With summer just around the corner, the high temps are the perfect excuse to pack up the swim gear and hit the pool. Swim schools offer the right balance of fun, safety and skills to get even the littlest of swimmers used to the water. Whether your kid is a swimming pro or just barely starting to crawl, the Bay Area has tons of options to get kids in the water. Check out our list and find one near you!

photo: iStock

San Francisco

Featuring a four-time “Best on the Peninsula” award, the swim program at the Jewish Community Center is really top notch. Sessions start as young as 6 months with caregiver participation in the Water Babies class and move up to the Sharks class by the time they hit 12 years old. Private lessons, adult classes and swim teams are also available.

3200 California St.
San Francisco, CA
Online: jccsf.org

SF Recreation & Parks
For those looking for swim classes at a super affordable price, check out the city’s recreation center. Tot classes start out at 6 months old and for less than $10 a session for 7-10 week sessions, it’s a great way to introduce your little one to the water. Pre-school and teen classes are also offered at varying levels. Registration is done online and tends to fill up fast. Once you get a spot, bring you own towels and gear to the pool.

501 Stanyan St.
San Francisco, CA
Online: sfrecpark.org

Waterworks Aquatics
Located inside the City Sports Club, although not affiliated with it, this well-known swim school is all about teaching kids the basics right from the beginning in order to become a comfortable and proficient swimmer. Heated indoor pool makes getting in and out of the water comfortable, and a muscle memory teaching method is used to focus on technique. Private and semi-private lessons are offered as well a stroke clinic to teach more advanced, competitive swimming skills.

3291 20th Ave.
San Francisco, CA
Online: waterworksswim.com

photo: platinumportfolio via Pixabay 

La Petite Baleen
If looking to get even your youngest baby in the pool, this Presidio swim school (with other locations around the Bay) holds classes for as young as 2 months old. Toys and songs keep them happy and splashing, and the small class ratio and heated water are a win for both parents and babies. Older kids get experienced instructor sessions to build on skills and even competitive techniques. Complimentary family swim, free trial class and flexible makeups make this school one to check out.

933 Old Mason St.
San Francisco, CA
Online: swimlpb.com

Presidio YMCA
Scattered throughout the Bay, YMCA has a great reputation for teaching kids how to swim. Group, private, semi-private lessons and summer sessions are offered as young as 6 months old and are taught by certified YMCA trained instructors. We especially like the option of Specialty Group Lessons for kids of similar age and ability, which can be an awesome way to learn to swim with friends.

63 Funston Ave.
San Francisco, CA
Online: ymcasf.org

Pomeroy Recreation and Rehab Center
With programs named after adorable water animals like cuttlefish and penguins, kids as young as 6 months can have fun in the water with songs and playtime. What makes Pomeroy different is that they require an adult assist until the age of 5, so parents will be getting a lot of pool time alongside their mini me. While this might not suit everyone, the class is longer than other swim schools (45-60 minutes) and instructors can really focus on the progress of each kid.

207 Skyline Blvd.
San Francisco, CA
Online: prrcsf.org

photo: PoolSafely via flickr

East Bay

YMCA Berkeley
Lessons at the Y are run year-round with special pricing for members and non-members. Locations in the East Bay include Berkeley, Oakland, Hilltop and Pleasant Hill. Good sized changing rooms and a children’s corner (for non-participating siblings) with books and toys makes the process easier. Sessions are an affordable option with certified instructors and members can take advantage of Family Swim so the whole crew can jump in!

2001 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA
Online: ymcacba.org

East Bay Regional Park District
With locations in Antioch and Oakland, certified teachers make safety and fun their top priority. Lessons are grouped by age and ability, with the youngest session starting at 6 months old and moving all the up to age 13. Adaptive swim sessions and private lessons are also offered to those needing a more personalized lesson. Classes are 25 minutes long and meet for two consecutive weeks at both locations. Registration is online and there is even an app available on IOS for more information!

Roberts Pool
10570 Skyline Blvd.
Oakland, CA

Contra Loma Swim Lagoon
1200 Frederickson Ln.
Antioch, CA


Safe Splash Swim School
As the nation’s leading learn-to-swim school, the Fremont location is one of 5 locations around the Bay. Olympic champion Missy Franklin has endorsed the curriculum, so you know your kids will be swimming with instructors of the highest standards. 12 unique teaching levels are offered as well as special needs swim and conditioning classes. There is also a cool Splash-N-Tell event every month where students can show off what they’ve learned in class.

39153 Farwell Dr.
Fremont, CA
Online: safesplash.com

Albany Aquatic Center
With 2 pools (indoor and outdoor), classes at this Albany Unified School District owned center are held year round so kids can swim in any weather. Sessions begin at 6 months in the Tiny Tots and move all the way up to 14 years old in the Dolphin class. Private lessons and pre-swim team sessions are offered, as well as an adapted aquatics class for those with neurological, development and cognitive challenges. Swim camps are very popular and fill up fast!

1311 Portland Ave.
Albany, CA
Online: albanyaquaticcenter.com

AquaTech Swim School
Owned and operated by a husband and wife team, this swim school with locations in Alameda and Concord is all about providing an exceptional experience not just for the swimmers, but the whole family. While top-notch instructors teach new and experienced swimmers, family members have access to indoor viewing rooms, food, children’s play area and private changing stalls. Classes start at young as 6 months in the Tadpoles group with monthly and drop-in options available. Pre-competitive, technique and private lessons are also available.

2203 Mariner Square Loop
Alameda, CA
Online: aquatechswim.com

Aqua Adventure Park
Not only is this water park an awesome way to spend a hot afternoon with the kids, but it also offers some great swim lessons in a heated pool. Little ones as young as 6 months old can participate in the Parent and Me classes, with swim team prep also up for grabs. Each lesson is 25 minutes long and offered in 2-week sessions with Saturday availability. Private lessons and Saturday time slots fill up fast, so sign up if interested to reserve your spot!

40500 Paseo Padre Pkwy.
Fremont, CA
Online: goaquaadventure.com

photo: adrit1 via pixabay


Giammona Pool
Part of city of Daly City, the indoor, heated swim facility has 11 lanes, therapy pool and even a classroom. Classes are grouped by age and ability starting at 6 months and go all the way up to age 13. Daly City residents get priority registration (all done online) for lessons and the cost is less than non-residents. Dressing rooms, showers and lockers are available; just bring your own lock to use. Semi-private lessons are also available for those interested.

131 Westmoor Ave.
Daly City, CA
Online: dalycity.org 

Anderson’s Swim School
This school has been teaching little ones to swim since 1975 and has an award-winning private swimming lesson program. The pool is heated to 90 degrees, which makes getting into the water year round pretty comfortable. All lessons are 30 minutes long and is parent-participation free. Since parents (or caregivers) are not allowed in the pool during class, students need to be at least 3 years old and potty trained. There is a ton of flexibility with scheduling, as there are no sessions, but open enrollment year round. Come once a week or everyday, it’s up to you!

541 Oceana Blvd.
Pacifica, CA
Online: andersonsswim.com 

King’s Swim Academy
With locations in San Mateo (original), San Carlos and Redwood City, King’s is a parent favorite for it’s flexible schedules, great instructors and easy makeups. Classes start at 4 months old in the Baby and Me Class to get little ones used to the water and advance from there based on age and ability. We love that makeups are easy, with the flexibility to take classes at the other locations as well. Family swim is also another highlight of the swim school and it’s free!

1119 Industrial Rd. Unit G
San Carlos, CA
Online: kingsswimacademy.com

Peninsula Swim School
This Redwood City swim school is all about helping kids feel confident in the water, and have done so for decades. The school has a no fin/floaties policy, so swimmers learn proper technique from the start. The indoor/outdoor pool is heated to 92 degrees, which is win depending on weather conditions. Classes are grouped based on age and ability and start at just 3 months old. There is also the option to enroll in a free trial class to see if the school is a good fit.

1602 Stafford St.
Redwood City, CA
Online: peninsulaswim.com

photo: Shipman Swim School via yelp

Shipman Swim School
With over 20 years of success teaching kids how to swim, this husband and wife team opened up this outdoor school in 2006. Pool safety is a top concern, and each class focuses not only on technique, but also the importance of being safe around water. Private lessons are offered 18 months to 3 years and then kids are able to move on to group lessons where the ratio is 3:1. Since it is an outdoor pool, lessons are held rain or shine and will only be canceled if there is thunder or hard rain.

229 W. 20th Ave.
San Mateo, CA
Online: shipmanswimschool.com

Aqua Sports Swim Academy
If a more personalized, one on one attention is what your little one needs in a swim school, Aqua Sports might be a good option. With either 1:1 or 2:1 student to teacher ratios, you can be sure swimmers are getting individualized attention in the pool. Classes are tailored to each child’s learning style and ability, with the goal to teach safety, life long skills and confidence in the water. Each class is 25 minutes long and sessions are in a pack of 8. No free trial is offered, so make sure the school is the right fit before signing up!

212 N. San Mateo Dr., Suite 3
San Mateo, CA
Online: aquasportsswimacademy.com

photo: leoleobobeo via pixabay

South Bay

California Sports Center Aquatics Sunnyvale
The California Sports Center offers a variety of classes at various locations in the South Bay, but the Sunnyvale location is the only one that offers swim classes. The outdoor pool at Fremont High School has a great program in a fun and comfortable environment for the youngest of swimmers. Classes are 30 minutes long and start at just 6 months old in the Parent and Me class and go up to pre-competitive sessions. Specialty classes include youth water polo and springboard diving classes.

1283 Sunnyvale-Saratoga Rd.
Sunnyvale, CA
Online: calsportscenter.com 

Maki Swim School
This Montessori-based swim school is all about enabling every swimmer, at their own pace, to be confident and comfortable in the water. Classes start at just 3 months old in a playgroup type setting to get babies used in the water. After that, classes are mixed ages so siblings can swim together and everyone can learn from each other, also making scheduling super easy. Private, semi-private and group lessons are offered, with the max ratio for group classes being 3:1. There is even an option for custom scheduling to fit your family’s needs!

973 Apricot Ave.
Campbell, CA
Online: makiswim.com 

Waterworks Aquatics
With five locations offering year-round lessons in the South Bay (with the newest one in Blossom Hill), Waterworks Aquatics prides itself from teaching kids how to swim the right way, right from the beginning. A “muscle memory” method is used in order to teach proper stroke technique at a faster rate. Classes start at 2.5 years old and advance according to age and ability. Private and semi-private lessons are offered for more one-on-one instruction.

1045 E. Brokaw Rd.
San Jose, CA
Online: waterworksswim.com

Almaden Valley Athletic Club
Hidden inside the Almaden Valley Athletic Club in San Jose, kids can learn to swim as well as have access to the athletic club facilities, a win/win for families. Year round lessons are offered in a custom built pool heated to 89 degrees. Free “Barnacles” classes are offered to infants 8 weeks to 4 months in a playgroup setting before moving up to the Starfish group. Classes are 30 minutes long and offered once a week. Specialty classes include pre-competitive, Red Cross Health and Safety, and special needs.

5400 Camden Ave.
San Jose, CA
Online: avacswimschool.us 

De Anza Cupertino Aquatics
DACA has been around since 1996, becoming an award winning school and favorite of Bay Area parents. Offering recreational, pre-competitive and competitive lessons for kids as young as 3 months old in the Water Babies Class, this Cupertino swim school has all the goods. Ribbon colors separate the different levels, with Gold Starfish Level being the highest level. Special needs classes are offered as well as private, semi-private, group and drop-in lessons. Swim camps are super popular!

1080 S. De Anza Blvd.
San Jose, CA
Online: daca.org

photo: White77 via pixabay


Hamilton and Terra Linda Pools
These two community pools offer swim classes through the Happy Fish Swim School. Classes start at 6 months old in the Parent Tot class and move up from there. Class size ranges from 12:1 in the parent classes and 6:1 in the most advanced level. 3-day and 4-day sessions are available, as well as a Moderate and Intensive Sessions depending on what your kid needs. Private lessons are also an option and vary in price depending on residency. With so many options, there is a class that’s bound to be the right fit.

Hamilton Pool
203 El Bonito Dr.
Novato, CA
Online: novato.org

Terra Linda Pool
670 Del Ganado Rd.
San Rafael, CA
Online: cityofsanrafael.org

Osher Marin JCC Fitness & Aquatics Center
With lessons year round in a warm, 90-degree indoor pool, the JCC Aquatics program is one of the best in Marin. Classes are separated into Baby Swim and Kids Swim sessions to get the most out of lessons according to age and ability. Parents are in the water with little ones from 6 months to 3 years old before advancing out of baby swim lessons. Customized private and semi-private lessons are also available to schedule if looking for something a bit more one-on-one.

200 N. San Pedro Rd.
San Rafael, CA
Online: marinjcc.org

Strawberry Recreation Pool
This aquatics facility offers a 5-lane, 25-yard pool as well as a shallow teaching pool. Swim lessons are offered in 30-minute time slots depending on age and ability. The Seedlings Program is for 6 months to 3 years old and requires a caregiver in the pool. It’s a gentle way to get your little one used to the water and it’s not intended to teach your baby to swim. The Sprouts and Youth Swim Program are great advanced lessons that teach proper technique and safety. Spots fill up fast so sign up soon!

118 E. Strawberry Dr.
Mill Valley, CA
Online: strawberry.marin.org

Marinwood Aquatics
Not your average swim school, Marinwood Aquatics prides itself in getting to know your kid and teaching in a customized way so swimming is fun and worthwhile. Group lessons are offered June-August and private lessons are from April-October. Parent Tot classes are offered from 6 months to 3 years old before moving up. There are no specific classes designed for special needs kids, although the facility does have a hydraulic lift for those needing assistance getting in and out of the pool. Space is limited, so sign up early.

775 Miller Creek Rd.
San Rafael, Ca
Online: marinwood.org

Ann Curtis School of Swimming
Originally set up by Olympic swimmer Ann Curtis, this San Rafael swim school offers intensive 2-week sessions for a total of 8 lessons, each 30 minutes long. The three outdoor pools helps keep simultaneous lessons well spread out, and the 4:1 student to teacher ratio means kids get to practice their skills in a small class. There is no Parent and Me classes offered, as the minimum student age is 4 years old. The Swim Club is located alongside the swim school and is open to families and friends to play and swim.

25 Golden Hinde Blvd.
San Rafael, CA
Online: anncurtis.com

—Sandra Lee, Sabrina Martire, Olivia Boler, Sabine Klensch and Emily Myers


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