When you’re three, you spend your entire summer in a kiddie wading pool.
When you’re eight, you’re covered in cuts from the backyard Slip’n’Slide.
But by the time you reach double digits, a plain old lap pool just doesn’t do it. We scoured the country for the coolest places to take a dip this summer—think grottos, swim-in movies, and underwater artwork. Take that, Beijing swim complex!
Dallas, TXPool at The Joule
Why: The pool at this boutique hotel juts out over the edge of the 1920s neo-gothic building—a thick layer of glass is all that’s separating you from the Dallas sidewalk below. Glenwood Springs, COHot Springs Pool
Why: Slides, diving pools, and swimming lanes are all pumped with mineral water from a nearby hot spring, so you won’t feel so bad about eating just funnel cake for lunch. Lahaina, HIOhe’o Gulch
Why: Nothing screams "Hawaiian vacation" like lounging by a natural waterfall and swimming in a pool of fresh water. New York, NYTony Dapolito Recreation Center
Why: Torn between catching some rays and checking out the art on view at MoMA? Do both at the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center in New York’s West Village, where an original Keith Haring mural covers a wall of the Art Deco public pool.Midway, UTHomestead Resort Crater
Why: Not only is this natural pool located in the middle of a 55-foot tall limestone rock, but you can also live out your secret dream of learning how to scuba dive and snorkel. San Diego, CAPool at The Pearl Hotel
Why: If swimming isn’t your thing, stop by on Wednesday nights for Dive-In Theater, where classic movies are projected above the ‘60s-style pool.Mason, OHThe Beach Waterpark
Why: Landlocked Ohio gets a taste of the coast at this waterpark, where the swimsuit clad can choose between pools with a sandy beach, a wave machine, or tropical waterfalls.Las Vegas, NVPool at the Flamingo Las Vegas
Why: It may be one of the oldest casinos on the strip, but that doesn’t mean Flamingo Las Vegas is lacking in theatrics—it’s got water slides, a 14-foot waterfall, and real flamingos and African penguins hanging out by the pool. Hollywood, CAPool at the Roosevelt Hotel
Why: You can jump off the diving board where Marilyn Monroe shot her first ad or check out the underwater David Hockney painting. As a bonus, it's a prime star-spotting locale—that is, if you can get in.
REBECCA WILLA DAVIS