With 20+ Lake Michigan beaches just 30-45 minutes from Grand Rapids, local residents spend a lot of time in and around the water. But you don’t have to travel to the coast for amazing aquatic adventure – there are pools, splash pads and parks with water features all around town. Many are open year-round, so be sure to pack your swimwear whenever you visit!
Indoor PoolsBack to Top of List
Indoor pools are available to guests at nearly 60 area hotels, including nine downtown properties. Many pool facilities include a hot tub area and adjacency to an on-site fitness center – and, of course, the pool water is always heated to a comfortable temperature. Visit our Hotels page and select “Indoor Pool” under “Narrow Your Search” at the left-hand side of the page to browse these accommodations. You can narrow your search even further by selecting a specific region and/or rate-per-night range.
The Holiday Inn Express Grand South features what may be the city’s most elaborate pool set-up. Its 10,000 sq. ft. pool area – dubbed the “Little Dip Splash Pad” – features a heated pool, vortex pool, whirlpool jacuzzi, slides, tipping buckets and zero-depth toddler area in addition to the splash pad referenced in the name. The pool is open from 9am-11pm daily.
Outdoor PoolsBack to Top of List
The city of Grand Rapids operates three outdoor pools open to residents and visitors alike. Briggs Park pool (in northeast GR), Martin Luther King Jr. Park pool (southeast) and Richmond Park pool (northwest) are open from June through August, and offer restrooms/locker rooms, waterslides, concession stands, picnic tables and other amenities. Open swim admission is $1 for residents age 17 and under, and $3 for resident adults. Non-resident children pay $3 and adults pay $5. All three pools are staffed by lifeguards.
A number of hotels also offer outdoor or indoor/outdoor pools, including Clarion Inn & Suites Airport, Drury Inn & Suites Grand Rapids, Knights Inn Grand Rapids, Residence Inn by Marriott Grand Rapids West, Staybridge Suites Grand Rapids - Airport and Sheraton Grand Rapids Airport Hotel. Outdoor pools are seasonal, please contact hotels for availability.
Family fun at the indoor pool at the Amway Grand Plaza.
Photo by Experience Grand Rapids
Fitness Centers PoolsBack to Top of List
The Aquatics Center at The Salvation Army Kroc Center houses a giant waterslide, water basketball court, zero-depth play area, a hot tub and a lazy river ideal for inner tubing and gentle aerobics. There are also three 25-yard lap lanes for more serious exercise. Visitors can purchase a day pass – $8 for ages 0-11 and $12 for ages 12+ – to access the Aquatics Center and other open recreation areas.
Guest passes can also be purchased to access pool facilities at several area YMCAs, including downtown’s David D. Hunting YMCA, southeast GR’s Mary Free Bed YMCA, Grandville’s Visser Family YMCA and Wyoming’s Spartan Nash YMCA. Fees range from $7 (for ages 17 and under) to $15 (adults 18 and older) to $30 (for a family pass).
Splash PadsBack to Top of List
The Millennium Park splash pad is fun for kids of all ages!
Photo by Nick Irwin for Experience GR
The Mehney Splash Pad at Millennium Park, just five minutes from downtown GR, was ranked the #7 best splash pad in the country by USA Today readers in 2023. It offers more than a dozen sprayers, buckets, splashers and other features, and it’s just steps away from a six-acre beach, swimming lake, boat rental facilities and assorted other amenities. Daily admission to the beach and splash pad ranges from $2-$4, with two-year-olds and younger admitted free.
The city of Grand Rapids operates 15 splash pads that are free to use and open daily from 10am-9pm during the summer season. They are situated in every quadrant of the city: northeast (Aberdeen Park, Briggs Park, Fuller Park, Mary Waters Park), northwest (Lincoln Park), southeast (Alger Park, Cherry Park, Garfield Park, the Gerald R. Ford Academic Center, Joe Taylor Park, Mulick Park, Wilcox Park) southwest (Campau Park, Roosevelt Park) and even downtown (Heartside Park).
Parks with Water FeaturesBack to Top of List
Summer fun at the Great Lakes Garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
Photo by Nick Irwin for Experience GR
The Children’s Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park features one of the city’s most beloved water features: the Great Lakes Garden. This is a water play area where kids can launch a toy boat, build a bridge and walk on all the Great Lakes states. Kids can’t resist splashing about in the water, so bring a towel and change of clothes when you visit.
The Great Lakes Garden is open during warm-weather months. Admission to the Children’s Garden is included with general admission to the park: $20 for guests 14-64 years old and $10 for children 3-13. Kids 2 and younger get in free.
A little farther afield, Michigan’s Adventure & Wildwater Adventure Park offers three wave pools, body slides, speed slides, a “Funnel of Fear” slide and other water features for all ages, in addition to 60+ roller coasters and thrill rides. It’s located in Muskegon, about 40 minutes northwest of Grand Rapids, and is open seasonally. A single-day admission will cost $39.99 in 2024.
Another 20 minutes north of Wildwater is the Double JJ Resort, a rustic, ranch-style destination that includes an indoor Gold Rush Waterpark and outdoor waterpark in addition to two golf courses, 18 miles of trails, equestrian activities and more.
The Gold Rush Waterpark offers 60,000 sq. ft. of water excitement, including West Michigan’s tallest indoor waterslide, thrill sides, a wave pool, toddler pool, lazy/crazy river, water fort, water basketball and hot tubs. Gold Rush is open daily during the summer and on weekends the rest of the year. A day pass is $25, and kids aged 3 and younger get in free.
The Outdoor Waterpark at Double JJ features a waterslide, two pools, a splash pad and waterpark. Open seasonally, it offers free admission to resort guests and a $10 day pass to visitors. Again, children 3 years old and younger are admitted free.
Rates and times can change without notice, so it’s best to check websites or contact hotels and attractions directly to confirm details before your visit.