A common question every summer: “where to go swimming in Knoxville?” This post answers that question whether you’re looking for a natural location or an indoor/outdoor pool!
Mead’s Quarry at Ijams Nature Center
In the heart of Knoxville's Urban Wilderness lies Ijams Nature Center, where you'll find Mead's Quarry on their 318 acres. Mead’s 80-foot-deep quarry offers fishing, paddling, and swimming, and it has its own parking lot just a quarter mile down the road from the Nature Center. You can also find 10 miles of natural trails that wander through the past unique rock formations at Ross Marble and Mead’s Quarries. Seasonal bikes, SUP, canoe, and kayak rentals are available at the quarry from River Sports Outfitters. It is free to swim but please note there is no lifeguard on duty. Come on out and dip your toes in this natural beauty!
Augusta Quarry at Fort Dickerson Park
Looking for a quick afternoon vacation-like escape? Dip right into the Augusta Quarry at Fort Dickerson Park! Emerge yourself in the warmer water temperatures, which are surrounded by layers of red-orange rock, giving Knoxville the name ‘The Marble City’. Just across the river from downtown, it’s a convenient place to enjoy a hike or paddle. Like Mead’s Quarry, kayaks, paddleboards, and tubes can be rented seasonally through River Sports Outfitters. It is also free to swim with no lifeguard on duty, and cliff jumping is not permitted. For those who want to work up a sweat prior to their swim, there are 4 miles of natural surface trails at Fort Dickerson.
Melton Hill Park
Located just outside of Oak Ridge and bordered by the Clinch River, Melton Hill Park offers accessible water access with 2 boat ramps, a fishing pier, a swim area, and a sandy beach. This is a great start location for cyclists to ride the scenic backroads, as there’s plenty of open spaces and miles of trails that weave through the park. There are a lot of scenic river view spots for enjoying a picnic or catching the sunset. This park also offers several windflower hikes and cycling and paddling events throughout the year are also offered through Melton Hill. Good location for birdwatching too!
Cove at Concord Park
Located in far west Knoxville near Farragut, the Cove at Concord Park can be found to have a lot of activity going on. Access to Fort Loudon Lake offers the opportunities for paddling, fishing, a swimming beach, a playground, a volleyball court, and a 0.9-mile paved greenway that leads to 1.8 miles of shoreline trail. With nearly 500 acres in this park, its’s hard to not find something to do. Seasonal bikes, SUP, canoe, and kayak rentals are available at the Cove from River Sports Outfitters. Come on out and play!
Inskip Pool and Park
Inskip Swimming Pool has offered a safe, clean, family-friendly environment since 1959. Here, you can find a variety of aquatic programs, special events, and Private Rentals. The Lifeguards found here at this pool are American Red Cross Lifeguard Trained certified. What makes this pool unique from others is that it includes a high diving board, wading pool, snack bar, a playground, disc golf, picnic area, tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, 3 covered pavilions, and a larger wooden deck completed with picnic tables and benches. The cost is $4 per person to come and visit, however Splash passes are available for purchase. 10 admission passes cost $33 and 20 admission for $60. Group rates available. Come and make a splash!
Karns Community Park
Located in Northwest Knoxville, Karns Community Park features an outdoor pool with a small water slide and splash pad in the kids’ section. As well as, an adjacent playground, 4 baseball fields, a community building, concessions, a picnic table, and a walking loop. Lots of opportunities for physical activity, even if you’re not looking to go swimming. Cost is $5 for anyone 12 years of age and older, $2.50 for anyone under 11. Seasonal passes also available for purchase.
Ed Cothern Pool
First Lieutenant Edward Cothern, Jr. served with the Buffalo Soldiers unit on the front lines in Italy during WWII and was the first African American soldier from Knoxville to die in the war. This park and pool were renamed in his honor in 1946. This fun outdoor pool offers diving boards, a water slide, and nearby greenway trail, located at Malcolm-Martin Park. Take Western Avenue exit off I-640; go east about one mile Reynolds Street and the park is on the right behind the school. In addition to the pool, this park offers a playground, restrooms, concession stand, picnic area, and a variety of ball fields. Admission is $3 and annual passes are available.
Adaptive Center Pool
This indoor pool is located the Knoxville Adaptive Recreation Center in East Knoxville. This facility is ADA Compliant, contains a gymnasium, indoor basketball, 2 indoor pickleball courts, and indoor swimming pool with ramp and lift entry. Just located off the James White Pkwy on Dandridge Ave., adjacent to the Williams Creek Golf Course. Cost is $3 per visit, with Splash passes available for purchase.
Elmer Brine Pool
The Elmer Brine Pool located inside the South Knoxville Community Center. This indoor pool offers a hydraulic lift, restrooms, and lap lanes. The location of the facility is in South Knoxville off the Henley Street bridge, adjacent to Mary Vestal Park and Mary Vestal Greenway. Admission is $3 per visit for both kid and adult. Splash passes are available for frequent visitors. Elmer Brine Pool offers everything from Open Swim to Aqua Sprints, to an Arthritis Class, and even a Core Water Workout. A lot of opportunities to dive into!
Hope this helps you in your search to beat the heat! For those with littles looking for splash pads, go here. For those looking to get on the water (instead of in) by paddling, go here.