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Planning your next poolside vacation? Here's where to stay and what to pack

It's time to make a huge splash during your next trip.
Flashpop / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Who's ready to ditch the bulky clothes and bring on bathing suit season? We're fully prepared to have the best possible 'fits when it comes to swimwear this year, and that means knowing some of the best hotel pools in the country to flex our fabulous style.

Whether spring or summer travel brings you to the East Coast, the West or somewhere in between, finding a hotel with a quality pool is a must. When people are planning vacations to less tropical, more metropolis hubs, a pool is not top of mind. But anyone seeking romance, family fun or the best pool parties for girls’ trips needs to change their tune.

To make it easier to pack, we've also included a roundup of top-notch swimsuits and accessories to bring along. We love practicality, too, so many of these items are versatile enough to be worn for multiple occasions during vacation.

From a retro motor lodge to cozy inns to trendsetter faves, there’s a perfect hotel pool out there just waiting for you to strut your way in.

Hotels with pools to stay in the United States



Best for: Families, friends, couples and business travelers

Why go? Views of the Rockies, complimentary wine and a gear garage (with a vinyl library, board games and tons of outdoor equipment) are a few reasons this Denver hotel and its fun pool deck are a must-stay. Anyone who has visited this western haven in the summer months knows how hot it gets. After just an hour or two biking the tow paths, hiking out to Red Rocks Park or strolling the coveted Cherry Creek shopping district will earn you a dip in the pool.

Worth noting: The hotel has three on-site restaurants and has a nice food and drink menu for poolside lounging, but double check at the front desk as there's a period in the late afternoon where dining service pauses.

The Source Hotel

Best for: Couples, singles, friends, families and furry friends

Why go? This laid-back modern property has a ton of urban charm, just like the River North Arts District in which it resides. Adjacent to the Source Market (an eatery and mainstay of the industrial neighborhood of art studios, music venues and breweries), this hotel is sleek yet down-to-earth. Rooms are clean with pops of color and the intimate plunge pool deck is a great place to unwind from the funky buzz below.

Worth noting: The Source Hotel is dog-friendly and has rooms that face either the mountains or the city. They also add a $25/night fee for use of the amenities, which includes a $15 food and beverage credit, complimentary welcome beers and more.

Kinston, North Carolina

Mother Earth Motor Lodge

Best for: Families, friends, couples, road tripping

Why go: Looking for a fun destination with small town appeal and a lot to do? Mother Earth Motor Lodge and its surrounding Kinston area is packed with activities from axe throwing, disc golf and a water park to funky restaurants and music venues to the motel's sister properties: Mother Earth Spirits and Mother Earth Brewing. The motor lodge feels like a trip into the 1970s with vibrant-colored rooms and vintage furnishings. The outdoor pool is low-key yet picturesque with family-friendly games like shuffleboard and mini golf. With complimentary breakfast, daily snacks, pet-friendly rooms and on-site laundry, it's a must-stop for regional road trips.

Los Angeles

Hotel June Malibu

Best for: Couples, singles and families looking for a down-to-earth surfside getaway

Why go? Authenticity is at the heart of this well-preserved gem that captures the spirit of Malibu's laid-back surf culture. The heated, fenced-in pool sits a few steps downhill from the intimate roadside motel that converges boho-chic with midcentury charm. Having just reopened in spring 2022 after the Malibu wild fires, everything at Hotel June is well-appointed, but not far from the property's deep roots. The former property was owned by a local family and acted as a haunt for many acclaimed artists and musicians. With just over a dozen bungalows total, laying by the pool after a day surfing Point Dume will always be as cool as it is comfortable.

Worth noting: Malibu is spread out, so having a car during your stay at Hotel June is worthwhile. Bikes and boards are available for guests, but it's about a mile to the beach, part of which is along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Hotel L'Ermitage

Best for: Families, romantic getaways, business travel and friend trips

Why go? Walking distance to Rodeo Drive and a myriad of fabulous restaurants and shops, this pool makes you feel worlds away from the buzz on the streets below. In the shade of marigold and azure umbrellas, guests can feel the warm Santa Ana breezes while gazing out at the Santa Monica Mountains and low rooftops of the city. There's always complimentary cold refreshments and sunscreen (in case you forgot) and large open areas to let the kids run around, play cornhole and enjoy the pool without disturbing guests enjoying R&R.

Worth noting: Catch a movie poolside! By making special reservations through the front desk, guests can reserve their own private rooftop movie (or sports game) with a custom spread of treats or even a meal catered to the theme of what's playing.

New Hope, Pennsylvania

Pineapple Hill Inn

Best for: Couples, friends and creatives

Why go? Just 45 minutes from Philadelphia and 90 minutes from New York City, this weekender haven has everything: a lively main street, fabulous food scene, vintage shops and antiques, music venues, record stores and art galleries galore. Pineapple Hill Inn is a cozy bed and breakfast named for the period tradition of placing a pineapple on the porch as a gesture to welcome friends and neighbors. In the warm season, the innkeeper opens the backyard pool that resides within the ruins of an old stone barn from the late 1700s.

Worth noting: The bed and breakfast only allows ages 12+ and has a serene nature ideal for reading by the coy pond, relaxing by the pool and enjoying an evening cocktail or breakfast on the porch, which is included in the booking price.

New Orleans

The Frenchmen Hotel

Best for: Friends, couples and anyone looking for a vibey time

Why go? This funky, fun and self-proclaimed "laissez-faire" boutique hotel is on the corner of Frenchmen and Decatur, just a stone's throw from the party scene of Bourbon Street and abundant with jazz bars, dives and rhythmic nightlife. Originally built in 1860 and revamped in 2021, the hotel's peach-colored façade is classic of the area architecture with its pool nestled in the backyard courtyard like a secret from the outside wildlife (the tourists, we mean).

Audubon Cottages

Best for: Romantic getaways, friend trips, weddings

Why go? This boutique hotel is known to have one of the oldest pools in New Orleans, once the home to the famous naturalist and ornithologist James Audubon (as in the National Audubon Society). In a city steeped in history, eclectic culture, exquisite food, music and 24-hour parties, finding a gem in which to rest before leaping back into the vibrating undercurrent of N'awlins is key. Seven airy cottages fuse brick colonial architecture, leading out to a Tuscany-inspired courtyard surrounding the pool.

New York City

TWA Hotel

Best for: Families, friends, couples, business, pit stops and day trips

Why go? Restored to its full glory in 2019, Eero Saarinen's 1962 architectural marvel is back and bringing guests back to a bygone area. Just one night (or day) at the property provides endless fun, from the vintage plane bar to a rooftop infinity pool that sits on the edge of the runway so you can swim, relax and watch as planes take off into the sky.

Worth noting: You don't have to be a hotel guest to enjoy this epic poolscape. Day trippers and people looking for a fun layover (or pre-flight activity) can pay a cover charge ($25 or $50 for adults, $10 or $20 for kids ages 5 to 12, for winter/spring and summer/fall seasons) to enjoy the pool, deck and Runway Chalet at The Pool Bar.


Best for: Friend trips, singles and romantic getaways

Why go? This snug skyscraper pool with sweeping views of downtown is a respite for relaxation by day and a hot spot for dancing and mingling by night. With a full service outdoor bar and access to the lunch menu from downstairs, the sunbathed pool area is the ideal spot to unwind solo or with friends and loved ones any day of the week. Before booking, check with the front desk about pool happenings. They offer fun advantages on certain days like free oyster shooters with (or without) vodka shucked and served to you while you bask in the afternoon sun.

Worth noting: Only hotel guests can visit the outdoor pool during daytime hours (which closes at 4 p.m. to get ready for the nightclub) and, due to the narrow nature of high-rises, lounge chairs are limited. Particularly on weekends, we recommend getting there early unless you're happy to perch poolside with your feet in the water. For the pool's indoor-outdoor nightclub, you don't have to be a guest to enjoy the party scene and have to enter through a separate elevator.

1 Hotel Brooklyn

Best for: People of all ages who want an elevated Brooklyn scene

Why go? One of the best parts about staying across the river from Manhattan is that the hotel views are sensational. The L-shaped plunge pool wraps around the roof so you can soak in the sun as it it reflects off of lower Manhattan's silvery skyline (can you say, "Instagram dream shot?"). The chic, eco-certified property sits beside the East River with parks, playgrounds and bike paths that make it easy to enjoy the neighborhood.

Worth noting: The pool is open throughout the warm season but has a list of regulations, such as lounge chairs are limited to one seating per day and subject to availability for hotel guests only. Non-guests are welcome to enjoy the sights at Harriet's Rooftop Bar to get a feel for the scene without actually swimming.

Beach bags, hats and other poolside must-haves

Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen Lip Balm

Yes, your lips even need sun protection! This option from Sun Bum includes nourishing ingredients like vitamin E and aloe to keep your pucker safe and moisturized. Best of all, it's only $3, which means you can buy one (or two, depending on how often they lose their lip balm) for every single member of your travel party.

GGOOB Crochet Tote Bag

This "fairy grunge" tote is easy to carry and easy on the eyes. The ideal bag to pack a poolside read, your sunnies and a small towel, this affordable accessory is must-pack for those seeking retro style for their pool party paradise.

Wetcat Turkish Beach Towel

"A soft Fouta towel works well as a beach towel, a bathtime luxury, a casual throw and more," textile expert Karin Sun previously told Shop TODAY about why a Turkish towel is worth the upgrade. Donning a near-perfect average from 10,000+ verified Amazon shoppers, this option break the bank (so you can easily budget for another poolside piña colada).

Lululemon Both Ways Reversible Bucket Hat

Two hats for the price of one? Yes please! Available in four colorways and three sizes, this sweat-wicking, quick-drying '90s staple will have you ready to maximize spring break and summer style.

L.L. Bean Boat and Tote

Ranging from small to extra large, this durable L.L. Bean tote — which was also a recent Shop TODAY Hot List inclusion — is roomy enough for all of your beach day essentials. You can even monogram it with your initials (or, like many people on the internet, a witty one-liner).

J.Crew Textured Summer Straw Hat

Available in black or dusty dune, this wide brim hat has a classic look that can be paired with a range of suits and outfits for elegant hotel pool parties or laid-back family swim days.

Manda Organic Sun Paste (SPF 50)

We love the packaging of this sun paste, which is made from zinc and a yummy combo of regenerative and organic ingredients that also moisturize. It's non-toxic, safe for all ages, reef-safe and screws into a conveniently sized jar that won't risk an accidental spill on that new pool bag.

Dagne Dover Small Landon Carryall

Fun seasonal colors, easy to spot-clean and equipped with organized pockets and zip bags to toss in your sunscreen, shades, cover-up, wet bathing suit and a good book or magazine, this mini duffle is the perfect combo of form-meets-function for a visit to the pool.

Sidney Byron Suncatcher Carryall Tote

Anyone whose ever tried to store their hat in their beach bag will rejoice over this hand-woven, lightweight bag that doubles as an airplane carry-on. The outside has straps that securely hold up to four wide-brimmed hats without bending any of the edges. It's roomy enough for all your pool supplies and can serve as a weekender bag with a velvet lining and drawstring top that adds extra storage space.

Pool cover-ups and pool-to-play outfits

Kona Sol Button-Up Shirtdress

A light 100 percent cotton fabric keeps this classic shirtdress chic and cool on hot pool days. Pair with a bucket hat and cat-eye sunglasses or with an elegant beach bag and wide-brimmed hat for effortless looks.

Old Navy Printed Swim Cover Up

Available in cheetah print, peach floral (get a matching style for the kids!) or black floral, this slip-on cover-up is 100 percent cotton. It's ideal for those hot pool days when it's hard to wear much more than a swimsuit.

Cupshe Hollow Out Sleeveless Cover-Up

Show it off in style with this subtly sexy sheath. This ready for anything cover-up is an affordable choice with five-star reviews that vouch the material feels like good quality. We approve!

Madewell Lightspun Cover-Up Mini Shirtdress

Soft, breathable and ideal for any pooltime occasion, from lounging in a quite courtyard to raging at a lively party, this Madewell cover-up (available in standard and plus sizes) is a win.

Londre The Midi Skirt with Slits

Matchy-matchy is in, in, in! We love this versatile piece because it can worn to the pool and re-accessorized throughout the trip to make the most of limited packing. Pair it with the matching tie top or rock it on its own.

Jungmaven 100% Hemp Sespe Short

Low-key, laid-back and the pinnacle of comfort, this romper is made from super soft hemp material, sewn and hand dyed in Los Angeles. It's essential for vacations and will keep you looking cool from the plane to the pool.

Swimwear for your poolside vacation

Cupshe Solid Mesh One-Shoulder Black One-Piece

A little black bathing suit is as much of a necessity as a little black dress. We love the coverage on this one with the sexy mesh lining.

Zaful String Bikini 2-Set

When pool time is central to the vacation, more bikinis are better than less. Zaful has offers where they sell two swimsuits for the price of one, making showing off your favorite new swimsuit that much easier.

Andie Sorrento Top and Hipster Bottom

Let's move on from this whole cheeky trend and indulge in gorgeous swimwear that's sexy, supportive and made from recycled nylon. Andie's full-coverage hipster bottom is seamless, literally: No seams, no squeeze! With a fit that hugs yet accentuates all the right places, we are ready to purchase this suit in every color and pattern. We love the unique cut of the Sorrento top, but there are several matching top styles available.

Good American Good Compression Swim Brief

Does anyone else feel like finding a cute, trendy bathing suit bottom that's fuller coverage is like shopping for a needle in a haystack? We love this one because it's smoothing, soft and not too cheeky. Buying this staple in black will allow you to pair this bottom with all your favorite tops!

Andie The Mykonos One-Piece

We all know bathing suit shopping is not a one-size-fits-all experience, and Andie makes online choices easy with its "fit quiz" to find the best suits for your body. When you're looking for suits that will stay put while you dive in the pool, play with the kids or get whammed by a wave, this brand has your back. Like many of Andie's flattering design, this stunner can be tailored to your ideal fit with the option of classic or long torso length, as well as bottom coverage (cheeky, medium or full).

Venus Blanc Long Sleeve One-Piece

Keep those shoulders shaded with this reimagined wetsuit look that's perfect for dips in the pool. We love the zip top for preferred coverage with the simple, somewhat cheeky bottom. It's sporty yet fashionable.

Londre The Minimalist

Show some skin and accentuate the right places with this booty-ful one-piece. The low back and scrunched rear seam are flattering for all. Available from XS to 5XL with a classic or long fit, the Minimalist comes in fun colors, too.

Swimsuits for All Loop Strap Halter Set

Swimsuits for All has an extensive selection of styles, cuts and sizes (4 to 44) for every body type. From super supportive tops in different cup sizes to an online quiz to get personally fitted for free, it's easy to find a just-right bathing suit. We love this two-piece that blends comfort and coverage.

Firenze Imani Bandeau Bikini

This splurge-worthy swimsuit has a cut unlike any other we've seen. The Firenze fabric boasts the look and feel of crepe and, if you're really going for Instagram story of the year, tie it all together with the day-to-night coverup pencil skirt designed with the same material and cut.