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?
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!
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?
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?