School is out, and the weather is perfect for fun in the water. Whether you’re looking for a splash pad for a toddler or a pool to swim laps, Salem and the surrounding communities have many great options. Some of these locations are familiar to most Salem residents, but there are also small splash pads hidden in neighborhood parks and some great community pools within a short drive of Salem that are worth visiting. If this summer is anything like the past few, most of us will need good places to cool down when the temperature starts climbing.

Salem pools and splash pads
Kids take advantage of the hot afternoon to play at the splash pad at Riverfront Park. Photo credit: Mollie Nouwen

Splash Pads in Major Parks in Salem

Riverfront Park
200 Water Street NE, Salem

River Road Park
3045 River Road N, Salem

Splash pads in Salem are a fun and free way to keep cool. At the height of summer, kids flock to the larger splash pads, which open daily until 8 p.m. The two most popular are the ones at Riverfront Park and River Road Park in Keizer. These two splash pads open at 10 a.m., two hours earlier than the splash pads in the neighborhood parks throughout the city. Both of these splash pads are large and include many different kinds of water features — tall and short, spraying and dumping so kids of all ages enjoy these fun summer hangouts. These splash pads are also at large parks that include extensive play structures, and both parks host a variety of events throughout the summer, from the many soccer games at River Road Park to the community events at Riverfront Park.

Salem pools and splash pads
The old-fashioned fountain at Englewood Park in the grove of old oaks. Photo credit: Mollie Nouwen

Salem Neighborhood Park Splash Pads

Englewood Park
1260 19th Street NE, Salem

Northgate Park
3575 Fairhaven Avenue NE, Salem

Wes Bennett Park
2200 Baxter Road SE, Salem

West Salem Park
265 Rosemont Avenue NW, Salem

Multiple smaller neighborhood parks also have splash pads and fountains to play in. All of these are open from noon to 8 p.m. daily. Northgate Park has a nice newish splash pad with a small variety of sprays. Wes Bennett Park has a similar setup to the one at Northgate. West Salem Park has a small pad with a geyser-like spray. Englewood Park has the most old-fashioned layout – a large fountain set into a circular pool-like structure. Even though it’s funky, it’s very popular with neighborhood kids (and sometimes dogs).

Salem pools and splash pads
The “Wall of Water” Fountain on the Capitol Mall runs daily during the summer months. Photo credit: Mollie Nouwen

Playing in the Capitol Fountain

Wall of Water Fountain
Court St NE, between Summer St NE and Capitol St NE, Salem

One last fun fountain option is the “Wall of Water” Fountain, directly across the street from the Capitol Building. As its name implies, it’s a series of fountains that shoot up, creating a wall of water. Using recycled water, it’s open in the summer from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Since it’s part of the Capitol Mall, it’s relatively close to a busy street, but its central location does make it another excellent choice for some quality splashing around.

Salem pools and splash pads
One of two pools at the Kroc Center, this one is a series of shallow pools to play in for children and families. Photo credit: Mollie Nouwen

Pool Options in the Salem Area

Many families spend time at the pool with kids out of school for the summer. Open swims are a great time for the whole family, but summer is often a time for kids to learn to swim. With the pandemic, lots of kids got behind on swimming, and this feels like the first summer that everything is finally back up and running. All the pools listed below offer swimming lessons for children throughout the summer. The Kroc Center even has camps featuring swimming multiple days a week for elementary and middle school kids. All of the listed pools also have ample open swim times and lap swimming.

Kroc Center
1865 Bill Frey Drive, Salem

Salem does not have a public city pool, but there are options throughout Marion County. Salem’s Kroc Center is a meticulously kept set of pools, one competition-size with a diving board and the other for children and families. The pool for children and families tops out at four feet deep and includes a lazy river loop, tall water slide and toddler water slide, and multiple shallow areas for splashing. There’s also a hot tub attached for parents to hang out and watch their kids in the pool area. Unlike the community pools, however, pricing for the Kroc Center is quite expensive – non-members have to buy a day pass. It can be worth it, though, because public swimming times can run for many hours, and you can stay as long as you want. The day pass also allows you to use the rock wall (which is fun for all ages) and the weight and exercise rooms.

Withnell Family YMCA
685 Court Street NE, Salem

Courthouse Club Fitness
Multiple locations, Salem

A few of the pool options in Salem are excellent but only open to members. The Downtown Salem Withnell Family YMCA includes a pool. Newly reopened in 2023, the facility is extremely popular. A local gym, Courthouse Club Fitness, is popular with many local swimmers. With five locations and a focus on lap swimming, membership for serious swimmers would be a worthwhile investment. Both the YMCA and Courthouse Club Fitness also include other amenities for their members, from classes to extensive gym facilities.

Community Pools Close to Salem

Dallas Aquatic Center
1005 SE Lacreole Drive #1683, Dallas

Silverton YMCA Community Pool
601 Miller Street, Silverton

Dallas and Silverton both feature fun community pools. The Dallas Aquatic Center offers two pools — one for laps with a diving board and the other a shallower pool for families. There’s also a very small pool meant for the tiniest children. In addition to the pools, a lazy river is connected to the shallower pool and a great water slide. The Silverton YMCA Community Pool is open to all, not just members of the YMCA. An outdoor pool (with a cover for the colder months), it’s another great option, especially in the summer.

Whatever your family’s needs for this summer, the Salem area has something for everyone at prices that start at free. These splash pads and pools will be well-used this summer, but they are seldom so crowded they feel overwhelming. Let’s all get out and enjoy cooling off this summer!

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