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?
Havasu Falls - ArizonaLocated 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
Cummins Falls - TennesseeLooking 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
Chena Hot Springs - AlaskaOnly 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
Homestead Crater - UtahJust 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 - FloridaCascading 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
Blue Hole - New MexicoIn 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
Aztec Falls - CaliforniaKnown 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 - HawaiiLocated 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 - ArizonaHalf 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
Wekiwa Springs - FloridaDeep 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 CarolinaA 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
Lihue Plantation - HawaiiA 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
Aleutian Islands, AlaskaClean 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
Norway's Northern LightsWith 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
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
The Grandeur of YosemiteA 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
MonacoIt 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 960 1280
MacauMacau 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 960 1280
San MarinoThe 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 960 1280
SardiniaSardinia 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 960 1280
IcelandIceland 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 960 1280
Loma Linda, CaliforniaJust 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. 960 1280
OkinawaElderly 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 960 1280
AustraliaSurfs 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! 960 1280
AndorraThis 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 960 1280
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa RicaIn 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. 960 1280
GuernseyThis 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 960 1280
IsraelIsrael 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 960 1280
Ikaria, GreeceBlue 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 960 1280
Hong KongIt’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 960 1280
SingaporeSingapore 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 960 1280