can play. Hours from the website: Saturday – Wednesday, open 12:30pm-5pm. Thursday – Friday, open 11:30am-5pm.
3. Aquarium Plaza
I remember going here as a kid and like the memories that come flooding when we take the kids! All ages have fun wading through the little creeks. It’s located directly outside of the Tennessee Aquarium’s front entrance. You can sit in shade on the steps while you soak your feet in water. Of course the Aquarium is close by, but so is Mellow Mushroom and Ross’ Landing, another favorite water spot to travel to.
4. The Passage at Ross’ Landing
This is a surprising walkway down from Riverfront Parkway to the Tennessee River. Out of nowhere, a Weeping Wall giving tribute to the Cherokee Tribe Trail of Tears, turns into stairs with water flowing down. At the bottom is a fairly deep and shaded pool where you can swim. I am so proud of our town for taking a terrible time in history and turning it into a place where everyone is welcome to enjoy. You can show up here with just clothes on and enjoy the stairs. For the pool, you would need to take a change of clothes. There isn’t a bathroom too close by, so stop before taking the descent down.
I MUST hear where you like to stay cool in the summer in Chattanooga! I live in Ringgold, GA so the city pool in Fort Oglethorpe is a family favorite for night swims. Kids are taking lessons through the YMCA right now, and I’m ready to shed the flotation devices and have some more peace of mind!
Karenza showcased outdoor swimming holes for us to enjoy close to Chattanooga. I can’t wait to visit some of these! Hiking to a water spot is much more my speed.