Open Water Swimming meccas

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited December 2013 in Locations & Networking
Interesting post at the DNOWS, the "Great Cities In America For Open Water Swimming" :
1. Honolulu, Hawaii
2. San Francisco, California
3. La Jolla (San Diego), California
4. Boston, Massachusetts
5. Atlantic City/Ocean City, New Jersey
6. Miami, Florida
7. Washington D.C.
8. Indianapolis/Noblesville, Indiana
9. Chicago, Illinois
10. Austin, Texas
11. Miami, Florida
12. Laguna Beach (Orange County), California
"Hidden Gems":

1. Chattanooga, Tennessee
2. Atlanta, Georgia with Lake Spivey
3. Fort Myers, Florida
4. Branson, Missouri with Table Rock Lake
5. Clearwater/Tampa Bay, Florida
6. Seattle, Washington
7. Las Vegas, Nevada with Lake Mead
8. Derby, Vermont with Lake Willoughby / Lake Memphremagog
9. Salt River, Arizona
10. Salt Lake City, Utah
11. Bend, Oregon with Elk Lake
12. Orlando, Florida with Lake Cane
Not sure why Steve left off NYC/Brooklyn, home of the CIBBOWS & NYC Swim, but whatever.

[EDIT] Steve added NYC as #6 on the list, shortly after I suggested it.

What would a marathon swimming-specific list look like? Remember, this is about the body of water, but also about the people you get to swim with.

Here's my list (US only):

1. La Jolla
2. San Francisco
3. Ventura (California)
4. New York City
5. Chicago
6. Los Angeles / Orange County
7. Seattle
8. Boston
9. somewhere in Florida, I guess?
10. Denver

Please feel free to add your own list, or state your objections to mine! :)


  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Also, let's expand this concept outside the U.S.

    UK, Ireland, continental Europe, AUSTRALIA (!), etc. etc.
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    edited December 2013
    how about the "Van Down by the River"?
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    I would add the Long Island Sound to the list. There a couple of locations on the Connecticut side that are regular training grounds for some of the most accomplished channel swimmers in America.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Aus... Melbourne, Bondi
    Eng.... Serpentine, Dover

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • lakespraylakespray Senior Member
    Under hidden international gems check out Nauthólsvík Beach in Reykjavík, Iceland I stopped by here on my way to Dover, England. It reminded me of Aquatic Park in SF, locals going for the cold water plunge without wetsuits. And @evmo thanks for including Denver :-)
  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    edited December 2013
    Washington DC?! What the hell? I've gotta go check out that post. I'd love to know where the hell I"m supposed to be swimming here!

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • JBirrrdJBirrrd MarylandSenior Member
    I was thinking the same thing! Scratch Washington DC and head east to Annapolis area with the bay and river swims.
    Perhaps the thinking was that Potomac River swims are in the DC area, which they are not.
  • This is easy...
    Wherever Rob D is.

  • LOSTswimmerLOSTswimmer Oakville, Ontario, CanadaMember
    You're leaving out all the LOST Swimmers in Oakville, Canada! Not only does Lake Ontario have a history that goes back a long ways, and ties in directly with the first Catalina Crossings and Cpt Mathew Webb, it is currently a hotbed for open water swimming! For the past 9 years we've been meeting in Oakville every Saturday morning at 8:00 am and usually get between about 50 - 85 people out! We also host the LOST Race and will be starting to conduct Lake Ontario Crossings this summer too! In fact, a lot of swimmers in this forum have stopped in for a swim when passing through Toronto... and the rest of you are welcome to join us! :)

    Cheers, Rob

  • mauprietomauprieto Barcelona, Spain and San Francisco, CAMember
    I'd add Barcelona and the Costa Brava (Cadaqués, St Feliu, etc...) to the list. Amazing open water swimming spots all over the Catalan coast and the sport is fast gaining in popularity.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    edited January 2014
    Ireland's Copper Coast. Full disclosure, apparently me & @ColmBreathnach & @SuirThing are the few who think so. So it's a future Mecca. Get in while it's still cool. Free cave swimming tours!

    I mean you could go to Sandycove, but really, Sandycove is too warm and sheltered, that extra quarter of a degree makes them soft, it has almost no jellyfish, is protected from prevailing winds and it only has one piddling little cave that you can't even really swim into and you are falling over Channel swimmers who just get underfoot, with cake and tea everywhere, there's all that racing and competitive stuff. Whereas the Copper Coast is 40km of pure cold stingy wild cave sub-cliff lone swimming.

    Or you could go to Black Rock in Dublin, but there's the same problem with Channel swimmers underfoot, and then you might end up on @Fergal's SPAM friend list and next thing you know you're in a pub in the Dublin Mountains in the middle of winter having just done something stupid, again.

    Seems like an easy choice to me...
    phodgeszoho The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • SuirThingSuirThing Carrick-on-Suir, IrelandNew Member
    pssst @loneswimmer , nothing wrong with "Hidden Gem" status .... just sayin'

    I tried to convince myself, but, orange flavour electrolyte, mixed with hot chocolate, tastes nothing like Terry's Chocolate Orange ....

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    edited January 2014
    Miami, FL is awful for swimming. Fort Lauderdale, DelRay, Hollywood, and Deerfield Beaches are great places to train an race.

    DC is another turd. I probably have over 150 miles in the Potomac River and can attest that it is a nasty place too swim. The Bay is much better.

    La Jolla and Hampton, NH are probably my two favorite places to swim outside of Florida.

    Atlantic City and the rest of the Jersey Shore are awesome in the summer. There's a race every weekend.

  • La Jolla and Hampton, NH are probably my two favorite places to swim outside of Florida.

    I'm glad to hear about Hampton as it's relatively close to me. Any specific spots I should check out?

  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member
    edited January 2014
    @loneswimmer, shhhh. Let them all go down to the lovely warm water in Sandycove. Locals only ;-)
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    edited January 2014

    La Jolla and Hampton, NH are probably my two favorite places to swim outside of Florida.

    I'm glad to hear about Hampton as it's relatively close to me. Any specific spots I should check out?

    My in laws are there. When I was training for my EC swim, I went up there for some long workouts.

    I swam round trips from Rye Rocks Beach to the south end of North Beach. Water was 48-51 degrees. I did two back to back swims of 3 hours each. It was probably the best cold water training I ever had.
  • DavidDavid Member
    edited January 2014
    In South Africa there is the Midmar mile with over 20000 swimmers. Its a fantastic event with all levels of swimmers. The friendly crowds are huge but if that does not put you off you are in for a swimming experience to remember. Its organised like a well rehearsed military maneuver with 200 life savers on duty. The Guinness world record holder for the worlds largest open water swim. Its got to count in the list of swimming meccas.

  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    Totally partial, biased, and self serving, I would humbly suggest an expanded "hidden gem:" the legendary lakes of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the Eastern Townships of Quebec. If for no other reason, the Brault's beef jerky is worth the trip.
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    @Fil, you're looking a little tipsy.
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    edited March 2014
    Ya think? Evmo's been messin' with me pic.
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    I can vouch for the jerky!
  • JBirrrdJBirrrd MarylandSenior Member
    ...and I can vouch for @Fil sometimes being tipsy with no help from Evmo.
  • FilFil Derby, VTCharter Member
    Help from the likes of you JBirrrd and other Crabby swillers.
  • sharkbaitzasharkbaitza LondonMember
    ssthomas said:

    I can vouch for the jerky!

    If you like jerky... you have to try biltong!
  • Mauritius3Mauritius3 New Member
    We adding Rodrigues Island, Mauritius to this list !!!

    Mauritius swimmers

  • I would add Bermuda to the list. The Round the Sound swim is beautiful and well-organized. The best open water conditions I have seen.

  • @David, the idea of 20,000 swimmers is almost as far from the idea of a swimming Meccas as I can conceive. Unless it was 25,000 and held in the filthy waters of Rio.

    I'll stick to my cold clean and most importantly empty waters thanks!

    suziedodsslknightJenA The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member

    I'd say the "mecca" for most of us is the place, whether pool, pond, river, lake, sea or ocean.. is the one we can access easily, cheaply,( or FREE) and often. Sometimes it's the best we can do to swim 15 min in a community pool at the end of a long day and the beginning of a long night. :)


    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach

  • NoelFigartNoelFigart Lebanon, NHSenior Member

    @Suzidods, in many ways, quite true. I'm extremely fond of Lake Mascoma...

    However, this list does have me eyeing Boston more favorably as a place to live than once it was....

  • marlinmarlin Member
    edited September 2015

    S. California, N. California, Hawaii (Oahu and Maui especially), Uruguay, Argentina (if you like rivers), Sarasota, Florida Keys, Tahiti, Fiji, Bermuda, Barbados, Cayman Islands

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