When we asked travelers in our Forums to name their favorite pool in America, we couldn’t help but notice that many of their go-to places for kicking back poolside with friends or family were in one of three major vacation destinations—Las Vegas, Walt Disney World, and Hawaii. Below is a selection of top pools in all three spots, including a list of noteworthy pools elsewhere around the U.S.
Walt Disney World
Between visits to Disney’s two waterparks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, spoil your water-loving brood by opting for a resort with a top pool. Kim Wright Wiley, author of Walt Disney World with Kids 2009, recommends the following two resorts for families for whom a great pool is a priority.
Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. Stormalong Bay, the water recreation area shared by the two resorts, is like a private water park. The sand-bottom “bay” contains pools of varying depths, whirlpools, waterslides, and a wrecked ship for atmosphere.
From the Forums: “The pool at the Beach/Yacht Clubs in WDW is the coolest pool we have ever gone to. Sandy bottom, zero entry, whirlpools, big slide, two small slides for the little ones, a mini river, hidden spas, pirate ship. Lots of fun for kids. — bennnie (more)
Polynesian Resort. The Polynesian boasts an attractive pool with a private beach. Canvas shells shade napping babies and toddlers digging in the sand. Families with young tikes rave about the resort’s zero-entry Nanea Volcano Pool; a 120-ft slide blasts riders out of the pool’s namesake volcano.
From the Forums: “From the perspective of my 6 and 5 year old, any pool is a great pool. For now, from my kids perspective they are looking for a pool where they can jump in, where there is something to explore (like a waterall), where there is a beach nearby and that has a decent slide. The volcano pool at the Polynesian fits that description.” — Ryan (more)
Las Vegas might just be America’s coolest landlocked beach resort. Swimming pools here can be just as over-the-top as the Strip sidewalk show or classier affairs. Adult pool parties remain a popular daytime activity–but there’s still plenty of quieter pools for sunworshipers who would prefer to simply lounge with something cold to drink and a good book. Keep in mind that early risers are rewarded with choice chairs.
Mandalay Bay. The resort’s amazing pool experience includes an 11-acre beach spread with a huge wave pool, a Euro-inspired topless pool with plush daybeds called the Morrea Beach Club, a meandering river, and some of the cushiest cabanas in town. A huge sound stage overlooks the wave pool, hosting concerts by a wide range of rock and pop acts all summer long.
From the Forums: “Just got back recently for a week long stay at THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay and the ‘beach’ is exceptional. There’s a regular pool area, cabanas, etc. and there is a lazy river that you can rent a tube and relax in or…there’s the beach with real sand and a wave pool. You actually think you MAY be at the beach and then you realize it can’t be – you’re int he middle of the desert!” — maria_so (more)
MGM Grand. Few resorts in the world have a bigger or bolder pool and sunbathing area — a maze of pedestrian bridges, fountains, river courses, and waterfalls lends a tropical air to these popular grounds. The newest addition to their pool scene, Water Republic, an adults-only pool-cum-nightclub, opened this past April and features eight pools, including two saltwater pools. Underwater speakers in the area’s largest pools keep revelers in need of a swim from missing a beat.
From the Forums: “I love the MGM pool and it does have a big lazy river. I was there in April and there weren’t many kids, but of course now that schools out, who knows. I’ll be at MGM next week so I hope it will be as nice as April was.” — pianogirl (more)
Some of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches aren’t great for swimming, but many top resorts feature extensive pool attractions that appeal to a wide variety of ages. You’re most likely find these incredible pools in larger resorts located where space isn’t at a premium. For instance, travelers on our Forums have noted the scarcity of jaw-dropping pools in the hotels and resorts crowded along Oahu’s Waikiki Beach.
Grand Wailea Resort. This water wonderland features a “canyon riverpool” with slides, caves, a Tarzan swing, and a water elevator. Soak in the sun (and the quiet) with a view of the Pacific at the adults-only Hibiscus Pool.
From the Forums: “Grand Wailea is the best resort for children. Many pools and water slides. Our kids loved the rope swing pool the best. So much fun at the pool and beach we didn’t do much else.” — perkymom (more)
Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort and Spa Five acres of meandering fresh- and saltwater-swimming lagoons — a big hit with kids — are beautifully set amid landscaped grounds.
From the Forums: “If you stay at the Grand Hyatt, the kids may never want to leave the extensive tropical grounds…..the pools, waterslides, the protected saltwater lagoon with water sports, the koi feedings, the swans, the turtles in the nearby coves etc!!! You’re going at a very busy time of year but this is a large property. Try to get a good rate that includes their great varied buffet breakfast.” — jojo46 (more)
Best of the Rest
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, recommended by andrew8 | Rate it
Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas, recommended by travelinwifey | Rate it
Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables, recommended by NeoPatrick | Rate it
Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch, Scottsdale, recommended by Parrothead | Rate it
Le Parker Meridien, New York City, recommended by Nikki | Rate it
Hapuna Beach Prince, Big Island, recommended by marginal | Rate it
Montage Beach Resort, Laguna Beach, recommended by kimamom | Rate it