An Outdoor Pool in Boone: an Impossible Dream, or Real Possibility?

I have such fond memories of summers in Cary, NC, where I grew up. There were outdoor pool facilities everywhere. We joined one when we moved there in 1988, and practically lived there every summer through High School. It was a great option for my mom, too. She loved to bring us there and lay in the sun while reading or listening to the radio. We were so well occupied with friends and swimming; we were outside enjoying the great weather, as well as safely guarded by the lifeguards. We made some lifelong friends during those summers.

It’s true, Cary is a lot hotter than Boone. (Which is partly why I don’t live there now!) However, I was really excited when my kids took an interest in swimming, and I’d get to take them to the pool in the summers. To be honest, since I’ve been a mom, I’ve been a little disappointed in what the High Country has to offer as far as public swimming facilities.

  • The Swim Complex and Wellness Center are nice, especially for the winter, but I want to be outside in the summer!
  • We could go to Green Valley, but they are not open that much, and they don’t have a kiddie pool that is safe for my toddler.
  • Blowing Rock is quite a drive from Deep Gap, and again, no working kiddie pool. Also, the Blowing Rock Pool is usually very crowded. Too much so for my young, beginning swimmers.
  • The sad reality is: if I want to go to an outdoor pool with a picnic area, and a little playground, I have to go to a hotel! And boy, am I thankful that a handful of hotels in Boone allow the public to swim.

The fact that Blowing Rock Pool is going to be redesigned… sometime in the near foreseeable future… doesn’t really fix the problem of overcrowding, and driving distance. And hasn’t Boone grown enough over the last several years to warrant our own outdoor pool?

Now, I am never one to complain without having a solution in mind. So here is my best stab at the solution.

The YMCA in Cary had a pool with a retractable roof. It was closed in the winter, and open in the summer. The Best of Both Worlds! Take a look at this example! This one, too! Of course I have no idea of the cost, but that can be overcome several creative ways! We can accomplish a flexible and year-round solution for swimmers, and those that love to be outdoors, in Boone and the surrounding areas.

Before you say “Nae,” remember the Tot Lot reconstruction project! Some people said we didn’t need it, it was too expensive, the town would never agree to it, etc. But a grass roots initiative got it done. We could put a retractable roof on the existing pool, right next to the Tot Lot, or the Town Could Build another facility on some of the other land they own.

Here are my questions to you:

  • Would you support an indoor/outdoor pool in Boone by buying a membership in advance?
  • Would you donate money or in-kind contributions to the construction project, whether through your personal finances or your business?
  • Do you feel that Boone needs a viable outdoor pool facility?

Please leave a comment here answering any of these questions. (Click Here and scroll down) I have some friends who are very interested in pursuing this possibility, and if we get a lot of comments, we’ll know whether to go forward.

Your email address is confidential and you can use a pseudonym if you’d like.


  1. Yes!!!!! We need a outdoor pool.

  2. Kimberly says:

    Absolutely we need a pool. Why are we sending all of our money to Blowing Rock when the pool there is bursting at the seams with kids?!

  3. Yes, we need an outdoor pool in Boone. I love your idea of a retractable covering. I’d consider buying a membership in advance.

  4. Crystal says:

    I’d love an outdoor pool! I grew up in Boone & I always looked forward to going to the beach because we could swim in an outdoor pool. It would be nice for my son to be able to enjoy an outdoor pool right here in Boone! Yes, I would purchase a membership in advance to get the ball rolling.

  5. I am in favor of a pool in Boone. I grew up going to the pool everyday of the summer. We endure the craziness at Blowing Rock so my kids can swim. However, I would much rather have a pool in Boone. A couple summers ago, we enjoyed some pools in Wisconsin. I was amazed at how cool their pools were given that they are so far north. We are going back to Wisconsin again this year and my girls’ only request is that we go back to their pool.

  6. An outdoor pool would be wonderful. It seems like it may not happen. I think it was a struggle to get the Tot Lot redone. It would be so cool if it worked out.

  7. I agree! A pool would be a great addition to Boone. What about a splash park where tots can run around the small fountains of water. Is anyone familiar with this concept? The kids can still enjoy the outdoors and the water.

  8. Meredith says:

    I think an outdoor pool is a great idea. That is how I spent my summers as a kid. I would totally support it!

  9. I am moving to Boone in July, and for some reason I thought there was an outdoor pool at the rec center. This is going to be a blow to my daughter who really does nothing in the summer but swim! We belong to the YMCA, which has several outdoor pools across town. I would support any effort to get an outdoor pool to this community–even as a newcomer!

  10. I would love an outdoor pool in Boone. We make the trek to Blowing Rock but would love to give to Boone instead. We would definitely consider buying a membership ahead of time to support the effort. This is a wonderful idea!

  11. Tiffany says:

    I would definitely support it and buy a membership in advance. I lived in Burlington and they have one with a removable “bubble”- it’s a big deal each year when the bubble comes down in May and a sad reminder that winter is approaching when it goes back up in September. Something like that would definitely work here. It would be nice to have a pool that actually deep enough to do real swimming in, as well. We don’t go to the Park/Rec pool because my oldest can’t practice swimming in the those shallow lap lanes and no one else has an appropriate place for my toddlers. Let’s build a pool ya’ll!

  12. Jennifer Lacy says:

    I’m so glad someone else thinks Boone needs an outdoor pool facility! The Park/Rec pool used to have retractable panels on the roof “back in the day,” and they used to keep the roof and all of the sliding glass doors open during the summer free swim times. I don’t know if they have/use them now. I’d love to see something like the Wilkes Co. YMCA outside splash/play area for kids. They have all kinds of fountains and squirty things that little kids (and big kids!) love. I’d be more than willing to buy memberships for summer fun!

  13. Brian Lowe says:

    Why stop at an outdoor pool? Watauga County needs a YMCA. The Wellness Center is not family friendly. I have already heard great things about the Y in Avery. If there is going to be a concerted effort for anything, it needs to be for a new Y. When we were members of the Y in Rock Hill, there were classes and activities for our children, plenty of childcare available, an indoor and outdoor pool, etc. If we van get the right people
    to buy into this idea, it can happen!

  14. Sarah…. could you possibly list the hotels that provide public swimming? Andrew and I had the major itch to swim the other day and didn’t want to drive to Blowing Rock!

    Sounds like a GREAT idea…. i’m on board for anything that will help!

  15. Sarah, this idea gets talked about at our dinner table all the time. My boys are on the swim team and have a list as long as my arm of all the reasons why the Parks and Rec pool doesn’t cut it. For starters, the Watauga Swim Team can’t dive in its own pool because the pool is too shallow. Many of the swimmers have asthma problems from the heavy chlorine in the water and the stuffy air. Not only would we love to see a new outdoor pool, I have a couple of sons who have a bunch of ideas for how to get involved with fundraising and grant-writing. Keep us posted on how this idea evolves.

  16. Woo Hoo!!! Let’s get this ball rolling!

  17. PLEASE!!!!! SOMEONE save us from this pooless wasteland! Well, it’s not exactly pooless…if you make several million a year and live in a beautiful gated community.

  18. Would love a public pool in boone!!! I drive to Blowing Rock and it is crowded and a little ways to drive.

  19. ABSOLUTELY! great idea! its so pathetic that my family and I drive all the way to Roan Mtn pool just to have a day at the pool! Keep us posted!

  20. kristen says:

    I love to lap swim and is the only form of exercise I’ve been able to stick with but have stopped several times for long periods of time because of worry over chlorine exposure. I, too, would love an outdoor pool experience in the Summer, but more importantly the use of chlorine needs to be changed to an ozonated system, which is cleaner and as healthy as drinking water. Here are some links to health risks, esp, to children and athletic swimmers and women. Also, I emailed someone on town council about this to try and find out who the right person to talk to would be. Haven’t been able to get any answers at the Swim Complex. I also emailed them information on ozonation systems for public pools.

  21. Have you contacted Jim Turner of Turner and Yates? From what I understand, he has been doing all the research for just such an initiative. Perhaps if he saw such a groundswell of opportunity things could progress faster!

  22. Could you please let me know which hotels have out door pools available. I actually drove around last week looking for one in Boone with my toddler and older son and never found one that was outside. I am one for a YMCA!!! With an out door pool!! I agree the Wellness Center is not family friendly.

  23. I live in Ashe County and we have no public swimming pools. The only one we did have was at the Middle School and they closed it this summer. I have two girls who love to swim. The only time they get in a pool is when I can get them in swim lessons at Mtn Hearts, but thats near impossilbe. Limited spaces, small pool. HELP

  24. asterismos says:

    could you tell us (edit, add to your post) which hotel pools let the public swim for free?

  25. Michelle says:

    Hotels with outdoor pools: check High Country Inn, Red Carpet Inn, Highland Hills, Sleep Inn and Holiday Inn Express. The first three are your most likely prospects. The last two hotels are newer and may be more filled to capacity.

  26. ABSOLUTELY! I spent every day in an outdoor door pool when I was a kid and was on a summer swim team for over 10 years! I’ve been missing this in Boone and would support it 100%! I also like the retractable roof idea.

  27. I would definitely be in favor of an outdoor pool in Boone, and would do anything to see it happen. I also grew up in Raleigh, and was on a swim team at the ripe old age of 4… as were most kids in our neighborhood. Our summers were spent at the pool every single day, and I have the best childhood memories. Also, what better way to get kids out and exercising, instead of sitting in front of the television all day. We can get this done, if we try hard enough!

  28. Yes!!! I would definitely support an outdoor pool in Boone!!!

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