Natural Pools And Hot Springs To Inspire Your Next Vacation

These wild wonders offer a breathtaking experience for travelers and locals alike.

People spend big sums of money to stay at hotels with epic swimming pools or to build their own at home.

But too many travelers forget that there are stunning places to swim that aren’t man-made at all. And no, we’re not just talking about oceans and lakes.

Below, we’ve rounded up 17 natural swimming holes ― from hot springs to waterfalls. While this list is by no means comprehensive, we hope it will inspire some future travels and spark a desire to connect more with nature.

Seixal Natural Pools
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Located on the northern coast of the Portuguese island of Madeira, the natural pools of Seixal are a breathtaking place to soak. Whether you're seeking a tranquil spot to relax or a dramatic swimming experience, this picturesque locale will have you covered with its juxtaposition of turquoise water against rugged cliffs.
Grotta della Poesia
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The famous Grotta della Poesia — the Cave of Poetry — is located in the Roca Vecchia archaeological site in the coastal region of Puglia in southern Italy. The natural rock formations surround a stunning pool with refreshing water that draws visitors from around the world who are looking to swim or simply marvel at the sight. As the name suggests, this enchanting place has inspired a sense of creativity and wonder in many.
Havasu Falls
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Tucked within the Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona, Havasu Falls is a stunning natural wonder that stands out even in a state that's jam-packed with mesmerizing landscapes. The vibrant blue-green waters cascade over striking red rocks to create a perfect oasis. But reaching the waterfall is no easy feat, requiring a challenging hike or helicopter ride.
Laguna Dudú
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If you're looking to enjoy a piece of paradise in the Dominican Republic, look no further than Laguna Dudú. This hidden gem in the municipality of Cabrera offers plenty of cave diving opportunities and lovely views with the lush tropical vegetation. Less adventurous visitors can also try out snorkeling and swimming in the lagoon system.
Chena Hot Springs
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Drive about 50 miles northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, and you'll find Chena Hot Springs. The geothermal hot spring destination is known for its mineral-rich waters, which some believe have healing properties. For a unique, rejuvenating experience, visitors can relax and soak in the warm pools and take in the snow-capped mountain views and wilderness landscapes.
To Sua Ocean Trench
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To Sua Ocean Trench is an idyllic swimming hole in the South Pacific paradise of Samoa. Visitors can descend a steep ladder and immerse themselves in the clear salt water surrounded by lush tropical gardens and towering cliffs.
Giola Lagoon
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Located on the Greek island of Thassos, Giola Lagoon provides a peaceful setting for nature lovers to take a dip. The shimmering waters are perfect for a relaxing and refreshing swim after a short hike — visitors can take in the magical Mediterranean scenery as they soak amid the rugged rocks.
Umpqua Hot Springs
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Nestled within the pristine forests of Oregon, Umpqua Hot Springs is a hidden haven of relaxation and natural beauty. The hot springs are comprised of a few terrace pools perfectly situated on the edge of a scenic hillside, so there are plenty of tree-filled panoramic views to take in.
The Fairy Pools
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The Fairy Pools, located in the Isle of Skye in Scotland, are a collection of enchanting natural pools that have become an increasingly popular tourist attraction in recent years. Vivid blue pools and cascading waterfalls create a surreal destination with a hint of fairy tale magic. Whether you want to walk along the water or take a frigid dip, this spot has you covered.
Travertine Hot Springs
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The Eastern Sierra region of California is home to a grouping of geothermal springs known as the Travertine Hot Springs. There you'll find multiple pools of varying temperatures where you can soak and enjoy the mineral-rich waters and views of snow-capped mountains and rugged landscapes.
Cenote Ik Kil
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No trip to the Yucatán Peninsula is complete without a visit to Mexico's stunning cenotes. These natural wonders offer an unforgettable experience, and one of the standouts is certainly Ik Kil. Located near the archeological ruins of Chichén Itzá, it's 85 feet below ground level and surrounded by towering limestone walls, lush vegetation and hanging vines that create a truly mystical oasis.
Manby Hot Springs
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New Mexico is home to the secluded Manby Hot Springs, which offer a unique retreat to those willing to make the short hike. The warm mineral-rich waters, desert landscape and general sense of serenity make for a nice escape along the Rio Grande.
Cascate del Mulino
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Another notable Italian swimming hole is the extraordinary Cascate del Mulino waterfall and hot springs. Again, you've got warm thermal waters and gorgeous landscapes in this Tuscan destination in the town of Saturnia. The place also is steeped in history and legend, with a mythical backstory involving the gods Jupiter and Saturn.
Banjar Hot Springs
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Locally known as Air Panas Banjar, Banjar Hot Springs is a sacred soaking place near the town of Lovina in Bali, Indonesia. The warm sulphuric water is thought to have healing properties. Whatever you believe, it's certainly a soothing destination where people can unwind and connect with nature in a breathtaking place.
Sliding Rock
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If you went to summer camp in North Carolina, you might have taken a field trip to Sliding Rock in Pisgah National Forest. The site is basically a natural mini water park, with its thrilling titular attraction: a geological formation featuring a smooth, sloping rock face that visitors can slide down for 60 feet and then plunge into a refreshing pool of mountain water.
Cummins Falls
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Waterfall fans will also enjoy Cummins Falls State Park in Jackson County, Tennessee. Revel in the breathtaking might of the rushing water as it plunges into the gorge below after undergoing a scenic hike through lush forests. Then you can go for a refreshing dip, which will be no doubt needed after the long trek.
Piscinas Naturales Los Abrigos
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Locals and tourists alike enjoy swimming and relaxing in the natural pools of Tenerife, the largest of Spain's Canary Islands. The tidal swimming spots by the town of Los Abrigos are especially picturesque as the volcanic cliffs surround perfect pockets of seawater.
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