Roberts Pool, Oakland
This forgetting to take pictures thang is becoming a bad habit. Sorry folks! I will try to paint a picture with words lol.
High in the hills of Oakland is Roberts Regional Park. You might think a swimming pool in the redwoods may be a chilly experience but it is heated. There is a fabulous playground a few hundred feet away from the pool entrance and there are reservable picnic/BBQ spots. The shady, well-maintained lawn is luxurious to laze upon after a swim with your wee one. Floaties and life jackets can be borrowed from kids. Excellent and friendly staff and lifeguards. Parts of the shallow end was shaded by trees which was perfect for my little one. All this for $5 parking and a $3 entrance fee. Heaven, no?
Yes, except this is no east bay secret treasure: it gets hella crowded (as Bay Area natives might say). My best tip is to get there about a half hour before they open and purchase your tickets so you don’t get put on the waiting list. If you go with some friends they can take the kids to the playground while you do this and then you can wait near the entrance so you can be one of the first in to snag a great spot on the lawn. I met several friendly Moms with their babies or toddlers who all said the same thing: it is a beautiful spot but can get too crowded and too crowded with rowdy swimmers. When we went it was just us and perhaps five others in the pool for the first twenty minutes or so. After that it was packed (but still manageable with a toddler for me).
If you can be comfortable with a crowded situation, I highly recommend it! We had so much fun!! Super beautiful and refreshing. Notably, if your child is special needs they have private hours for folks with disabilities which don’t appear to be crowded.