Best Public Pool

The Lodge

St. Louis may be hundreds and hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean, but all it takes is a short trip to west county to ride the break. It's ski chateau meets Cancún at the Lodge in Des Peres, where exposed wood rafters and huge picture windows rise above the indoor wave pool that sloshes about at a balmy 84 degrees year-round. Kids or kids at heart, West Coast transplants or strangers to the oceans, can bob, bounce and ride the surf to their hearts' content. And if the wave pool doesn't float your inner-tube, try the Lodge's indoor, kid-free jacuzzi perched high above the pool. Stop by the Lodge midweek when it's less busy, and the bored staff is more willing to crank the wave pool up a notch — all the way to No. 2. "That's when you get some really huge, crazy waves, and that's really fun," says seventeen-year-old lifeguard Anna Buchanan, who confesses that she has so much fun at the Lodge that she spends many of her days off right back at work. (If you can call it that.)

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