10 Places Where You Can See the Bluest Water in the U.S.

We predict you’re going to be very shutter happy.

Phantom Ship Reflects In The Blue Waters Of Crater Lake in summer

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Vacations (or daycations) take many forms. Sometimes, it’s about getting out and seeing beautiful scenery. If that’s the aim, few things beat the pull of a brilliant blue body of water.

While overwater bungalows floating above shimmering lagoons in the Maldives or Bora Bora, calm Caribbean snorkeling spots, and cenotes in the Yucatan likely spring to mind, the U.S. has many picture-perfect places to see — and snap: lakes, ocean beaches, rivers, waterfalls, estuaries, and bays that don’t require packing a passport. Just remember to bring along your camera.

01 of 10

Crater Lake, Oregon

Landscape photo overlooking Crater Lake in Oregon, deep blue water and tall pine trees with clouds in the sky

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Without question one of the most beautiful lakes in the country (perhaps, even the world), southern Oregon’s historic and halcyon Crater Lake was formed nearly 7,700 years ago by the collapse of an ancient volcano. Despite its origin being tied to such a violent natural event, the blue water — which plunges to a depth of 1,943 feet — is impossibly calm and pure. 

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Tenaya Lake, California

People bathing at the Tenaya Lake, in the Yosemite National Park, California

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Yosemite’s rock climbing and hiking potential gets a lot of love, but this California national park also boasts spectacular swimming, kayaking, and rafting spots such as the alpine Tenaya Lake. Tucked between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows, this beautiful glacial body of water sits at an elevation of 8,150 feet and is backed by granite boulders.

03 of 10

Devil’s Den, Florida

Looking down into Devil's Den in Florida, a swamp water hole with blue water

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Among the most unique spots you could ever dream of taking the plunge, Devil’s Den is a subterranean natural pool near Gainesville, with 50-foot-deep, clear blue-green water that’s always a comfortable 72 degrees. Surrounding the sinkhole are rock formations, stalactites, and ancient fossil beds. No wonder it’s a top tourist attraction for snorkeling and scuba diving.

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Lanikai Beach, Hawaii

Aerial view of Lanikai Beach coastline with palm trees and a boat on the blue water

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Googling photos of Lanikai Beach on the windward coast of Oahu induces wanderlust. Seeing — and splashing in — its warm, aqua waters that caress the palm-fringed white sand IRL will take your breath away. Pro tip: Arrive early to witness the sunrise over the sparkling sea and Mokulua Islands in the distance.

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Lake Tahoe, Nevada and California

Paddle boarding on a calm early morning on Lake Tahoe, Nevada

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Straddling the border between California and Nevada, enormous Lake Tahoe is so postcard-worthy that an entire tourism industry sprung up around it. Whether you’re boating, walking the shoreline, or soaking in the views from the myriad scenic hiking trails, the deep blue waters of this beloved natural attraction always steal the show.

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Molokini, Hawaii

A school of pyramid butterflyfish swim through ocean in Molokini, Hawaii

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Situated three miles from Maui’s southwest coast, the small island of Molokini remains a hidden gem with near-empty, crescent-shaped beaches that have golden sand and some of the clearest, turquoise water in all of the Aloha State. So clear, in fact, the waters have visibility depths that often reach up to 200 feet.

07 of 10

Jenny Lake, Wyoming

Aerial view of blue water and and tall green pine like trees at Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

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Ringed by snowcapped peaks and towering trees, Jenny Lake — which ranks high on the list of spectacular natural attractions in Grand Teton National Park — inspires awe from all who visit. The glacial water is wonderfully waveless and clear. However, the cold temps make it better suited for canoeing and kayaking than swimming.

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Havasu Falls, Arizona

Havasu Falls before sunset in Arizona

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Set within Havasupai Indian Reservation, the magical blue-green waters of remote Havasu Falls draw thousands of spiritual seekers and shutterbugs annually. It’s a deeply soulful place that’s also incredibly scenic. (Keep in mind that permit reservations are required for all hikers and campers.)

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Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico

Rusted old tank covered in graffiti on famous Flamenco Beach framed by palm tree on beautiful Isla Culebra, Puerto Rico

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Nothing against human-made swimming pools, but have you ever floated in the Caribbean Sea? Located on the tiny island of Culebra, off the coast of Puerto Rico, approximately one-mile-long Flamenco Beach bends around a sheltered, horseshoe-shaped bay that’s filled with warm, shallow, turquoise waters and fringed by white sand.

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Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

View of ocean water from Fort Jefferson Dry Tortuga National Park, Florida

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Photos don’t do justice to the beauty of the roughly 100-square-mile Dry Tortugas National Park. It covers seven islands and protected coral reefs, so there’s a whole lot of lovely water to explore. Most of it is placid, turquoise, and filled with colorful marine life, making for some of the best snorkeling in the Sunshine State

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