Cool Off at These Under-the-Radar Nashville Pools
Hotels pools, public pools, waterparks, and more.
Walking around on a hot, humid Nashville summer day can feel like swimming on dry land, and the urge to take the plunge in an actual pool is strong. However, if you're at the awkward age where you no longer live in an apartment complex with a pool but still don’t own enough acreage for your own natatorium, it can be difficult to find a way to scratch that aquatic itch. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to get wet and wild in Music City if you know where to look for them, and we’re going to show you how.
County-wide memberships at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee start at $54 per month and offer access to the amenities at more than a dozen facilities in and around Nashville. Many of those individual Ys feature pools ranging from spartan indoor lap pools to outdoor splash pads and pools that rival some theme parks. Even if you’re not a member, you can visit as a guest with someone who is up to twice a year, and out-of-town visitors can use up to fourteen guest passes.
Cost: Free with membership
The sprawling Gaylord Opryland Resort added a new amenity in the form of SoundWaves a few years back, and it’s a stunner. Temperature-controlled indoor pools feature lazy rivers for tubing, thrilling water slides, and the area’s only double FlowRider that allows two people to boogie board on a standing wave with padded surroundings for if (when) you fall off. The outdoor attractions include even more extreme waterslides, an adults-only pool, and a wave pool. Hotel guests can add on a SoundWaves package to gain access, or you can rent out one of their party rooms for eight to 30 people starting at $47/person for an experience that includes food and drink plus all-day access to SoundWaves.
Situated on the shore and in the water of Percy Priest Reservoir, Nashville Shores has been a favorite aquatic destination for generations of Nashvillagers. In addition to an Aqua Park of inflatable climbing and jumping toys in the lake, there are plenty of opportunities to get wet without worrying about fish nibbling on your toes. Your admission ticket includes access to multiple pool areas, waterslides, a lazy river, and the Breaker Bay Wave Pool.
Cost: $49.99 and up
If you’re the type of person who likes to complain that the government never does anything for you, obviously, you’ve forgotten that Metro Nashville has built neighborhood pools all over the city, and most of them offer free admission. Now that’s a good use of tax dollars. Five indoor pools are open year-round along with outdoor options that are available during the summer.
Centennial Sportsplex houses the city’s largest public aquatic center, and you can use it all day long for less than 10 bucks. There are recreational swimming areas and short-course and long-course lanes for serious lap swimming. Check their calendar before you pack up your swimsuit and towel, because the center does host swim meets for local schools and clubs, and fitness classes may occupy parts of the pools from time to time, but you’re welcome to get fit and have fun at those classes, too.
While Centennial Sportsplex may cater to more serious swimmers, Wave Country is a different kind of Metro Nashville public waterpark that is just dedicated to folks that want to enjoy a fun day at the pool. The large pool provides periodic waves that are tall enough to body surf on, although they do have “quiet periods'' if you just want to loll in the water without the drama of waiting for the next set of waves to come crashing in. Multiple water flumes and slides offer different levels of thrills. The park has lots of fast food options, but you can also bring your own food and drink in a cooler, as long as there’s no glass or alcohol. It’s a whole lotta fun for just $12.
You may have heard of Kenect as a combo apartment complex/co-working space, but did you know that an all-day “work” pass also includes access to the gym and the rooftop pool? Well, now you do. Just tell your boss you need to do a little work outside of the office for the day, and if you happen to have packed your swimsuit, that’s just a bonus.
Cost: $40 and up
This cool, retro hotel near the airport feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, but it’s only a short ride from the urban core. The inexpensive day pass offers towel service, lounge chairs, and all-day pool access. The real baller move is to rent a cabana for four people for only $125 that adds a shady private tent with plush seating, a sofa, and a table, plus a bucket of beers and complimentary chips and salsa.
The resort-style pool deck at the AC is the place to be for an afternoon pool party on Thursdays through Saturdays during the summer. The tunes will be pumping, and those smart enough to rent a cabana will enjoy them in shady comfort with sofa seating, a ceiling fan, lounge chairs, as well as complimentary bottled water and a welcome basket of goodies.
Instead of a rooftop pool, the Grand Hyatt has cleverly positioned its rec deck just a few stories above Broadway, far enough to be out of the fray but close enough to still feel like you’re a part of the action. Grand Hyatt’s day pass includes towel service and pool access, but for just a little bit more, you can opt for a spa pass that includes a 20-minute Wellness System Wave Massage and access to saunas, steam rooms, locker rooms and fluffy robes and slippers. Yeah, you should definitely do that.
The rooftop pool at The Joseph is an urban oasis that offers up panoramic views of downtown and the hills that surround it. The diminutive heated saltwater pool is open until dark, and the food and drink available for the adjoining restaurant/bar Denim is top-notch.
Cost: $50 and up
The Wet Deck at the W Nashville Hotel is like a little slice of Vegas right smack dab in the middle of the Gulch. The sleek architecture of the pool area exudes class, and the views from high above the street makes the pedal taverns traveling by look like ants on a Tonka truck. A day pass offers first-come, first-served access to a lounge chair plus towel service, and upgrades to daybeds for four or cabanas require a food and beverage minimum. You shouldn’t have any trouble spending that money on the excellent cuisine from W’s Sunset Bar.
Cost: $50 and up
One of downtown’s best bargains is the day pass at the Hyatt Centric and its heated pool. The surrounding glass skyscrapers magnify the sun’s rays, so be sure to slather on the SPF, but you can always cool off in loungers set in the water or at the poolside bar. You might even catch a DJ spinning the wheels of steel on the weekend if you’re lucky.
The Dive Motel and the next few hotels listed here don’t use ResortPass, but they are happy to deal directly with you if you want to take a little dip in their pools. “Dive” is a double-play on words in this case, as the refurbished motel definitely exudes some old-school divey vibes. It has been updated to feature 23 one-of-a-kind rooms complete with a “party switch” that pumps the music and lights up a spinning disco ball. The pool area is a highlight of the property, and daily pool passes offer access to swimming and lounging, as well as a jacuzzi and hot tub. Visitors can also upgrade to a semi-private cabana based on availability, and don’t forget to BYOTowel. It is a motel, after all.
Cost: $10 and up
Rolling Mill Hill
This indoor/outdoor adult playground features great food and drinks, a vintage bowling alley, an upscale espresso bar, and an al fresco party deck. Play table tennis or bocce, or just hang your feet in two plunge pools that are just small enough and shallow enough to discourage any sort of exertion like actually swimming. A dedicated kitchen in a vintage Airstream provides poolside provisions, and they also offer Friday morning yoga classes on the pool deck if you absolutely insist on getting a little exercise.
The rooftop of Bobby Hotel is a wonderfully weird spot. Complete with a 1956 Greyhound scenicruiser bus that was craned up from the street to serve as the poolside bar, the deck feels like some eccentric millionaire’s secret lair surrounded by the tall buildings of the business district. Bobby management has recently decided to open up the intimate pool area to non-guests for free without the need of a day pass or anything. Keep it on the downlow, because if suddenly hundreds of people descend (ascend?) on the rooftop to take advantage of their generosity, they may have to change the policy again. If you know, you know. Now, you know.
Cost: Free, for now.