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15 Lazy Rivers for Adults

PHOTO: Don Riddle Images 2014 All Rights Reserved

Leave the kids behind and prepare to indulge in these lazy rivers for adults where you can park your inner tube at the swim-up bar or push a button and out comes your margarita.

Get ready to forgo waterslides and splash zones for relaxation, cocktails, and pampering where refined floating—for the mature drifter—is the name of the game. From cabaña pods to underwater music, these lazy river perks will have you bikini shopping in no time. We’ve pooled together a list of the coolest spots where you can work on that summer tan and feel like a kid again.

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MGM Grand

Place your bets on the 6.5-acre Grand Pool Complex with four pools, 16 tricked-out cabañas, and waterfalls cascading into Backlot River—a 1,000-foot-long lazy river with a flowing current. Here you can float away your cares or get your groove on in one of the poolside party pods complete with daybeds, bottle service, and flat-screen TVs where you can queue up The Hangover or Oceans 11. Neighboring Backlot River is MGM’s Wet Republic Ultra Pool, where DJs spin on weekends March through October. This is when the river transforms from lazy to lively, meaning you can spill your drink and no one will notice. Of course the downside of dancing in a lazy river is that the current may cause you to lose your partner.

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PHOTO: The Four Seasons
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Four Seasons Resort

WHERE: Orlando, Florida

Putting the “z’s” in “lazy river,” the Four Seasons at Walt Disney World knows how to do it right. Their 11,008 square-foot “Drifters” flows under a cascading 9-foot waterfall, past mild rapids, and into a tropical rainforest setting. Water cannons are strategically placed along various points, meaning you can cool off with a gentle spray or take cover in a hanging wicker pod chair at The Cove. As you bob along the river or indulge in the adults-only pool (with underwater music), expect to be served complimentary platters of frozen fruit pops and smoothie shooters by waiters on the hour. If your nanny has the day off, you can join the kids at the waterslide, family pool, or splash zone where choreographed interactive fountains launch water 30 feet into the air.

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PHOTO: 2016 Barbara Kraft
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Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort

The unveiling of Rosewood’s Oasis Pool made quite a splash during the recent grand opening on December 18. As the first lazy river in Baja California Sur—with picturesque views of the Sea of Cortez—the 5,000-square-foot infinity pool features a swim-up bar, gourmet Taqueria, luxury cabañas, and pool butlers available at the push of a button. As you enter the grotto waterfall, a cascading curtain opens and out comes a waiter with your margarita in hand. If music is your muse, Las Ventanas delivers with underwater speakers and a resident DJ spinning club favorites. De-prune those fingers with a game of mini golf or stay cool in the Pool Cinema complete with floating couches, popcorn, and ice cream. These alfresco movie nights showcase everything from classics to blockbuster hits on a projection screen. Timed with the Oasis opening, the Five-Diamond resort launched LVP La Taqueria, specializing in gourmet tacos served poolside.

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PHOTO: 2016 Barbara Kraft
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Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa

Just outside San Antonio, Texas is the appropriately named Ramblin’ River. Modeled after the Guadalupe River, the 950-foot lazy river has a dark bottom finish fashioned after the shaded waterways known for their limestone banks and cypress trees. Unlike the natural Guadalupe River, this Hyatt replica has a swim-up bar with ice-cold Texas beers and frozen margaritas. Poolside cabañas boast flat-screen TVs, minibars, lounge chairs, private concierges, and sundecks for four. After picking up an inner tube, you can ease past the sandy beach while taking in gorgeous views of the surrounding Hill Country lined with oak trees. Ramblin’ River is part of the resort’s 5-acre water complex, featuring a wave machine, waterslides, activity pool, wading pool, adults-only pool, and best of all … a spa.

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PHOTO: Atlantis Paradise Island
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Atlantis Paradise Island

WHERE: Bahamas

If the sparkling waters of the Bahamas aren’t impressive enough, you’ve got two river experiences to choose from at Atlantis Paradise Island. As part of the resort’s 141-acre Aquaventure, the Lazy River gently meanders for a quarter-mile loop just steps from the beach. Far from splash zones and waterslides, the Lazy River is ideal for the tranquil traveler wanting to cruise past tropical landscape with no destination in sight other than the Beach Bar. For a little more action in your drift, plop your tube into The Current, a faster mile-long river loop fueled by three million gallons of water and high-intensity waves. Positioned throughout the river’s route are surges, rapids, and drops of up to seven feet. Unlike traditional water slides that require you to exit and climb back to the start, Atlantis’s water conveyers mean you never have to the leave the river—unless you want to grab a cocktail or nap in a private cabaña.

 

 

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Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa

WHERE: St Lucia

Grown-up tubers can float with the current at St Lucia’s largest waterpark, home to a 1,500-foot Lazy River. Lather on that sunscreen before coasting over a quarter mile around leisurely turns and under refreshing waterfalls. Every Wednesday, the resort holds a charity rubber duck race on the Lazy River to benefit Saint Lucia’s St. Jude Hospital. Guests can sponsor a rubber duck ($20) and launch their waterfowl into the rapids for a chance at gift baskets, romantic dinners, and hotels credits. From charity to chilling, travelers 18+ can head to Harmony Oasis where cocktails are shaken at the Tiki Bar and served at two adults-only pools. Professionals are on hand to pamper with poolside massages, reflexology, and even sunscreen application.

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PHOTO: Kingsmill Resort
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Kingsmill Resort

There aren’t many lazy rivers built near a body of water like Kingsmill’s River Pool. With waterfront views of the historic James River, you can float mere miles from the route taken in 1607 by the original British settlers who established the United States colonies. Even with history aside, Kingsmill River Pool still has a great deal to offer. It’s one of the more rapid lazy rivers, flowing at a swift 5 miles-per-hour. Drifting on the surface are nearly 100 inflatable tubes for single, double and even triple riders. Trusty lifeguards keep watch as adults spin and splash after throwing back a few mojitos and piña coladas. Blame it on the waiters committed to keeping you hydrated with the “beverage flag” system. Simply raise your flag, place your order, and voila—bottoms up! For seclusion, head to the small island centering the lazy river, a great place for adults to spend the day. There’s also an outdoor pool and expansive indoor pool where the water stays at a non-flinching 87 degrees.

Book a Hotel

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Hilton Rose Hall

A highlight at Hilton’s all-inclusive Montego Bay resort is Sugar Mill Falls—the second largest waterpark in the Caribbean. Modeled after the aqueducts from the original Rose Hall tropical estate, the relaxing lazy river is the former site of a historic sugar plantation. For the unveiling of the waterpark, the Jamaican Bobsled team officially inaugurated the speed slide by testing the dips and turns. Today adults can get their relaxation fix in the natural lagoons, three terraced pools, cascading waterfalls, and lazy river that winds just feet from the sand. Take a break from floating with a drink at the swim-up bar or with a walk on private Cinnamon Beach—the longest white-sand beach in Jamaica at 2,500 feet. The Hilton also has its own watersports center for sailing, diving, kayaking, and snorkeling.

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PHOTO: Four Seasons
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Four Seasons

Let the mild current of the Four Season’s Lazy River move you along the Oasis complex—a mini-jungle encircling 23 rooms and suites. You’ll never miss a beat with soothing music playing both above and below the water. Dotting the sundeck are plenty of lounge chairs and complimentary perks like magazines, sunscreen, and ice buckets of bottled water. The full-service bar serves poolside champagne and cocktails, plus a creative menu highlighting bento boxes, sushi, caviar, and tapas. Grown-ups can mosey over to the luxurious, adult-oriented Tamai complex combining four pools, a whirlpool, full bar, and 10 private cabañas. Pull the curtains and curl up on a daybed strewn with pillows, or watch the game on a 42-inch plasma TV. Each cabaña is equipped with a DVD player, sound system, Wi-Fi, phone, private bar, and a variety of books and music selections. Ring your cabaña host for complimentary amenities including fruit, flowers, beverages, and iced bottled water. You’ll need to open your wallet (even wider) for Shiatsu massage, manicures, and the margarita foot treatment, all available in the comfort and privacy of your cabaña.

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PHOTO: Grand Wailea
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Grand Wailea

WHERE: Maui

Soak away your worries at the elegant, 4,850 sq. ft. Hibiscus Pool reserved exclusively for adults. Named for the inlaid hibiscus flower made from 630,000 mosaic tiles, the tranquil pool features two Jacuzzis and is just far enough away from the bustling Wailea Canyon Activity Pool. Remodeled in December 2017, the complex consists of nine individual pools on six different levels, connected by a massive lazy river that carries swimmers along whitewater rapids and gentle currents. Wailea Canyon also has four jungle pools, five intertwining slides, a whitewater rapids slide, a Tarzan pool with rope swing, and the world’s first water elevator. Adults can find peaceful escapes at the caves, waterfalls, Jacuzzis, and a swim-up bar. For the kid in you, ditch your inner tube and try out the new Lava Tube slide—a 3-story drop that propels you at 22 miles per hour.

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The Springs Resort

This not-so-lazy river requires you to wear a helmet and life jacket, despite the fact you’re floating on a standard inner tube at the base of The Springs Resort. A mile below the sprawling property is Club Rio, the resort’s private tubing course that flows half a mile on the Arenal River (no children under 8). For a calmer soaking experience, relax in the hotel’s private hot springs encompassing two tropical acres with multi-level terraces and 12 pools ranging in temperatures from 83˚F to 103˚F. A local bonus is the breathtaking view of Arenal Volcano while you nurse that cold Cerveza Imperial.

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PHOTO: Public Domain
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Excellence Riviera Cancun

Peace and serenity start the moment you step foot into this adults-only resort, with seven pools and swim-up suites on the ground floor. Each has direct access to a lazy river-like pool that coils around the Miilé Spa perched on its own island. Ideal for couples seeking romance and relaxation, this resort is void of splash zones and even inner tubes for that matter. Instead you’ll find plenty of private spaces for sunbathing and napping. For a little more action, head to the swim-up bar or main pool with activities, entertainment, and music.

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Westin Kierland Resort

Despite its location in the Sonoran Desert, The Westin delivers a beach experience with its private “islands” dotting a 900-foot lazy river. Start by reserving a Tommy Bahama Relaxation Reef with a private cove, shaded lounge, day beds, umbrellas, and inner tubes. The largest of the “islands” accommodates up to 10 guests and includes coolers, storage units, and lawn games like Cornhole. With direct access to the lazy river, you can plunk your raft into the river and float over to the swim-up bar or the FlowRider surf simulator. Massages and mani-pedi combos are available at the adults-only Aguamiel Pool.

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PHOTO: Public Domain
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El Conquistador Resort

Yes, there are high-speed slides, vertical drops, and wave pools at El Conquistador’s Coqui Water Park, but if you can stick to the lazy river, you’re in for some serious chill time. Within the 2.4 acre complex is La Mina Lazy River, named after the mines of El Yunque. At 800 feet long, La Mina is the first lazy river to sit along the Caribbean and overlook the Atlantic. After a full day of floating, you can relax by the infinity pool, swing in a hammock, or hire a cabaña on the 25,554-square-foot sundeck.

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PHOTO: Dan Ham
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Gaylord Texan Resort

This Marriott property does lazy rivers Texas style with a 10-acre Paradise Springs Pool Complex and a 600-square foot lazy river. A man-made lagoon with walk-in beach includes a designated toddler pool (which you can avoid), two hot tubs (where you can indulge), and more adventurous water features like slides, zip lines, and splash zones (which you may consider). For some romance between your drifting, request a couple’s cabana on the banks of the lazy river. The full-service pool bar and grill is perfect for quick bites between dips in the lagoon.