Venetian Pool was 20 minutes away from my childhood home in Miami. It was too far to ride my bike and since my mom never learned to drive, I would take the bus. My best friend Sandi and I spent our summers here, jumping off the rocks, swimming across the lagoon, lounging on their beach area…eating hot dogs at the snack bar. It was paradise.

My dad used to swim here all the time too, as part of the University of Miami’s swim team. Maybe that’s another reason I love it so much.

Venetian Pool was originally a rock quarry in the early 1920s and opened to the public for the first time in 1924. You can still see the coral and limestone all around - and the lagoon that was formed holds 820,000 gallons of spring water that comes from an underground aquifer. One cool fact is that in the spring and summer, the pool is drained (and filled) daily using a natural filtration system that returns the water back to the aquifer.

Events and photo shoots of all kinds are held here. And just as they did back in the day, the pool is drained and orchestra concerts are held ‘in the pit’ for special events. The natural acoustics are amazing. This is also the only swimming pool to be included in the National Register of Historic Places – and the largest freshwater swimming pool in the U.S.

If you’ve never experienced Venetian Pool, at least take a peek the next time you’re in the Miami/Coral Gables area. There are waterfalls, a beautiful bridge. cave-like grottos and a snack bar for when you’re hungry. One thing to note is that all children must be at least 3 years old and at least 38 inches tall (bring proof). You are going to be in awe of this place. I promise.