It’s not rocket science, but the sky is blue, and the water is wet. While the ocean (and other bodies of water) is naturally blue, some water bodies are bluer than others, inviting visitors to swim in them. From the far reaches of Belize to the hydrothermally unique landscapes of Yellowstone National Park, these places worldwide have some of the bluest waters, waiting for tourists to plunge into its watery depths!
10 The Maldives
Vacationers may debate whether Seychelles, Maldives, or Bora-Bora makes for a great vacation (HINT: they all do!). However, when it comes to the Maldives, the island’s waters are as clear as crystals and as blue. These waters are great for water activities, from snorkeling to scuba diving. What’s more, travelers can venture to Vaadhoo and witness the shimmering blue glow of the Sea of Stars at night, made possible by bioluminescent phytoplankton. Whether the waters are enjoyed during the day or at dawn, its stunning rich-blue coast makes it a romantic destination.
9 Crater Lake, Oregon
How blue is blue? Travelers need to visit Oregon’s Crater Lake to find out. This caldera is a breathtaking landmark studded with dramatic mountains and old-growth forests. But what’s even more attractive to tourists is the lake’s deep blue hue. Crater Lake is one of the deepest lakes in the world, and its waters are some of the purest, coming from snowmelt and rain. The view of this volcanic lake makes for a picturesque hike around the Crater Lake National Park.
8 Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, those who venture to the Plitvice Lakes will feel like they stepped into a different world. This gorgeous national park comprises a network of lakes that formed thousands of years ago. Plitvice Lakes National Park takes up 30,000 hectares of land, complete with craggy rocks, stunning waterfalls, and some of the bluest waters around Croatia. Take a dip in the waters while being amongst the tranquility of the rolling meadows and forest.
7 Peyto Lake, Alberta
Banff National Park is one of Canada’s iconic and oldest national parks, and it’s not hard to understand why. Who could resist the crystal, pristine waters of Lake Louise? Similarly, Peyto Lake—located in Banff—entices and attracts tourists every year because of its incredibly blue waters. The glacial lake is so blue, it looks like Kool-Aid! What’s more, Cauldron Peak watches over Peyto Lake, creating a gorgeous backdrop for this popular tourist site.
6 Blue Lake, New Zealand
On South Island, tourists can find the Blue Lake in New Zealand’s Nelson Lakes National Park. As its name suggests, this lake is pretty blue but incredibly clear. The lake's beauty is also sacred to the Māori. The park surrounding the lake is open year-round, so paired with pretty views of the lake, it makes for a great day trip of hiking and exploring.
5 Jiuzhaigou Valley, China
Jiuzhaigou Valley is what humans get when nature mixes hues of turquoise, navy blue, red, yellow, orange, and green. This nature reserve within the Min Mountains in Sichuan is known for its dramatic waterfalls, lush vegetation, misty mountains, and its Five Flower Lake. This gem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it never fails to dazzle visitors, changing its color due to its chemical composition. Moreover, visitors can enjoy this lake year-round, as it doesn’t freeze over in the winter.
4 Great Blue Hole, Belize
The Great Blue Hole off the coast of Belize stands out compared to the turquoise hue of the surrounding waters. Some people may find the Great Blue Hole to be terrifyingly blue. This attraction is a giant marine sinkhole and reaches depths of 407 ft (or 124 m)! This incredibly blue swimming hole is famous amongst recreational divers. It is a site for checking out local marine life like bull sharks, hammerhead sharks, or the incredible Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System.
3 Mount Ijen Crater Lake, Banyuwangi, Indonesia
The billowing smoke found in this crater lake only adds to its mystique. Visitors who head over to the Kawah Ijen Volcano in Banyuwangi will be greeted with a colorfully blue crater lake, almost resembling candy. However, this lake is not safe for swimming due to its incredibly high hydrochloric acid content (which gives the lake its signature color). Visitors can also witness blue fire at Mount Ijen Crater Lake, making for a great photo op.
2 Lake Kaindy, Kazakhstan
The dead, 1300 ft (or 400 m) spruce tree trunks give off an eerie vibe at Lake Kaindy. But the surrounding lush vegetation and the rich hue of the lake say otherwise. Located in Saty, Kazakhstan, the shimmering waters of Lake Kaindy are due to thousands of years worth of rainfall. It’s easy to admire this lake on a nice, sunny day, but those who venture underwater will see the preserved needles on the spruce trees!
1 Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
People have seen countless photos of Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Prismatic Spring, whether in travel blogs or videos. As one of the largest hot springs in the world, this beauty shines with shades of green, blue, yellow, red, and a bit of pink. Its vibrant colors result from microbial mats (or layers of bacteria and other microbes) that produce these varied colors. Many may wonder if the Grand Prismatic Spring is swimmable despite its popularity and stunning views. Unfortunately, swimming is not an option due to its high temperature and acidic content. The second-best option? Admiring this natural beauty and taking plenty of photos!