Swimming Vacations: Where to Go
October 1, 2020
By Danielle Owen

What better escape-cation than into the water? Solo travelers feel right at home on the beaches of foreign shores. Family trips are much more relaxing when little ones can spend hours in the water while parents enjoy the sun. And there’s a reason honeymoons are frequently filled with turquoise seas and white sands. 

Swimming vacations also provide a great way to stay active and healthy while still exploring the world. Swimming is a low-impact activity that’s accessible to many people. Even if you’re not a distance swimmer, hanging out in shallow water or playing water sports can be both relaxing and fun.

Many destinations have multiple sources of water to take advantage of as well. If you’re saying at a resort, plan a morning swim in the lap pool and an afternoon of snorkeling in the ocean. Or if you’re hanging out in the mountains, you might take a dip into a lake and then take a kayaking adventure on a river nearby. There are so many options for activities in the water to keep you and your whole family busy.

From lakes to rivers to oceans, there are refreshing waters waiting for swimmers all over the world.  Ready to head out on your own swimming vacation? Here are some top destinations to keep in mind (based on your favorite body of water, of course). 

Seaside Beaches

A seaside town in Greece

There is no better place for physical or mental rejuvenation than the sea. And there’s no greater beach destination than GreeceIsland hopping through the Greek isles is the ultimate exploration of seashores. From the volcanic black sands of Santorini to the white sand beaches of Crete and the green forest backdrops of Corfu, there’s a perfect beach for everyone in Greece.

A long-time favorite honeymoon destination, Greece is also perfect for solo travelers and families thanks to the endless options on the 6,000-some islands. In Greece, you’ll find a romantic ocean-view retreat just as easily as a beachfront multi-family villa or a cheap-and-cheerful hostel. 


Reflection of a mountain on Lake Tahoe

Lakes hold a special kind of tranquility. But lakes in mountains? That’s max-relaxation.

Lake Tahoe, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California, is one of the best lakes to visit in the U.S. Rent a cozy cabin tucked in one of the many quaint mountain towns surrounding the lake to enjoy the cool waters during the day and a warm fireplace at night. 

Overseas, Lake Bled in Slovenia is a must-see aqua oasis situated in the Julian Alps. The charming church-topped island in the middle of the lake can be seen from all angles during the 45 minutes it takes to walk the circumference.


River in Guatemala

Adventure-seekers will find their fun at rivers. Perfect for swimming, rivers are also the ideal spot for camping trips, kayaking, rafting, hiking and more. Some of the best river swimming vacations are likely accessible by car from your home. Search for rivers in your area and plan a day trip to go explore!

Looking to get further away? One of the best river destinations for a swimming trip is Semuc Champey on the Rio Cahabon in Guatemala. At Semuc Champey, the river pools out into many turquoise oases perfect for an entire day spent swimming and relaxing. Not to mention the natural limestone pools are drop-dead gorgeous. Stay in one of the ultra-chill hostels nearby and take advantage of all the different activities offered like tubing, nighttime cave exploration and more. 

Resorts with Amazing Pools 

Pool overlooking the ocean in the Riviera Maya

Sometimes a resort is the best option for a swimming vacation, especially if you’re traveling with people who are less swim-inclined and more margarita-by-the-poolside inclined. All-inclusive resorts, especially those along the Riviera Maya in Mexico, typically offer both beach access and a wide variety of different pools.

Adult-only pools will frequently have live DJs while family-friendly pools come complete with plenty of shallow wading areas. The pools at many resorts feature swim-up access to suites, in-pool bars, lazy rivers, waterfalls and more.

Whether you’re looking to escape the summer heat or find a bit of paradise by the water in the winter, a swimming vacation is never a bad idea. 

About the Author

Danielle Owen
Danie is a full-time traveler and freelance travel writer. She’s been on-the-move since 2015 from Albania to Zambia (and 70+ others in between). She’s developed a very sophisticated algorithm that evaluates countries based on a thorough analysis of their wine, hot sauce, local friendliness, and how hard she happy-cries at their nature. You can find her portfolio at owentheglobe.com or her photos on Instagram @danieelizabeth