Flappers. Movie stars. The glamour of the Roaring Twenties. Do any of these words make you yearn to go back in time? If bygone eras appeal to your sense of romance, visit the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, a mere half-hour drive from the Desoto and Hollywood Beach.
Located on the aptly named De Soto Boulevard, this freshwater and historic Venetian-style pool evokes the grandeur of the Roaring Twenties. It is the largest freshwater swimming pool in America and the natural setting makes this a perfect outing for singles or couples looking for a relaxing and unique place to swim. The beauty of this water attraction is found not only in its timeless elegance but in its attention to the natural world – limestone cliffs and green vegetation surround the pool, which ranges from two to eight feet deep. However, if you’re looking for a place to play with toddlers, skip this attraction as kids under three are not allowed.
The Venetian Pool – the creation of Coral Gables developer George Merrick and his uncle, artist Denman Fink – was originally called the Venetian Casino when it first opened in 1924. Film stars Esther Williams and Johnny Weismuller (of the iconic Tarzan films) held appearances there, and the Venetian Casino was once a gathering place for millionaires and other members of high society. To date, the Venetian Pool is the only pool to be found on the National Register of Historic Places. Thanks to its renovation in 2009, pool goers can enjoy historical photographs of the pool during its early days.
Swimmers who work up an appetite can enjoy a poolside lunch at the Venetian Pool café. Typical summer food such as burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches are available. (However, there’s not much available for vegans or vegetarians.) The café also offers pies and cakes for dessert.
If You Go
The Coral Gables Venetian Pool is located at 2701 De Soto Boulevard in Coral Gables. Weekdays, 10 am to 6 pm; weekends, 10 am to 4:30 pm. Adult residents of Coral Gables, $5; adult non-residents, $11. Child residents (12 and under) of Coral Gables, $3.95; child non-residents, $6.30. Kids under 3 are not admitted. Coolers or glass containers are prohibited. For more information call 305-460-5306 or visit their website.