15 Swimming Pool Alternatives to Beat the Heat

Last updated on November 14, 2023

Discover cost-effective and creative alternatives to traditional swimming pools and their pros and cons, as a seasoned male home decorator shares his expertise in this informative blog post!

portable backyard water slide

As the summer heat sets in, many of us dream of lounging by the pool with a cold drink in hand. But what if you don’t have a pool? Or maybe you do, but it’s outdated and needs a costly renovation.

Fear not! There are plenty of alternatives to traditional swimming pools that can provide just as much relaxation and fun. In this article, we’ll explore 15 unique ideas for creating your own backyard oasis on a budget.

From natural swimming ponds to DIY stock tank pools, we’ve got you covered with advantages and disadvantages for each option. So grab your sunscreen and let’s dive in!

Natural Ponds

Natural Pond at home

Natural ponds are a beautiful and eco-friendly alternative to traditional swimming pools. These ponds can be created by excavating a hole in the ground, lining it with natural materials such as clay or bentonite, and filling it with water.

The advantage of natural ponds is that they blend seamlessly into their surroundings, creating an oasis-like atmosphere in your backyard. They also provide habitat for wildlife such as frogs and dragonflies.

However, there are some disadvantages to consider before opting for a natural pond. One major concern is maintenance – without proper care, these ponds can become stagnant and attract mosquitoes or other pests.

The lack of chemicals used in traditional pools means that algae growth may be more difficult to control.

Overall though if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly option that adds beauty to your outdoor space then a natural pond could be just what you need!

Plunge Pools

Pool

Plunge pools are a great alternative to traditional swimming pools, especially for those who have limited space or budget. These small and shallow pools are typically around 5-7 feet deep and can be installed both indoors and outdoors.

One of the main advantages of plunge pools is their size – they require less water, chemicals, maintenance, and energy than larger swimming pools. They also provide a refreshing way to cool off during hot summer days without taking up too much space in your backyard.

However, one disadvantage of plunge pools is that they may not be suitable for those who want to swim laps or entertain large groups of people. Since these types of pool are smaller in size compared with regular ones; it might not add as much value when reselling the property.

Overall though if you’re looking for an affordable yet stylish option that doesn’t take up too much room but still provides all the benefits associated with having access to water at home then a Plunge Pool could be just what you need!

Swim Spas

Swim Spas

Swim spas are a great alternative for those who want the benefits of a swimming pool but have limited space or budget. These compact pools combine the features of a hot tub and swimming pool, allowing you to swim against an adjustable current while also providing hydrotherapy massage jets.

One advantage of swim spas is their size. They take up less space than traditional pools, making them ideal for small backyards or indoor installations.

They require less maintenance and chemicals compared to larger pools.

However, one disadvantage is that they may not provide enough room for multiple people to use at once. Also, some models can be expensive due to their advanced technology and features.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that combines relaxation with exercise in a smaller package than traditional swimming pools – then swim spas might just be what you need!

Endless Pools

endless pool at home

Endless pools are a great alternative for those who want to enjoy swimming without the hassle of maintaining a large pool. These pools use an adjustable current that allows swimmers to swim in place, providing an excellent workout while taking up less space than traditional pools.

One advantage of endless pools is their size. They can be installed indoors or outdoors and take up much less space than traditional swimming pools, making them ideal for smaller yards or homes with limited outdoor areas.

Another advantage is their low maintenance requirements. Endless pool systems come equipped with filtration systems that keep the water clean and clear, reducing the need for frequent cleaning and chemical treatments.

However, one disadvantage of endless pools is their cost. They tend to be more expensive than traditional above-ground or in-ground swimming pool options due to their specialized design and technology.

If you’re looking for a compact yet effective way to enjoy swimming at home without breaking the bank on maintenance costs over time – then an endless pool may just be what you need!

Inflatable Pools

Inflatable Pools

Inflatable pools are a popular option for those who want to enjoy the benefits of having a pool without breaking the bank. These pools come in various sizes and shapes, making them suitable for both kids and adults.

One of the biggest advantages of inflatable pools is their affordability; they cost significantly less than traditional swimming pools.

Another advantage is that they are easy to set up and take down, which makes them ideal for renters or those with limited space. However, one major disadvantage is that they may not be as durable as permanent swimming pools since they can easily puncture or tear if not handled properly.

Inflatable pools require regular maintenance just like any other pool. You will need to clean it regularly and add chemicals such as chlorine to keep it safe from bacteria growth.

An inflatable pool can be an excellent alternative if you’re looking for something affordable and easy-to-use during hot summer months but keep in mind its limitations before investing your money into one.

Stock Tank Pools

Stock tank pools are a trendy and affordable alternative to traditional swimming pools. These large metal tanks, originally designed for livestock watering, have become popular among homeowners looking for a unique backyard feature.

One of the advantages of stock tank pools is their cost-effectiveness; they can be purchased for as little as $200 and require minimal installation costs compared to traditional in-ground or above-ground swimming pools.

Another advantage is their versatility; stock tanks come in various sizes and shapes, allowing homeowners to customize the pool according to their space limitations and preferences. However, one disadvantage of these types of pools is that they may not be suitable for larger families or those who enjoy hosting pool parties due to limited space.

Maintaining proper water chemistry can be challenging since most stock tanks do not come with built-in filtration systems. Homeowners must regularly clean the pool manually or invest in additional equipment such as pumps and filters.

If you’re looking for an affordable yet stylish way to cool off during hot summer days without breaking the bank on expensive installations or maintenance costs associated with traditional swimming pools – then a stock tank pool might just be what you need!

Ocean/Lake Swimming

lake swimming near home

If you’re lucky enough to live near an ocean or a lake, swimming in natural bodies of water can be a great alternative to having your own pool. The advantages are obvious: it’s free, and there’s no need for maintenance or cleaning.

Plus, the scenery is often breathtaking.

However, there are some disadvantages as well. Natural bodies of water can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous if proper precautions aren’t taken.

There may also be restrictions on swimming due to weather conditions or pollution levels.

While the lack of cost is certainly appealing, it’s important to consider other factors such as transportation costs (if you don’t live within walking distance) and potential fees for parking or access.

Overall though, if safety concerns are addressed and logistics worked out properly – taking advantage of nearby oceans/lakes could provide an enjoyable summer experience without breaking the bank!

Splash Pads

Splash Pads

Splash pads are a great alternative to swimming pools, especially for families with young children. These water play areas typically feature fountains, sprays and other interactive elements that provide hours of fun without the need for deep water or constant supervision.

One advantage of splash pads is that they are generally safer than traditional pools since there is no risk of drowning. They also require less maintenance and upkeep compared to swimming pools, making them more cost-effective in the long run.

However, one disadvantage of splash pads is that they may not be suitable for older children or adults who want to swim laps or engage in more strenuous aquatic activities. Some people may find them less appealing aesthetically compared to a well-designed pool area with landscaping and other features.

Despite these drawbacks though, splash pads remain an excellent option for those looking for an affordable yet enjoyable way to beat the heat during summer months while keeping safety as their top priority.

Hot Tubs

barrel tub

If you’re looking for a smaller, more affordable alternative to a swimming pool, hot tubs are an excellent option. They offer many of the same benefits as pools – relaxation, stress relief, and improved circulation – but in a much smaller space.

One of the biggest advantages of hot tubs is their affordability. While swimming pools can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to install and maintain over time, hot tubs typically cost only a few thousand dollars upfront with lower maintenance costs.

Another advantage is that they can be used year-round in most climates. Even during colder months when outdoor swimming may not be possible or enjoyable, you can still enjoy soaking in your hot tub while surrounded by snowfall.

However, there are also some disadvantages to consider before investing in one. Hot tubs require regular maintenance such as cleaning filters and changing water regularly which could add up on expenses over time if not done properly.

Additionally they have limited space compared to larger pools so it might not accommodate large groups at once.

Overall though if you’re looking for an affordable way to relax at home without breaking the bank then investing into purchasing your own personal spa could definitely be worth considering!

Swim Clubs and Community Pool Membership

Swim Clubs

Swim clubs and community pool memberships are a great alternative to having your own swimming pool. These facilities offer access to a shared pool, often with additional amenities such as changing rooms, showers, and lifeguards on duty.

One advantage of joining a swim club or community pool is the cost savings compared to building and maintaining your own private swimming pool. You can enjoy all the benefits of having access to a refreshing dip without breaking the bank.

Another advantage is that you get an opportunity for social interaction with other members who share similar interests in swimming or water activities. This can be especially beneficial for families looking for fun summer activities together.

However, one disadvantage could be overcrowding during peak times when everyone wants to use the facility at once. Some swim clubs may have limited hours of operation which may not fit into everyone’s schedule.

Overall though if you’re looking for an affordable way to cool off during hot summer months while also meeting new people then joining a local swim club or community pool might just be perfect!

Water Parks

Water Parks

Water parks are a fun and exciting alternative to traditional swimming pools. They offer a variety of water activities, such as slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and splash pads.

Water parks can be great for families with children or groups of friends looking for an adventurous day out.

Advantages of water parks include the wide range of activities available that cater to different age groups and interests. Many water parks have amenities such as food stands and changing rooms on site.

However, there are also some disadvantages to consider when choosing a water park over a traditional pool. Firstly, admission fees can be quite expensive compared to other options on this list.

Secondly, depending on the location and time you visit the park it may become overcrowded which could lead to long wait times for rides or attractions.

Overall though if you’re looking for an exciting day out with family or friends then visiting your local water park is definitely worth considering!

River/Creek Swimming

river swimming near house

If you’re lucky enough to live near a river or creek, why not take advantage of it and turn it into your own personal swimming hole? River/creek swimming is a great alternative to traditional pools as it allows you to enjoy nature while cooling off on hot summer days.

Advantages:

  • It’s free! No need for expensive pool installations or maintenance costs.
  • You get the added benefit of being surrounded by natural beauty and wildlife.
  • The water is constantly flowing, which means less exposure to harmful chemicals found in traditional pools.

Disadvantages:

  • Safety can be an issue if the current is too strong or there are hidden rocks/obstacles in the water.
  • Water quality may not always be reliable due to pollution from nearby sources such as farms or factories.
  • Depending on where you live, access may be limited due to private property laws.

River/creek swimming can provide a unique and refreshing experience for those looking for an alternative way to cool off during hot summer months. Just make sure that safety precautions are taken before jumping in!

Beach-entry Backyard Pool

Beach-entry Backyard Pool

One of the most popular swimming pool alternatives is the beach-entry backyard pool. This type of pool mimics a natural beach by gradually sloping from the deck into deeper water, creating a shallow area for lounging and playing.

The advantage of this design is that it provides easy access to all ages and abilities, making it an excellent choice for families with young children or elderly members.

However, one disadvantage to consider is that this type of entry may require more maintenance than traditional pools due to sand buildup in the shallow end. If you live in an area with colder temperatures or harsh winters, you may need to invest in heating systems as well as winterizing equipment since draining your entire pool can be difficult and expensive.

Overall though, if you’re looking for a unique alternative option that offers both functionality and aesthetic appeal while still being budget-friendly compared to other types of pools on offer today – then look no further than investing in a beautiful beach-entry backyard swimming experience!

Container Water Gardens

DIY Wood Fired Cedar Hot Tub

Container water gardens are a great alternative to traditional swimming pools, especially for those who have limited space or budget. These small-scale water features can be created using any type of container, such as a large pot or even an old bathtub.

The advantages of container water gardens include their low cost and easy maintenance compared to traditional swimming pools. They also add visual interest and tranquility to outdoor spaces.

However, there are some disadvantages that should be considered before creating a container water garden. First, they may not provide enough space for actual swimming or exercise activities like traditional pools do.

Second, depending on the size of the container used and its location in relation to sunlight exposure and wind patterns; algae growth could become an issue if proper care is not taken.

Despite these drawbacks though; with careful planning and attention paid towards maintaining them properly – Container Water Gardens can make beautiful additions that bring life into your backyard without breaking the bank!

Portable Lap Pool

If you’re looking for a swimming pool alternative that is easy to install and doesn’t require a lot of space, then a portable lap pool might be the perfect solution. These pools are typically made from durable materials like PVC or vinyl and can be set up in just minutes.

One advantage of portable lap pools is their affordability. They are much cheaper than traditional in-ground or above-ground swimming pools, making them an excellent option for those on a budget.

They don’t require any special permits or construction work since they can simply be placed on top of your existing patio or deck.

However, one disadvantage of these types of pools is their size limitations. Since they are designed primarily for exercise purposes rather than leisurely lounging around the water with friends and family members, they tend to be smaller in size compared to other types of swimming pools.

Overall though if you’re looking for an affordable way to get some exercise at home without having to invest too much time into installation then consider getting yourself one!

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