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Oregon Family Magazine

Hot Tips for Getting Cool

06/03/2021 ● By Eugene Cascades Coast
(Originally published by Eugene Cascades Coast)

For many families, summertime means afternoon barbeques, popsicles, sprinklers and SWIMMING. So where can you go with the kids to cool off this summer? At Travel Lane County, we get this question frequently, so here are some suggestions:

First of all, make safety your priority. The best places to swim are supervised — that would be our city pools. Amazon Pool, Sheldon Pool, Echo Hollow Pool, Willamalane Pool and the ever-popular Splash! wave pool are perfect starting places. You can also enjoy taking little ones to the spray pad at Washington Park for some non-swimming but splashy play.

We all know pandemic protocols have curtailed consistent access over the last year, so there is a new trend for finding swimming pools — book a staycation overnight at a local hotel and use their pool! 

Check to make sure the hotel pools are open and confirm their protocols, as some hotels require time slot reservations. And as these pools do not have lifeguards, swim at your own risk.

Here is another option — many of our local lake-front parks offer designated swim areas. While also unsupervised, these swim bays are within managed parks and roped off from boat traffic. Swim areas typically have gentle water access with sloping beaches and are great for toddlers splashing along the shoreline. Please always watch your children (put away that cell phone), heed any posted signage, and be aware that water depth can change suddenly. 

Designated swim areas may require day-use passes, but often have plentiful parking and added amenities like restrooms, trash receptacles and picnic tables. Check to make sure the parks are operating (as some may close due to pandemic protocols) before heading out. 

Popular destinations include Cleawox Lake and Honeyman Park in Florence, Perkins Peninsula Park and Orchard Point Park in Veneta, Baker Bay Park in Cottage Grove, and Lowell State Recreation Site in Lowell.

How about natural swimming holes? These are always exciting, and require a little driving, a little hiking and a LOT of safety awareness. Please be extra mindful about strong currents, cold water temperatures, slippery rocks and unknown hazards lurking beneath the surface. Don’t jump or dive, and stay vigilant. Always wear a life jacket when boating, paddling, rafting or wading and swimming in moving water.

The coastal range offers the meandering Sweet Creek Falls Trail outside of Mapleton. Short easy hikes from multiple trailheads pass many small, shallow pools.

Siuslaw Falls in Lorane has a natural wide pool, nice for wading. Wear closed toe water shoes to avoid stubbing toes and watch for sudden drops into deeper water. The Lake Creek Rock Slides at Triangle Lake are also a draw, but caution is urged as these can be slippery.

In Cottage Grove, hike to Brice Creek’s deep pools or Sharps Creek rocky pool — both better for older children. 

If you are exploring natural swimming holes, always let someone know where you are going. Respect private property and only enter land that is open to the public. Stay on paths to avoid erosion issues and trampling habitats. And be prepared with clothing layers, sun protection, water and food. See Travel Lane County’s Adventure Checklist for additional guidance. 

During pandemic protocols, please give others plenty of space on the trail and wear masks as needed. Don’t forget to Take Care Out There!