Whether you’re a fan of swimming indoors or outdoors, there are plenty of options for you to choose from in Prince George. Here are a few to get you started.
The Aquatic Centre
I went swimming recently. SWIMMING! My favourite sport! I hadn’t been in a pool since the Four Seasons was offering free tickets to everyone – but the pool closed soon after that as a new one is being built downtown to take its place. I really enjoyed my time there, especially the hot tub.
The Aquatic Centre is a beautiful building and easily accessible from most parts of the city, located at 1770 George Paul ln (18th and Ospika). They offer a large number of classes and swimming sessions and drop-in swimming is once again available following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, along with the option to pre-register.
My friend Janet had made reservations for us, and our session was only $5.00 – (seniors rate). This was for a three-hour session, which was a good length of time to try everything and change our clothes.
The changing room was spotless, and the shower had lots of pressure- soap provided. The floors were damp, so it might be a good idea to bring shower shoes. We went out to the swimming area- and surprise! We were the only swimmers there in the wading pool and the bigger lengths pool.
We played around a bit in the wading pool then decided to visit the children’s pool, where Janet takes her little grand-daughter. There was a party going on! All that was missing was hot dogs and drinks. It was like being in a forest with a forest motif mural on the walls. Very scenic.
One adorable blue-eyed almost-one year- old waved at me with his little closed-open fist like babies do, and made my day!
We tried the river, and fast-flowing stream that carries people along almost like a horizontal water slide. Only one group at a time, but lots of fun!
New Downtown Pool
You can’t swim here yet as the new downtown pool is currently under construction along 7th Avenue downtown between Quebec and Dominion Streets. But once the pool opens in the summer of 2022, you’ll have two pools to choose from when deciding where to swim.
The new pool has been designed for safety and accessibility. Each of the pools in the building will have shallow entries and “pool pods” to help people with mobility devides entre and the main leisure pool will have a gradual entre from zero depth.
The downtown pool will offer a six lane, 25-metre lap pool, a four lane, 25-metre teaching pool with warmer water, a leisure pool with a lazy river, beach entry, and play features, a large waterslide, large change rooms, three barrier-free shower rooms, a sauna and steam room, two classrooms, and a viewing area.
If you prefer to swim outdoors, you’re in luck as there are 1,600 lakes and rivers within an hour’s drive of Prince George. While there are a lot of bodies of water around the city, some are better for swimming than others. I haven’t yet swam at any of these lakes but encourage you to visit them if you can.
North of the city
Bear Lake: This lake is located in Crooked River Provincial Park and is about an hour’s drive north of Prince George and is surrounded by fine, sandy beaches that are considered some of the best in the region. It’s a favourite for swimmers and sunbathers. Stop by Kathy’s Burger Barn on the way back to town for a late lunch or early dinner or book a campsite to enjoy a couple of days of swimming.
Ness Lake: This gem of a lake is about 30 minutes northwest of the city and surrounded by homes and cabins, but there’s also a great tiered beach you can access for swimming and sunbathing. There’s a bit of a trail to get to the beach, so keep that in mind when packing for your beach day. Have a bite at the Hart Wheel Restaurant or Nelly’s Pub on your way back.
West of the city
Berman Lake: This lake is about 40 minutes west of Prince George and can be accessed off Highway 16 via Norman Lake Road. There are two separate beaches on this lake. One offers picnic benches and a dock and the other is larger with a lawn and a bit of sandy beach. If you’re hungry on the way back to Prince George, there are plenty of restaurants in the College Heights area to check out, including Mucho Burrito and Original Joe’s.
West Lake: This lake is only a 20 minute drive from Prince George so it’s usually packed with beach-goers during the summer. It offers a long sandy beach and a couple of shelters if the sun gets too hot. There are picnic tables if you want to bring a lunch and lots of shade thanks to trees that line the beach. Grab an ice cream from Frozen Paddle to cool off after your beach day.
East of the city
Purden Lake: You can head to this provincial park for a day of swimming but you might want to book a campsite and get in several days of beach time as this lake is about a 45 minute drive from Prince George. The drive in is densely forested but the beach is open, offering both lawn and sandy beaches. Bring a lunch and your volleyball or frisbee to have some fun. On your way back, stop at any of the local restaurants or cafes in the downtown for a cool drink or bite to eat.