Waikiki’s War Memorial Natatorium
ehabaref/istockphoto

16 Historic Swimming Pools Around the World

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Waikiki’s War Memorial Natatorium
ehabaref/istockphoto

Historic Swimming Pools

They might be icons of a suburban backyard, but swimming pools have been in the mix as long as humanity has been attracted to water. If you're lucky enough to have a pool, you might not be fantasizing about taking a dip as much as the rest of us, but that doesn't mean you won't appreciate a virtual tour of these stunning, historic pools from around the world. Do your best to avoid looking at plane tickets.

Related: 31 Historic Places Across America That You Can Tour Virtually

Underwood Pool
Tracy B./Yelp

Underwood Pool | Belmont, Massachusetts

The town of Belmont can claim bragging rights to our country's oldest outdoor municipal pool (opened in 1912), which really goes to show that truly anybody can have a cool title if you search hard enough. The other great thing about this pool? It's the same Underwood as Underwood Deviled Ham Spread, one of our greatest culinary achievements.

Related: 19 Virtual Tours of Famous Homes

Berkeley City Club Pool
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Berkeley City Club Pool | Berkeley, California

Opened in 1930, the Berkeley City Club pool was early on the train of how cool indoor pools can be. Moorish architecture-inspired tile and enormous arches make this place seem like the type of spot a Bond villain would relax. Stay at the hotel, and you can experience it.

Kuttam Pokuna
helovi/istockphoto

Kuttam Pokuna | Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

These Sri Lankan granite slab pools were built by the Sinhalese sometime around the sixth to ninth century A.D., and are widely considered to be one of the biggest deals that the hydrological engineering field ever saw. It translates roughly to Twin Ponds, so we're hoping David Lynch doesn't catch wind of this.

Neptune Pool
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Neptune Pool | San Simeon, California

The Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California, is known for a lot of things, but the Neptune Pool is easily one of the biggest. Just like the Berkeley City Club Pool, this one was designed by Julia Morgan. While the pool was recently restored to its former glory after a four year renovation and was even open to swimmers — for a price — the property is currently closed due to the pandemic, so a visit will have to wait.

Roman Pool
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Roman Pool | San Simeon, California

The Neptune isn't the only pool the Hearst Castle has under its belt. It’s all in the name here, with all kinds of Grecian influence and design — aka, there’s marble and gorgeous design elements absolutely everywhere.

Venetian Pool
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Venetian Pool | Coral Gables, Florida

Don't be fooled by the Italian-inspired name — this bad boy resides in Coral Gables, Florida. What was once a 4-acre rock quarry transformed after some work from developer George Merrick and artist/illustrator Denman Fink in 1924. Environmentalists aren't thrilled about the amount of fresh water it uses, but that high dive seems like so much fun that we'll look the other way.

Related: 20 Reasons Not to Put in a Backyard Pool

Maidstone Swimming Club
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Maidstone Swimming Club | Kent, England

If you're chasing the trail of diving board innovation, you can trace it all the way back to the Maidstone Swimming Club in Kent, England. The still-active swimming club has been holding down the fort since 1844 — regarded as the oldest surviving swimming club in Britain. We wouldn't challenge them to a race.

Related: 30 Yard Games to Get Your Kids Out of the House

Racquet Club of Philadelphia
Racquet Club of Philadelphia/Yelp

Racquet Club of Philadelphia | Philadelphia

The Racquet Club of Philadelphia might sound like the villains of a 1980s high school sports movie, and they probably were at many times throughout their life, but they are also the owners of one of the world's first above-ground swimming pool, constructed in 1907. Don't worry, it's a lot more beautiful than what most above-ground pools look like today.

Waikiki’s War Memorial Natatorium
ehabaref/istockphoto
Deep Eddy Pool
Jossy P./Yelp

Deep Eddy Pool | Austin, Texas

Austin is no stranger to outdoor pools. While Barton Springs might get the bulk of the fanfare, Deep Eddy is the oldest pool in Texas, originally opened as a resort in the early 1900s. One great thing? It features a Depression-era bathhouse. Another great thing? When we're all allowed to leave our houses again, it's open to the public and even does movie nights.

Yrjönkatu
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Yrjönkatu | Helsinki, Finland

Back in the 1920s, this easy-to-pronounce swimming hall was the only public option in Helsinki. It was renovated in the '90s, but that's not the most important thing you need to know. The most important thing you need to know is that bathing suits are optional.

San Pedro Springs Park
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San Pedro Springs Park | San Antonio

This San Antonio-based park is the second oldest in the United States, and it went through a renovation in 1899 that was considered groundbreaking. That was, of course, nothing compared to the renovation it went through in 1998, which restored the landscape and allowed it to remain available to the public. Texas really has a whole lot of pools under its belt.

Related: 89 Iconic Buildings and Monuments Across America

McCarren Park pool Brooklyn
Mario Tama/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

McCarren Park Pool | Brooklyn, New York

In the summer of 1936, New York City had a little bit of a pool-aissance, with the opening of 11 different public pools by Parks Commissioner and "master builder" Robert Moses, all of which were financed and built by the Works Progress Administration — a welcome relief for underserved New Yorkers in the midst of the Depression. This one, in Brooklyn, is huge — originally the size of four Olympic pools, though it was made slightly smaller during a renovation in 2012 — good luck doing laps around the whole thing.

Great Bath
commoner28th/istockphoto

Great Bath | Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan

You can't currently take a dunk in the oldest swimming pool in the world, but those of us born in the third millennium BCE still remember the probably-religious ceremonies that took place here. You'll find it among the ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization at Mohenjo-daro in Sindh.

Huey P. Long Field House (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Huey P. Long Field House (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) by Spatms (CC BY-SA)

Huey P. Long Field House Pool | Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Located on the campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, there was a time when the now-closed Huey P. Long Field House Pool was the biggest swimming pool in America. About 90 years later, its adjacent fieldhouse is the home of LSU's Department of Kinesiology and School of Social Work.

White Star Line
Wikimedia Commons

White Star Line's Adriatic

While a lot of the small-minded thinkers of the world were enjoying their pools on land, the RMS Adriatic was the first ship to feature not only a swimming pool but a Turkish bath. Unlike other popular voyages from the early 1900s, the Adriatic never met a fate that inspired James Cameron to make a movie about it.