Where the Water Is as Clear As Water

When the lamb part of March is still roaring like a lion, many are considering escaping to sunnier climes. 

Where is the water clearest and bluest? Those who want to dive, snorkel or just plain gaze at their own relaxed reflections can find out in a Weather.com survey.

The idea of packing flip-flops and sunglasses and heading toward an island, beach, lake or bay with turquoise water carries a lot of appeal at the moment. Following are places that earned high marks from travelers, and all feature diamond-smooth, brilliant turquoise waters—and one is even right here in the U.S.

Among the most crystalline locations are:

Cook Islands. Halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, these 15 islands are scattered across millions of square miles in the idyllic South Pacific Ocean.

Cocos Island Marine Park. Three hundred miles southwest of Costa Rica (CR) lies this rugged, verdant island, a crown jewel of CR’s many national parks. In 1994, after several return visits to the island, Jacques Cousteau pronounced Cocos “the most beautiful island in the world.”

Knip Beach. One of the most beautiful surroundings on Curaçao, Knip offers a reef reachable by well-trained swimmers and, closer to shore, exotic snorkeling.

Five-Flower Lake. The pride of Jiuzhaigon National Park in China, the shallow lake glistens different shades of turquoise, and its floor is littered with fallen ancient tree trunks. Wuhua Hai is one in the legendary 108 haizi, or multicolored lakes.

Marsa Matrouh. Nestled inside a big circular bay and protected from the high seas, this gorgeous secluded destination sits nestled on Egypt’s Mediterranean shore.

Virgin Gorda. There’s no escaping the blissfully slow pace that pervades every aspect of this British Virgin Island. Snorkeling, hiking and lolling about on white sand beaches make Gorda a spectacular place to visit without tourist crowds: The Island does not accept direct foreign flights.

Cayo Madrizqui. In these shallow waters in Venezuela’s Los Roques National Park, you find a coral reef teeming with colorful fish and a rainbow of sponges and anemones to delight any snorkeler.

Sua Ocean Trench. One of the most idyllic of Samoa’s sites features an incredible beach and what must the Pacific Ocean’s premier swimmin’ hole.

Torch Lake. Located on the northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, this dramatic 18-mile glacial lake mimics the Caribbean. Its blue clay bottom and clear water are known for producing intense color variations, changing from emerald green to fiery gold to a deep turquoise.