9 gorgeous, chemical-free swimming pools to dive into this summer.

Did you know that some of the oldest and most popular swimming pools in the country actually don't use chemicals to keep the water clean?

Photo via iStock.


Natural pools don't use any chlorine, which can dry out your skin, cause allergic reactions, and be really dangerous to handle. Instead, many of them are built to harness water from nearby springs, rivers, and lakes that Mother Nature has already filtered.

They really are the best of both worlds: It's the same beautiful, chemical-free water you get while swimming in nature only with lifeguards, diving boards, and no yucky, muddy toes to worry about!

Here are nine fantastic natural swimming spots that are well worth a visit this summer.

1. Deep Eddy Pool, Austin, Texas

Deep Eddy is one of the oldest swimming pools in Texas (100 years old!) and is an official historic landmark. It brings in fresh water via a spring fed by the nearby Colorado River and — I mean, just look at it!

Image via mkettler/Wikimedia Commons.

2. Landa Park Aquatic Complex, New Braunfels, Texas

Yep, that's a water slide. Yep, that's a rope swing. Yep, that's fresh spring water.

Ready to dive in?

Photo by Sergio Chapa, used with permission.

3. Barton Springs Pool, Austin, Texas

The beautiful and extremely popular Barton Springs Pool is fed by Main Barton Spring, one of the largest in Texas, and features an incredible view of downtown Austin. You might even swim alongside an endangered Barton Springs Salamander as they make their home in the pool.

Image via Downtown Austin/Wikimedia Commons.

4. Balmorhea State Park, Toyahvale, Texas

Balmorhea State Park boasts their pool as "the world's largest spring-fed swimming pool." It's so big, in fact, you can snorkel and scuba dive in it. It's also in the middle of a desert!

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department © 2006.

5. Venetian Pool, Coral Gables, Florida

The Venetian Pool opened in 1924, featuring water fed through an underground aquifer for some of the clearest, cleaning swimming you've ever seen. The stunning pool has waterfalls, grottos, and a bridge as well.

Photo by Matt Kiefer/Flickr.

6. Sycamore Pool, Chico, California

In Chico, the parks department has done something really cool: They've actually diverted water from Big Chico Creek so it flows through a manmade pool that can be properly maintained. The pool is a moving body of water!

Image via Saopaulo1/Wikimedia Commons.

7. Webber Natural Swimming Pool, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Truly one of a kind, in America at least, Webber pool is a living, breathing ecosystem. Unlike the others on this list, the water never leaves the facility here; rather it's filtered every couple of hours by plants, rocks, and bacteria. It's an incredible sight to behold.

Photo courtesy of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.

8. Hancock Springs Pool, Lampasas, Texas

Another pool that opened in the early 1900s, Hancock Springs is a big tourist draw, with its sparkling blue spring water and serene tree cover. When it first opened, people came to the pool to get baptized, but these days it's all about their dive-in movie nights.

Photo by Lampasas, Texas, Parks Department, used with permission.

9. The Ranch at Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California

Furnace Creek actually features two spring-fed pools along with an impressive conservation system for ensuring the water doesn't go to waste. Yeah, not a bad place to go for a dip in sweltering hot Death Valley.

Photo by The Ranch at Furnace Creek, used with permission.

Don't worry, spring-fed and natural pools aren't just beautiful; they're also totally safe.

There may not be a ton of chemicals in them to kill bacteria, but the water is usually brought in fresh from a nearby cold spring. In many places, the pool is drained and refilled regularly, with the wastewater being used to water gardens or fill ponds and eventually returning to the natural watershed.

So whadya say? Can you think of anything more refreshing than a dip in some of the finest water Earth has to offer?

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.