As a teenager, every summer my cousins and I would spend two weeks in Miami Beach at a local hotel resort with our families. Each morning we would rush downstairs and meet at the pool to start our day at the beach and hotel hopping. For me, it was always hotels with the giant pools I loved most. There were so many people lounging in cabanas, diving off the platforms, splashing around with friends, or just working on their tans. We had a blast. I have great memories of those summers. It got me thinking about what some of the bigger pools in South Florida are today.

So what are the biggest pools & water parks in South Florida? Venetian Pool is Miami's biggest public pool at 820,000 gallons. The Biltmore Hotel pool is the biggest hotel pool in Miami at 600,000 gallons of water. Rapids Water Park is South Florida's largest water park with 42 water attractions. 

If you are looking for water fun but don't want to head out to the beaches, there are certainly no shortage of water attractions in South Florida. If you have been to the Universal or Disney Water Parks in Orlando, you will find that South Florida's water parks are not on a similar scale. Local water parks are far smaller attractions than the theme park versions. There have been plans for years of coming water attractions on a much larger scale but they are not yet a reality.

The parks and pools listed here can make for perfect memories nonetheless and there are some pretty diverse settings tailored to all kinds of tastes. Whether you are looking for a natural seashore setting for families & small children, a historic grand hotel with a luxurious pool, a water park with over 40 slides & attractions, or a Mediterranean themed lagoon, you can find what you are looking for here.

Below you will learn more about the Biltmore pool, Venetian pool, and some of South Florida's largest pools and water attractions for those looking for options beyond the beaches.

What is Miami's Biggest Hotel Pool?

©Picture Works Inc / Roldan Torres-Moure - Miami
©Picture Works Inc / Roldan Torres-Moure - Miami

The Biltmore Hotel pool is Miami's biggest hotel pool. Containing 600,000 gallons and 23,000 square feet. It is about 10,000 square feet larger than an Olympic pool. The dimensions are 150 feet by 225 feet: slightly larger than a half acre. Located in Coral Gables, it is one of the largest hotel pools in the entire country. 

Built in the 1920's, the pool has seen many decades of swimmers & sunbathers, all with the amazing Biltmore Hotel as a backdrop. Babe Ruth, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Judy Garland, Al Capone, Esther Williams, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, Ginger Rogers, and Bing Crosby have all been guests at the Biltmore. Johnny Weissmuller, MGM's Tarzan, was a lifeguard in the 1920's.

A number of motion pictures have used the hotel and pool as a location. There are private cabanas, a waterfall, plenty of relaxing chaises, lounge chairs, umbrellas, and all the palms & lush landscaping any tropical paradise could ever desire. Your Instagram feed will thank you.

If you get hungry, there is the beautiful open-air Cascade Restaurant offering poolside lunch & tapas located under a long loggia at the pools edge. Just down the street is an even larger pool than the Biltmore's and not limited to hotel guests. 

 

What is Miami's Biggest Public Pool?

Courtesy of the Greater Miami Conventions & Visitors Bureau
Courtesy of the Greater Miami Conventions & Visitors Bureau

Venetian Pool is one of the most beautiful hidden gems in South Florida. Not as well know to tourist as South Beach, it comes in at 4 acres with 820,000 gallons of water, and resembles a tropical lagoon. It claims to be the largest fresh water pool in the US since it is refilled daily from the local aquifer. 

The surrounding Venetian themed buildings and loggias are in a Mediterranean Revival style and a lush tropical landscape. It is the only pool on the National Register of Historic Places. Not too shabby for a public pool. There is so much to see here. There are grottos, Venetian mooring posts, a waterfall feature, a sandy area used by sunbathers, and a café for quick bites. There is a bridge to a small "island" which divides the two foot wadding area for little ones from the main pool.

Since the pool's fresh water is replenished every night from the local aquifer, the water temperature remains at around 75 degrees year round. That makes it just perfect for those summer days hitting the mid 90's. 

Venetian Pool opened in 1924. The pool grew out of a need to do something about the abandoned coral rock quarry that was in the middle of Coral Gables. It is also found in Coral Gables, like the Biltmore Hotel, providing a beautiful setting when you don't want to head all the way to the coast for the beaches.

Many of us locals have visited the pool on school field trips when we were little but have never returned as adults. If you haven't been back in a while, you should revisit this spectacular pool. You especially need to visit if you have children that haven't seen it. However, you may have to go in and pry your little ones out of the grottos when it's time to go!

What is Miami's Biggest Seawater Pool?

Matheson Hammock Atoll Pool - Coral Gables
©Picture Works Inc / Roldan Torres-Moure - Miami

Miami locals have another hidden treasure in Matheson Hammock Park. The park contains a man-made atoll pool that juts out into Biscayne Bay and is about 350 feet across. The pool is flushed with saltwater from the bay as the tides rise and fall.

The waters are much calmer in the lagoon than the surrounding bay, making it a favorite of families who don't want to worry about their little ones and the crashing waves. It is great for just relaxing in the sand or swimming in calmer waters.

Stroll the paved border path under the swaying coconut palms that line the way. Watch the boats coming and going on the bay as they head slowly towards a marina around the bend or sit on one of the benches that look out over the bay.

Unlike some more developed beaches in South Florida, Matheson is a more natural setting without a row of hotels looming over you. You'll find a quieter family friendly atmosphere here.

What is South Florida's Biggest Water Park?

Rapids Water Park
Courtesy of Rapids Water Park

Rapids Water Park is South Florida's largest water park. The park sits on 25 acres and has 42 water attractions to increase your opportunity for maximum wetness and thrills. Rides are divided in three categories: Thrill Rides, Family Rides, and Kid Rides, so everybody in the family is covered.

Rapids has a large 25,000 gallon wave pool with waves up to six feet. There is a quarter mile long lazy river to help relax you and help your stress float away. There are 70 foot twin flume vertical plunges, a surf simulator, and multiple tube & raft rides. This is definitely the place for an adrenaline-filled day of endless plunging down water slides for big kids and as well as plenty of family oriented attractions for the littles ones. A few things to keep in mind are: the refund policy due to rain or lightning, the prices for a family can add up since admission is around $50.00/per person, and you can't bring in your own food. The park is located in West Palm Beach, near I-95, which is on average a little over an hour North of downtown Miami. 

What is Broward County's Biggest Water Park?

Photo courtesy of Broward County Parks and Recreation
Photo courtesy of Broward County Parks and Recreation

Paradise Cove is the largest water park in the Broward County. Located at C.B. Smith Park, it features four 50-foot tall water slides, a water playground for all ages with three waterslides that vary from 83 feet to 125 feet, a splash playground for smaller children (12 inches deep), and a 410-foot long lazy river. 

It is a smaller, relatively inexpensive water park and the price gets discounted after 3pm. It can get crowded depending on when you go. Do try to find out when the summer camps will be attending unless you don't mind the lines. This is a great water park for families with small kids and teenagers located in the Pembroke Pines / Fort Lauderdale area. 

 

Overview

 

TypeNameAddressPhone #DistancesDescriptionPrice of AdmissionTimes
What is Miami's Biggest Hotel Pool?The Biltmore Hotel

1200 Anastasia Ave, Coral Gables

(855) 311-6903About 5 miles from MIA
About 7 miles from downtown Miami
23,000 square foot outdoor pool with cabanas, 18-hole - 71-par golf course designed by Donald Ross, 10 lighted tennis courts, fitness center, gourmet dining, and over 75,000 sq. ft. of event spaceCall for Room Rates 
What is Miami's Biggest Public Pool?Venetian Pool 2701 De Soto Blvd, Coral Gables(305) 446-6800About 5 miles from MIA
About 7 miles from downtown Miami
Waterfall, grotto, sandy area for sunbathing, & a tropical backdropNon-resident daily admission rates are $15 per adult and $10 for children ages three to 12 - Coral Gables residents score entry for just $6.25 per adult and $5.25 per child

Open Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Closes during winter months usually Nov to Jan & some holidays

What is Miami's Biggest Seawater Pool?Matheson Hammock 9610 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables(305) 665-5475About 11 miles from MIA
About 11 miles from downtown Miami
Natural seawater atoll pool at edge of Biscayne Bay, a sandy beach, sailing with Castle Harbor Sailing School, marina, and a first-class restaurantCars: $5 (weekdays) or $7 (weekends and holidays)
Boat ramp launch trailers: $13 (weekdays) and $17 (weekends)

Opens Sunrise - Sunset 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

What is South Florida's Biggest Water Park?Rapids Water Park6566 N Military Trail, West Palm Beach(561) 848-6272About 9 miles from PB Intl Airport
About 7 miles from downtown West Palm Beach
About 75 miles from downtown Miami (1hr15mins) 
Over 40 attractions including, lazy river, splash zones, dining - snacks and mealsMon–Fri (No Holidays) — $44.99 plus tax
Sat–Sun (And Holidays) — $49.99 plus tax
Mar 13th 2021 through Aug 29, 2021 with certain days excluded - call for info
Times vary throughout the season
What is Broward County's Biggest Water Park?

Paradise Cove -

CB Smith Park

900 N. Flamingo Rd., Pembroke Pines(954) 357-5170About 25 miles from MIA
About 21 miles from downtown Ft Lauderdale
About 31 miles from downtown Miami
Four five-story-tall waterslides, 410-foot-long tube ride, 18 inch deep - 4 slide splash zone, water playground for ages 5 and under - with a 12-inch-deep pool & two small waterslides $12.30/person for all-day admission and $8/person after 3 p.m. Children under 1 year of age are admitted freeOpen 10 a.m. to 5:20 p.m.

 

Note: Price and details may change. Verify times, prices, etc. directly before heading out.

Getting wet and having fun in the sun in South Florida is never hard to do. Your options are certainly not limited to the beaches. If you are staying out west and don't want to make the trek to the beaches, these are some great options, especially if you like the BIG pools or water parks. These are some options for a day with family and friends, lounging in a cabana, floating on a tube on a lazy river, or shooting down a multi-story water slide. 

These are the biggest pools but there are other amazing pools that will be covered in other posts. The Fontainebleau Hotel, for example, has 11 pools of all sizes. JW Marriot Turnberry in Aventura is a modern, elegant hotel with its own water park on-site. There are many roof-top hotel pools that are spectacular. Many smaller pools serve up very unique settings that make them great pools when big isn't what you are looking for. Check out our other posts for more.

For BIG pools these are some great options. Matheson Hammock's palm-lined atoll pool is perfect for your little ones without having to worry about the crashing waves. If your are looking for a classic hotel resort with an elegant pool setting then look no further than the Biltmore in Coral Gables. Paradise Cove has Broward County water park lovers covered. New places are opening up all over town all the time. If you can think of any places in South Florida with BIG pools and lots of options for getting wet, mention them below in the comments. We will attempt to explore each of these locations individually and in depth and bring you all the insider tips in coming blog posts. 

 

Remember: As always, we advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check for the most current updates on possible water quality, environmental issues, rip tides, weather alerts, weather policies, block out days & closures, scheduled maintenance, restrictions, parking, height & minimum age requirements, and other considerations. Visit a location's website or call directly for current information. Stay safe and informed!

 

 

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