Drop the parka, it’s pool season in Las Vegas

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps hosts the grand opening of Encore Beach Club on April 16.

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps hosts the grand opening of Encore Beach Club on April 16.

Punxsutawney Phil climbed out of his hole on February 2 and, luckily, didn’t see his shadow. While the prediction of an early spring is welcome news to most, let’s be honest, the East Coast will have at least one more big winter storm and rain will hit California hard before spring will be in full swing.

But for those who have set aside a weekend for a trip to Las Vegas, the start of spring is more than just another date on the calendar or some gimmicky clairvoyance of a fury critter. Spring in Vegas means you can trade in your parka for a bikini (or shorts) and a mojito.

The first pool to officially open the season with a raucous party was the Palms Pool and Bungalows, which played host to MTV’s Spring Break on March 3-6. But even though some pools have yet to welcome anyone into¬†their warm waters, the big-name hosts, DJs and parties have already started to line up.

Here’s a look at some of the events and hottest pool clubs to visit as the mercury starts to rise:

Encore Beach Club
Where: Encore
Cost: Starts at $25 for women, $50 for men
After wowing guests with its $70 million addition last season, Encore Beach Club is back for what looks like an even bigger year. Names so far on the docket include: Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who will swim the waters for the grand opening (April 16); Kaskade, who makes his daylife residency return on May 1 and Deadmau5, the iconic DJ who sells out whatever venue he brings his mouse head to, on May 30.

Marquee Dayclub
Where: The Cosmopolitan
Cost: Varies.
The folks that run Tao and Lavo made their next nightlife splash with the New Year’s Eve opening of Marquee Nightclub. Now, those same people are set to open the daytime version of the swinging nightclub. The pool club features two main pools, cabanas with their own infinity pools and the same big-name DJs you’ll find any night at Marquee.

Ditch Fridays
Where: Palms
Cost: $20
If you’ve already booked your flight to get to Las Vegas just in time to grab a bite to eat and head out the clubs on Friday night, hopefully it’s not too late to reschedule. Ditch Fridays gives tourists and locals alike a reason to get to the Palms a little earlier. With three pools, some of the best DJs in the business, and free or cheap drinks at every turn, Ditch Fridays sure beats working on Fridays.

Where: Aria at CityCenter
Cost: Varies.
It’s easy to get lost in the sheer size of Las Vegas’ nightclubs and pool clubs, but as clich√© as at sounds, some things really are better in small packages. Liquid packs more into its 16,000 square feet than you’ll find anywhere else in town and that means you’re always in the middle of the party. Well, that is unless you escape into your cabana to smack your friends down on a game of Madden on a 40-inch plasma.

Bare is one of the few European-style pool clubs in Las Vegas.

Bare is one of the few European-style pool clubs in Las Vegas.

Where: Mirage
Cost: Women are free, men start at $20.
You come to Vegas to shed your inhibitions. Actually, you may even have a special selection of clothes reserved just for Vegas. But at Bare, you can go ahead and leave those special clothes in the suitcase — along with your bikini top. Bare is one of the few remaining European-style (topless) clubs in town, giving you the perfect opportunity to shed your inhibitions — and that pesky tan line.

Wet Republic
Where: MGM Grand
Cost: Varies.
The home of some of the biggest daytime parties in Vegas just got more interesting. Wet Republic will be the home of the party that has rocked Ibiza for the last 10 years beginning April 10. Grammy-winning producer and DJ David Guetta, along with his socialite wife Cathy, bring their F*** Me I’m Famous party to Wet Republic for 26 weeks straight weeks bringing a diverse crowd to one undeniable celebration.

Rehab, the pool party that started them all, returns for its eighth season.

Rehab, the pool party that started them all, returns for its eighth season.

Where: Hard Rock Hotel
Cost: Starts at $20 for women, $40 for men.
The weekly party that made Las Vegas pool clubs en vogue returns April 17 for an eighth season. More than 4,000 revelers join in the Sunday party that has been called one of the Top 10 pools in the world by the Travel Channel.

Tao Beach
Where: Venetian
Cost: No cover Monday-Thursday, starts at $20 Friday-Saturday.
Tao Nightclub closes around the same time the sun comes up, but that doesn’t mean the party’s over, it’s just on a break. The action picks back up at 10 a.m. when Tao Beach opens. Guests exchange their dresses and button-up shirts for bikinis and shorts and find their dance step as DJs spin the beats.