Summer may almost be over, but it's still hot outside. Wouldn't it be nice to play tourist just for a day right in your own town and rent out a pool, maybe a cabana, grill some hot dogs and have your kids invite all their friends? Well, as Digital Trends recently reported, Swimbly is the "Airbnb" of swimming pools and it might just be every parent's best new hack, allowing you to plan for a day lounging in and by the pool — water wings and all.
To utilize this new service, all you do is search the online marketplace of pools available near you, with all their amenities and per-hour prices listed, and you choose the pool you wish to book for the afternoon (or evening, too). Essentially, it allows those who don't have access to a pool to instantly change their waterless fate with the click of a button.
As noted on Swimbly's website, the company sees its mission as nothing less than creating fun, adventure, and good times for all, without things getting too wildly expensive (rates vary quite a bit by state). "Whether you're stuck at home with the kids, tired from a long day of work (or homework) or just bored, we want you to be able to teleport somewhere awesome with a few clicks of the button," Swimbly's mission statement reads. "We want mini-escapes to be as ordinary as visiting a cafe or a good nap."
OK, so this really does sound fantastic, especially to those of us who, right as we speak, have a backyard only full of very overheated grass, and a black trampoline that currently burns to the touch. As in, no one in my house even wants to go outside right now. So on the face of it, there seems to be no downside to the idea, of finding a local watering hole, right? Well, there are a couple considerations, from a parent's perspective.
Many of the listings I viewed had no bathroom facilities included, and with little kids in tow, that's definitely something parents should be mindful of when booking. There's also pool and swimming safety questions, such as the fact that you might not necessarily know if it's one of those bizarrely-slippery pool deck areas, or one of those older, '70s-type pools that often feature scratchy rock and result in multiple ouchies (for this reason, my youngest, who's very owie-prone, needs to now wear pool shoes every time).
Something else parents should consider is that rates seem to vary quite a bit per listing and per city. For example, in New York or Los Angeles, listings go from $50 to $200 an hour, so it might work best if a bunch of families split the bill. And remember, with a per-hour rate, if you swim for the afternoon and hang around to use the yard and throw some shrimp on the barbie for sunset, it'll add up. It's probably worth it, though, to soak up the sun, relax, and have your kids entertained for the day.
"Heart of La Jardin," for example, a pool listing in Beverly Hills, includes the pool, lounge chairs, pool toys, a BBQ, night lighting, a bonfire pit, a gazebo and restroom and changing area and a "Spanish, Colonial-style garden," all for $50 an hour. That's quite the setup!
Over on the opposite coast, "Brooklyn Paradise" in New York is a nice pool and yard that features two hammocks, a gazebo, pool toys, access to restroom facilities and a diving board, all for $75 an hour, only there's a two-hour minimum, weekend pricing goes up by a bit and there is a no-diaper clause in the pool.
Be sure to read the fine print before booking, as listings do have specific guidelines to follow, especially regarding children (age requirements, supervision, diaper rules, etc.) Also, as these are private pools, there will likely be no lifeguard on duty.
As of right now, Swimply has pools for rent in 10 states across the U.S. as well as Ontario, Canada, according to Digital Trends. While each listing might not be perfect for every family, it could certainly come in handy for many looking for a day full of swimming and fun.