Can You Swim in a Pool During Winter? Yes, Here’s How

As it gets colder after Labor Day and the pools shut down, many people close down their pool and hang it up.

If you love the benefits of swimming and want to swim year-round, this is the post for you.

3 popular winter swimming options

If you have a pool or need to find a pool, you do have options depending on your budget and willingness to get creative. Here are three.

1. Find an indoor pool

If you have access to an indoor pool, this is obviously the most ideal option. Wherever you swim, make sure the pool water is clean—winter is one of those times of the year when many hotels are a bit behind in pool maintenance.

Few people like getting wet in the heart of winter, and it’s easy for a pool to get neglected. For this reason, I recommend you find a local aquatics center, recreation center, or YMCA if you want to swim year-round.

It can be a bit difficult to find an indoor pool with a water heating system, but it’s worth calling around to see. Without going into too much detail, some indoor pools have dehumidifiers that can warm the water a bit.

2. Use an outdoor pool with a pool heater

in pool umbrella

Many people use an in-pool heater to keep water warm enough to enjoy in the winter months. If you are planning to install a pool heater, you also need a good pool cover—ideally one that traps heat well.

Here’s the catch: you need a heat pump designed to handle cold temperatures that can work even with temperatures as low as 20° Fahrenheit.

Most normal pool heaters are designed to keep your pool comfortable in the fall…not in brutally cold weather. For this task, you’ll need a gas pool heater.

Gas pool heaters

Since many electric pool pumps with heaters won’t operate in colder temperatures less than 50° Fareneheit Barrintonton Pools recommends hot defrost units’ or ‘ice breakers’; contact your pool installer for more info if you are considering this option.

Gas pool heaters are expensive, require the right type of gas lines, and really aren’t needed unless you live in a climate that consistently drops below 50 degrees.

If you live in New England or northern states, heat pumps can be a way to keep your pool swimmable year-round. Keep in mind, it will cost you a few hundred dollars per month at a minimum.

Find an outdoor pool in a southern locations

tropical pool in March

If you just can’t wait until summer, the most relaxing outdoor pool experience will be found in southern states where the air and water temperatures are bearable.

Are outdoor pools in Florida or California open year-round?

You can enjoy outdoor pools in states like Florida or southern California, especially if the pool has a heater. Some pools get a bit too chilly to swim in the heart of winter (even in Florida), but if properly maintained are completely fine for swimming.

Areas of Florida like Miami or Key West are likely to have the warmest unheated pool water you can find in the United States during winter months like December, January, and February.

3. Use a swim spa

If you don’t really want to heat an entire pool up—since it gets very expensive, consider purchasing what’s called a swim spa as you can see in the video above. A swim spa is like a long hot tub, but more affordable than a pool to heat up to a swimming temperature of around 80° Fahrenheit.

A swim spa generally holds around 1,500 to over 2,000 gallons of water and can be used for both exercise and relaxation.

You can also use a swim spa for relaxation and recovery purposes if you set it to a typical hot tub temperature setting of 100° Fareneheit; for swimming, water temperatures should stay in the 80° Fareneheit range for safety reasons.

If you want to save money on a gas pool heater but still want the exercise benefits, a swim spa can be a great investment if you have the space.


No matter where you decide to go swimming this winter, make sure pool safety is your utmost priority. Well-maintained pools are a must to avoid harmful bacteria. Many indoor pools at recreation centers are checked pretty regularly, so there’s not much to worry about on that front.

If you are considering a hot tub or swim spa this winter, check out these 11 Tips for Using a Hot Tub in the Winter and 7 of my favorite hot tub accessories.

Good luck!

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