Daily Escape

Blue Lagoon (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Take a soothing dip in the natural wonder of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in Reykjavik, Iceland.  Silica, algae and minerals (with the help of the sun) not only turn the water a beautiful milky blue, but they allow for a refreshing and rejuvenating experience.

Looking for other places to rejuvenate yourself?

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Havasu Falls - Arizona

Havasu Falls - Arizona

Located in the Grand Canyon near the Havasupai Indian village of Supai, AZ, Havasu Falls has an average water temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. One of the most extraordinary swimming holes on the planet, it features spring-fed water that cascades 100 feet into an iridescent turquoise pool all day long. 960 1280

Michele Falzone / AWL Images / Getty Images  

Cummins Falls - Tennessee

Cummins Falls - Tennessee

Looking for the best place to escape the sweltering summer heat in the heartland of America? For more than 100 years, Cummins Falls, a scenic, 75-foot waterfall located in Jackson County, TN, has been a gem for Tennessee natives … but now, the secret is out! Although it’s a bit of a hike to get to once in the park, the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River provides unmatched beauty on your way to taking a dip in Tennessee’s eighth-largest waterfall. 960 1280

Cummins Falls Tennessee, Getty Images  

Chena Hot Springs - Alaska

Chena Hot Springs - Alaska

Only in Alaska can you find a secret swimming hole that’s accessible only by dogsled. Known by many as nature’s hot tub, Chena is filled with water that’s a constant 106 degrees and is also good for your skin because it contains sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. 960 1280

Patrick Endres / Design Pics / First Light / Getty Images  

Homestead Crater - Utah

Homestead Crater - Utah

Just a short drive south from Salt Lake City, UT, is Homestead Crater, a family-owned local attraction. Inside the unassuming mound of dirt is a hidden gem 12,000 years in the making. The giant pool is a soothing 96 degrees, and the water is said to have high levels of calcium and magnesium that can make you look and feel younger. 960 1280

  

Madison Blue Spring - Florida

Madison Blue Spring - Florida

Cascading over piles of limestone boulders, this first-magnitude spring on the west bank of the Withlacoochee River is one of Florida’s newest and most awe-inspiring swimming holes. Dive deep into the cool, crystal-clear waters that descend almost 25 feet into the earth’s surface, but make sure to get there early; this once-hidden gem is becoming more and more popular by the day. 960 1280

floridastateparks.org  

Blue Hole - New Mexico

Blue Hole - New Mexico

In one of the driest states in America, just off Route 66 in Santa Rosa, NM, lies the famed Blue Hole. The size of an average golf green with crystal-clear, 61-degree water, the Blue Hole is known as an artesian aquifer, where rainwater trapped beneath the ground is forced up under natural pressure. The spheres bobbing on the surface are attached to underwater diving platforms used for exploration. 960 1280

Sue Smith, Getty Images  

Aztec Falls - California

Aztec Falls - California

Known for its high cliffs and deep waters, Aztec Falls is the perfect getaway for those looking to escape the hot Los Angeles sun without heading to the crowded beaches. Deep in the San Bernardino Mountains, the falls are accessed via a 6-mile loop that runs mostly along the Pacific Crest Trail and offers jumps of 20, 40 and 60 feet. 960 1280

  

Hali’i Falls - Hawaii

Hali’i Falls - Hawaii

Located deep in the jungle on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Hali’i Falls is a multitiered waterfall that is accessible only by hiking through bamboo forests, deep marsh and former sugarcane pastures. The falls feeding this pool are named Hali’i, which means “to spread out,” and the cascading water does just that, creating the ultimate swimming experience. 960 1280

  

Mooney Falls - Arizona

Mooney Falls - Arizona

Half a mile north of Havasu Falls stands the tallest water feature in the Grand Canyon, rising 190 feet above the surface. Named after a prospector in the 1800s, Mooney Falls is accessible only by crawling through 2 tunnels and then climbing down a sheer cliff face with just a couple of dangling chains to hold on to. Although tough to get to, the view alone makes it worth the trip. 960 1280

Jeremy Woodhouse / Photodisc / Getty Images  

Wekiwa Springs - Florida

Wekiwa Springs - Florida

Deep within the sinkhole capital of the United States is the crystal-clear swimming hole known as Wekiwa Springs, just 15 miles from Orlando. One of the shallower swimming holes in Florida, it has a water depth of just 5-7 feet, but it offers a perfect 72-degree temperature year-round. 960 1280

  

Sliding Rock - North Carolina

Sliding Rock - North Carolina

A popular place to cool off during those hot North Carolina summers, Sliding Rock waterfall is located in the Pisgah National Forest in Transylvania County. About 60 feet of flattened rock dumps into a nearly 7-foot-deep pool at the bottom, making this natural waterslide a great place to visit with kids of all ages. 960 1280

Universal Images Group, Getty Images  

Lihue Plantation - Hawaii

Lihue Plantation - Hawaii

A private swimming hole at the old Lihue Sugar Plantation on Kauai, HI, was transformed into an inner-tube water ride by Kauai Backcountry Adventures in 2003. The waters for this 2 1/2-mile journey, which originate near the top of Mount Waialeale — one of the wettest spots in the world — are channeled through ditches and tunnels that were hand-dug by plantation workers over a century ago. 960 1280

  

Beaver Falls - Arizona

Beaver Falls - Arizona

The third and final swimming hole in the Grand Canyon, Beaver Falls is a free-falling fantasy that offers 40-foot cliffs and deep, aqua-blue pools. 960 1280

Michael Hanson, Getty Images  

Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Clean waves and a clear day are in place in the Aleutian Islands, also known as the "Cradle of Storms". Surfer Alex Gray lets his fins loose on this wave along the coastline. Find out more about Chris Burkard's adventures in our Q&A interview and get his photography tips, best beach picks and more. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Homer, Alaska

Homer, Alaska

Surfer Keith Malloy finds solitude up north near Homer, AK, where he enjoys the entire coastline to himself to prepare to surf. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California

This photo of Big Sur showcases its cold beauty on an unexpected snowy day not far from home. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Big Sur Stargazing

Big Sur Stargazing

High above the clouds in Big Sur, CA, is one of the most magical places to camp and gaze at the stars. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Art in Motion

Art in Motion

Big Sur is a place where people -- like surfer Crystal Thornburg -- journey to find peace. It's the only word to describe her elegant dance down the line. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Guadalupe Dunes

Guadalupe Dunes

The Central Coast of California offers a variety of amazing landscapes. Two surfers trek through steep sand dunes along the coast in search of waves. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Caribbean Colors

Caribbean Colors

From the turquoise waters to the vivid sunsets, the colors in the Caribbean fully bloom at sunset. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Caribbean Surf

Caribbean Surf

Our efforts paid off traveling to the Caribbean to surf undiscovered waves. Here, is a glimpse into the view each surfer had countless times while on the trip. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Jökulsárlón Beach

Jökulsárlón Beach

There are very few places in the world where you can find ice on the shores of a beach. On the way to the water, we walked around huge glacial ice chunks. There was no question that this was going to be the coldest photo session of the trip. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Iceland Surf Trek

Iceland Surf Trek

Surfer Phillip Gold watches his step along snowy rocks en route to a chilly point break. 960 1280

Chris Burkhard  

Camping (Vik, Iceland)

Camping (Vik, Iceland)

We chased the sunset as we made our way back up the cliffs over Vik. We hadn't seen sun the entire trip, and moments after setting up camp we caught of glimpse of it before it dropped behind the mountains in the distance. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Godafoss Waterfall (Iceland)

Godafoss Waterfall (Iceland)

A hiker explores the stunning Godafoss waterfall, located off a beaten path in north-central Iceland at the beginning of the Sprengisandur highland road. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Jökulsárlón Lake (Iceland)

Jökulsárlón Lake (Iceland)

Ice chunks drift from nearby Jökulsárlón Lake and scatter the beach on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Apparently, they make nice ice recliners. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Picture Perfect Iceland

Picture Perfect Iceland

As the weather shifts in the southern tip of Iceland, the clouds part to give way to a perfect rainbow. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Lofoten Islands, Norway

As the sun fades away and the Arctic begins to turn dark and cold, Dane Gudauskas finds enough warmth to take flight in Lofoten -- an archipelago and traditional district in the county of Nordland, Norway. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Arctic Barrel on Lofoten Coast

Arctic Barrel on Lofoten Coast

With air temperatures just as cold as the water, Sam Hammer hopes to be found somewhere in between as he pulls into another arctic barrel. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Reine, Norway

Reine, Norway

A man looks across the bay at the dynamic city of Reine in Norway. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Norway's Northern Lights

Norway's Northern Lights

With the reflection of the dropping tide below and the bursts of Northern Lights above, this scene in Norway was as close as you could get to a natural light show. It seemed that the greens of the Northern Lights were reflecting off everything in sight. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

South Falls (Oregon)

South Falls (Oregon)

The largest state park in Oregon, Silver Creek Falls has a series of waterfalls that are accessed by the Trail of 10 Falls hiking trail. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Oregon Coastline (near Florence)

Oregon Coastline (near Florence)

Oregon impresses visitors with its dynamic coastline and sheer cliffs. One of many gorgeous views along Oregon's coastal Highway 101, this beautiful headland is located near the famous Sea Lion Caves and Heceta Head Lighthouse. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Hanging in Smith Rock State Park (Oregon)

Hanging in Smith Rock State Park (Oregon)

A climber in Oregon's Smith Rock State Park hangs on tight as he inches his way up a tough route. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Off-Road Route (Jackson Hole, WY)

Off-Road Route (Jackson Hole, WY)

This inviting road awaits the next off-roader near the Teton Range in Jackson Hole, WY. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Mount Moran (Wyoming)

Mount Moran (Wyoming)

With the Snake River in the foreground, this picture captures the majestic Mount Moran located in Grand Teton National Park. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Yosemite Valley (California)

Yosemite Valley (California)

Yosemite Valley awakens to another sunny day. Snow-capped Half Dome is one of the most majestic rock formations in Yosemite National Park. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

The Grandeur of Yosemite

The Grandeur of Yosemite

A hiker basks in the early morning light on a hike up Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. Want more photos? Visit Chris' website, Chris Burkard Photography, to see more eye-catching photography. 960 1280

Chris Burkard  

Monaco

Monaco

It may be the second-smallest -- and the most densely populated -- country in the world, but Monaco sees the world’s highest life expectancy. It doesn’t hurt that the Western European country, on the French Riviera, is home to the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world.

Average Life Span: 89.73 years
Typical Diet: Largely Mediterranean
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Thinkstock  

Macau

Macau

Macau has the second-highest life expectancy in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook. Some point to this Chinese territory’s strong (largely gambling-based) economy -- about 70% of money generated on the casino floor is invested by Macau’s government into healthcare.

Average Life Span: 84.41 years
Typical Diet: Mainly plant- and seafood-based
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iStock  

San Marino

San Marino

The 30,000 citizens of this tiny microstate, landlocked by Italy, enjoy one of the longest life spans in the world. San Marino has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, no national debt, a budget surplus, and roughly half its people actively practice their faith -- all possible factors.

Average Life Span: 83.01 years
Typical Diet: Similar to cuisine in Italy's Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions
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Thinkstock  

Sardinia

Sardinia

Sardinia ties with Okinawa for having the highest ratio of centenarians in the world -- 22 centenarians per 100,000 people. The island, 120 miles off Italy’s coast, is home to rugged terrain great for calorie-burning. Come evening, locals enjoy a glass of red wine alongside humor-filled conversation -- in fact, the word “sardonic” originates in Sardinia.

Average Life Span: 81 years
Typical Diet: Plants and beans; sheep cheese and goat’s milk; meat eaten as an accent
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Getty Images  

Iceland

Iceland

Iceland has the sixth-highest life expectancy in the world, according to United Nations’ figures. One possible reason is Iceland’s low levels of pollution (geothermal energy reliance is the norm). The country’s low levels of common illnesses, such as heart disease and depression, are also linked to a daily diet rich in fish oil.

Average Life Span: 81.28 years
Typical Diet: Fish; pasture-raised lamb and wild game; black tea, veggies, wild berries and whole grains
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Ryan Harvey, flickr  

Loma Linda, California

Loma Linda, California

Just 60 miles from the fast-paced LA scene, the town of Loma Linda, CA, is home to America’s longest living population -- and some say it’s a matter of faith: Many of the town’s 23,000 residents are members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, a religion whose members typically live 4 to 7 years longer (with more health and happiness) than the rest of the country.

Average Life Span: Well into the 80s
Typical Diet: Vegetarianism is a popular practice among 7th Day Adventists; most restaurants in town accommodate with a vegetarian menu option.
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ccpix, flickr  

Okinawa

Okinawa

Elderly Okinawans have among the lowest death rates in the world from common diseases -- a fact attributed to a traditional Japanese diet, with only 25% of its sugar and 75% of its grain intake. In recent years, though, younger Okinawans’ move toward fattier foods (Spam is now sometimes added to stir-fries) has led to lower life expectancy.

Average Life Span: 5 times as many Okinawans live to be 100 as their compatriots elsewhere in Japan.
Typical Diet: Lots of fish, soy and legumes
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Thinkstock  

Australia

Australia

Surfs up in Australia -- the country now surpasses the UK, Canada, New Zealand and the US in overall life expectancy rates, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. A low smoking rate, coupled with an active lifestyle, is among the reasons. That good fortune isn’t universal, though: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still trail behind.

Average Life Span: For women, 83.7 years; men, 79.2 years
Typical Diet: Shrimp on the barbie, mate!
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Getty Images  

Andorra

Andorra

This tiny European nation, wedged in quiet isolation between France and Spain, also boasts many long-timers. An active lifestyle, encouraged by some of the best skiing and day hikes in the Pyrenees, is a big reason. So is Andorrans’ focus on family and friends. The influx of tourism (and fast food) is quickening life’s pace, though.

Average Life Span: 82.51 years
Typical Diet: Mediterranean-style, with meat, veggies and fish from Andorra’s larger neighbors
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Getty Images  

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

In this 75-mile-long stretch of Costa Rica, longevity rules supreme: The 75,000 Nicoyans who call this peninsula home have more than 4 times the chance of making it to 90 than a 60-year-old in America. Maybe it’s because of the area’s relative calm -- it’s home to some of the country’s most isolated and beautiful beaches.

Average Life Span: Well into the 90s
Typical Diet: Meso-American diet includes beans, squash and corn tortilla; also, the area’s calcium- and magnesium-rich water, which strengthens bones and relaxes arteries, is an added benefit.
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Marissa Strniste, flickr  

Guernsey

Guernsey

This second-largest island in the English Channel sees a high standard of living -- and long life expectancy. Islanders’ relative wealth may be the reason; it’s the sixth-richest place in the world. Other life-enhancing perks include Guernsey’s low tax rates and high-paying jobs, which afford residents top healthcare options.

Average Life Span: 82.24 years
Typical Diet: Champagne wishes and caviar dreams … come true
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Thinkstock  

Israel

Israel

Israel has the fifth-longest life expectancy in the world. The top 3 cities ranked by life expectancy are Ra’anana (85.5 years), Modiin-Maccabim-Reut (84.1) and Beith Shemesh (83.1); the bottom 2 cities are Nazareth (77.9) and Rahat (77.1) -- a gap that’s been narrowing over the past few decades, with a 7-year gain among Israeli Arabs since 1980.

Average Life Span: 81.5 years
Typical Diet: Fusion of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines
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Getty Images  

Ikaria, Greece

Ikaria, Greece

Blue Zones author Dan Buettner has called this the “island where people forgot to die.” The 10,000 residents of this island in Greece typically live well into their 90s. Laid-back, daily socializing may be one reason. As one resident told Buettner: “When you invite someone to lunch, they might come at 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. We simply don’t care about the clock here.”

Average Life Span: 1 in 3 residents lives into their 90s
Typical Diet: Vegetables from the garden, legumes, greens and lots of olive oil
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Getty Images  

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

It’s not just remote, slow-paced corners of the world that see long life spans. Hong Kongers are among the longest living people in the world. That’s especially true for Hong Kong’s women, who live longer than most other populations in the world. Experts credit a tradition in Hong Kong of dawn workouts, such as daily swims and morning hikes.

Average Life Span: 86.7 years for women, 80.5 years for men
Typical diet: Cantonese food, big on steamed fish and vegetables
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Alexander Meins, flickr  

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore ranks as one of the top places in the world for life expectancy – signaling great strides in the country’s public health initiatives and economic opportunity. Over the last 3 decades, Singaporeans have seen their life expectancies increase by 10 years. Adult obesity is around 11% -- far lower than many Western countries.

Average Life Span: 82.14 years
Typical Diet: Mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay cuisines
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Leong Him, flickr   

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Go back in history and explore the ancient Luxor Temple in Egypt.