Some of us like the ocean, and some of us live to discover hidden swimming holes. Here’s where we dream of making a splash this summer.

Sunset Staff  – May 11, 2021 | Updated May 23, 2021

Cleetwood Cove Trail, Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Teaghan Skulszki

I often think about this swimming spot in my day-to-day life. One of the most ethereal places I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying was Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. There is only one place you can swim through the serene blue waters of Crater Lake and to get to it involves a strenuous (but so worth it) hike. With plenty of complaining, I tackled this trail about two years ago. It has been one of my favorite swims to date. I distinctly remember hiking back up the trail and being able to see a fish chase the lure of a fishing rod through the clear water. This swimming spot is surely my favorite in the West. —Teaghan Skulszki, editorial intern

Tamolitch Falls AKA the Blue Pool

Blue Pool

J.D. Simkins

Editor’s Note: This is one of those natural attractions that’s in strong danger of being loved to death. If you visit, please stay on paths, park in designated areas, and pack out your trash. And use extreme caution—cliff jumping is always dangerous, and doubly so here with the unpredictable depth of the (very cold) water. —N.C.

I’m hesitant to recommend this destination as an actual swimming hole, versus a locale more akin to a polar plunge, but this Oregonian beauty is worth a visit nonetheless. 

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Sitting a little over an hour’s drive west of Bend and nestled in a sea of ambrosial Douglas firs is Tamolitch Falls, aptly referred to as the “Blue Pool.”

Over 1,600 years ago, a lava flow oozing from Oregon’s Belknap Crater smothered a nearly 3-mile stretch of the McKenzie River in the heart of what would become Willamette National Forest, almost suffocating the river’s flow except for porous rock that, to this day, allows traces of water to seep through in a process that transforms the Blue Pool’s water into a stunning shade of turquoise. 

The natural pool’s deceptive clarity, the result of the Blue Pool’s unlivable 37° F temperature, can make the pool’s depth—30 feet in some places—appear only 4 or 5 to the human eye. Its nippy temperatures mean you probably won’t be doing many laps if you do decide to take a dip. Unless, of course, you’re a fan of acute hypothermia.    

Still, many do go for a brief swim, even leaping from the adjacent cliff’s rocks into the optical illusion below. It’ll wake you up if you’re tired, cool you off if you’re hot, or instantaneously cure a hangover if, you know. No matter your style of swim, the Blue Pool is, without a doubt, a must-see. — J.D. Simkins, staff writer

Soho Warehouse 

Soho Warehouse Pool

Courtesy of Soho Warehouse

If you’ve been looking for me lately, you’ll most likely find me trying to sneak my laptop onto the pool deck at Soho Warehouse in DTLA—though if anybody asks, I follow all of the house rules. The laptop-free pool deck is a sweet escape from the rowdiness that surrounds downtown Los Angeles. I finally splurged on a membership to what they call “The Warehouse” after having no office to work out of during the peak of the pandemic. Soho rallied to upgrade their outdoor spaces to give members a place to work that was safe, comfortable, and most importantly maintained a strong Wi-Fi connection. The pool is the cherry on top (literally, it’s on the roof) of the space though; while it isn’t deep, the sun hits it all day, the decor is reminiscent of a tropical vacay, the views of downtown only get better as the sun sets, and mini mimosas are passed out while you soak in some rays. Just off of the pool deck is a terrace where laptops are allowed, so you can enjoy the top floor of the house as an idyllic combo of work and play. —Magdalena O’Neal, assistant editor

The Beach at the Fairmont Orchid, Big Island, Hawaii

Pufferfish Big Island

Nicole Clausing

A confession: I’m not a big beach person. I sunburn easily, and after an hour, at the outside, of lying on hot sand I start to feel overheated and restless. I have discovered, though, that I do love snorkeling. A swimming experience that gives me something to look at is one I can stick with all day. My favorite snorkeling beach is the one at the Fairmont Orchid, on the Big Island of Hawaii. I love it for how absurdly easy it is to see a wide variety of undersea life. Just step into the warm, calm water and almost immediately you’ll see pufferfish, angel fish, and, on the day I was there, a group of sea turtles that seemed at least as curious about me as I was about them. The best part of all is that while anything having to do with the Fairmont sounds out-of-reach swanky, the fact is that all beaches in Hawaii are public. So this Cousteau-esque experience can be yours for the price of snorkel and fin rental. That’s what I call affordable luxury. —Nicole Clausing, digital producer