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The World’s Best, Most Beautiful, Most Challenging, Most Exotic Island Swims

The Around Beavertail Swim, pioneered by Michael Garr in 2017, is an 11.1 km near-circumnavigation swim around Beavertail Island in Jamestown, Rhode Island, USA (see historical data here). 

It is one of several thousands of island swims to, from, on, near, between, or around islands that dot Planet Earth.

In 2019, we posted the most recent World’s Top 100 Island Swims (see list below). Four years is a long time in the contemporary open water swimming community. Now is a good time to update the list with new swims, expanded swims, historical swims that we forgot or are in exotic locations.

The 2019 list of swims posted below is in alphabetical order. If you think an important, excellent, beautiful, highly competitive, long, traditional, or challenging island swims, relays, charity events, or races are missing, email us at and we will compile a new 2023 list.

  1. 20 Bridges Manhattan Island Swim, 45.9 km circumnavigation swim around Manhattan Island in New York City
  2. 358 Swim, 3 km, 5 km and 8 km along the Hamilo Coast at the Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club, Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines
  3. Alcatraz Island swims, 2 km between Alcatraz Island and Aquatic Park in San Francisco Bay, California
  4. Apolima Strait Swim, 22.3 km between Upolu and Savai’i across the Apolima Strait in Samoa
  5. Atlantic City Around the Island Swim (Absecon Island Swim), a 36.6 km circumnavigation swim around Absecon Island in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
  6. Barbados Open Water Festival, 1.5 km, 3.3 km, 5 km, 10 km in Carlisle BayBarbados
  7. Beach-to-Beach Power Swim, 1 mile, 2.25 miles, 3.5 miles in Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Hawksnest Bay in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
  8. Beginish Island Swim, 6.43 km around Beginish Island in Co. Kerry, Ireland
  9. Bermuda Round-the-Sound, 0.8 km, 2 km, 4 km, 7.25 km and 10 km in Bermuda
  10. BEST FEST, 10-race 7-day competition in Mallorca, Spain
  11. BISRA GaddinAbtGarnish, 1 km, 3 km, 5 km and 7 km around Garnish Island in Glengarriff, Co. Cork, Ireland
  12. Bonaire EcoSwim, 1 km, 2 km, 3 km, 5 km, 10 km in Kralendijk, Bonaire
  13. Boston Light Swim, a 12.8 km swim among the Boston Harbor Islands, Boston
  14. Canal de Menorca, a 37 km crossing between the Balearic Islands of Menorca and Mallorca in the Mediterranean Sea
  15. Caramoan 7K Swim Challenge, 3.5 km and 7 km between islands in Camarines Sur, Philippines
  16. Catalina Channel, 32.3 km between Santa Catalina Island and the California mainland
  17. Cebu Strait, 12 – 16 km strait crossing from Cabilao Island to Argao on Cebu Island in the Philippines
  18. Cocos International Crossing, 3.52 km channel crossing from Cocos Island to Guam
  19. Cook Strait, 23 km between North Island and South Island in New Zealand
  20. Cork Distance Week, 8-day swim camp including the Body Brain Confusion Swim around Sandycove Island and Sherkin Island in Cork, Ireland
  21. Croatian Elaphiti Islands – Dubrovnik, 5-day swim vacation in the southern Dalmatian Coast along Croatia’s Elaphiti island
  22. Croatia Open Water Swim Cruise 9-day swim vacation from Split and around Dalmatian Islands in the Adriatic Sea, ending in the Faros Challenge
  23. Curaçao Channel Crossing, 26.1 km from Klein Curaçao to Curaçao
  24. Deception Island, 1 km in South Shetland off the Antarctic Peninsula
  25. El Cruce, 3 km and 10 km from Cancún to Isla Mujeres in Quintana Roo, Mexico
  26. Enoshima – Jogashima Channel, 21 km island-to-island crossing in eastern Japan
  27. Escape from Mañagaha, 2.4 km channel crossing between Saipan and Mañagaha in the Northern Mariana Islands
  28. Escape from Spike Island, 1.8 km in Cobh Harbour, Ireland
  29. Fastnet Rock, 6.5 km on the most southerly point of Ireland
  30. Fiji Swims, 1 km, 2.7 km and 18 km at Treasure Island and Beachcomber Island, Fiji
  31. Five Islands Challenge, including 7.4 km Manono Island Swim, 5 km Fanuatapu – Namu’a Islands Swim, ​5 km Namu’a Island to Lalomanu Swim, 5.3 km Nu’usafe’e Island Swim, 3.5 km Matautu Island Swim in Samoa
  32. Flowers Sea Swim, 1.6 km, 5 km and 10 km on Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands
  33. Freedom Swim, 7.4 km from Robben Island to Big Bay in Cape Town, South Africa
  34. Generation Homes Sand to Surf, 2.6 km and 1.25 km around Moturiki Island in Mt Maunganui, New Zealand
  35. Greek Symi Swimming Odyssey 7-day swim vacation on Symi Island in the Dodecanese group located near Rhodes, Greece
  36. Guernsey, 48.28 km around the island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy
  37. HK360, 45 km around Hong Kong Island.
  38. Île d’Oléron, 3 km to French mainland
  39. Inchbaggers Island Swims, a series of lake swims in Loch Lomond, Scotland including 200m, 800m, 1.3 km, 2 km, 3 km, 5 km, and 7 km group swims to and around Inchmurrin Island, Inchcailloch Island, Inchconnachan Island, Inchmoan Island, Inchcruin Island, Inchtavannach Island, Isle of Inveruglas, and Island I Vow
  40. Inisbofin Swim, 12.8 km from Inishbofin to Connemara, County Galway, Ireland
  41. Kapiti Island Swim, 5.6 km between Kapiti Island and North Island in New Zealand
  42. Lake Toba Festival – World Super Swim 3-day 117.6 km circumnavigation relay around Samosir Island, North Sumatra, Indonesia
  43. Linden Scott Swim Around Gasparee Island, 5.6 km around Gasparee Island, Trinidad & Tobago
  44. Malta-Gozo-Malta Open Water Swimming Competition, 5.5 km and 11 km in Malta in the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily, Italy
  45. Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli, 36 km from Capri to Napoli, Italy
  46. Marnaton eDreams Formentera, 4 km and 11 km on the island of Formentera, Spain
  47. Maui Channel Swim, 15.9 km relay between the islands of Lanai and Maui in Hawaii
  48. Mercer Island Marathon Swim, 20 km around Mercer Island, Washington
  49. Moz Coral Open Water Race, 10 km from Haapiti – Site Tiahura on Mo’oreaTahiti
  50. Naples Island Swims, 200m, 500m, 1 km, 1.6 km and 4.8 km in Long Beach, California
  51. Navarino Challenge, 1.6 km in Navarino Bay at the port of Pylos in Greece’s Ionian Sea
  52. Nevis to St. Kitts Cross-Channel Swim, 4 km from Nevis to St. Kitts in the Caribbean Sea
  53. FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series, 10 km professional marathon swim in New Caledonia
  54. Okinawa Uruma Hamahiga Open Water Swim, 0.4 km, 0.8 km, 1.6 km and 3.2 km on Hamahiga Island in Okinawa, Japan
  55. Palk Strait, a 59 km [[channel crossing]] between India and Sri Lanka
  56. Paxos to Antipaxos, a 6 km [[expedition swim]] in Greece
  57. Pennock Island Challenge, 13.2 km circumnavigation swim around Pennock Island in Ketchikan, Alaska
  58. Perhentian Island Marathon Swim, 16 km circumnavigation swim in Pulau, Perhentian Besar in Malaysia
  59. Quicksilver Reef Swim – Green Island, 1.5 km and 3 km from Green Island over the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland in northeastern Australia
  60. Race For The Conch Eco-SeaSwim, 0.5 mile, 1-mile and 2.4-mile in Turks & Caicos
  61. Rathlin Swim Challenge, 11.3 km from Rathlin to Bellycastle in Northern Ireland
  62. Rattlesnake Island Swim, 3.1 km and 7 km across Okanagan Lake in Peachland, British Columbia, Canada
  63. RCP Tiburon Mile, 1.6 km from Angel Island to Tiburon, California
  64. Rottnest Channel Swim, 19.7 km from Perth in Western Australia to Rottnest Island
  65. Round Jersey, 65.9 km circumnavigation swim around the Island of Jersey in the middle of the English Channel
  66. Sado Channel Crossing, 40 km prison island swim from Sado Island to Niigata Prefecture on Honshu in northern Japan
  67. St. Croix Coral Reef Swim, 1.6 km, 3.2 km and 8 km in St. Croix in the Caribbean Sea
  68. Saipan Swim Club Ocean Swim, 0.6 km, 1 km, 1.3 km, 2.5 km in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
  69. Sandycove Island Challenge, 2 km around Sandycove Island, Kinsale, Co Cork, Irelan7
  70. Santa Barbara Channel, 19.6 km between Anacapa Island and the California mainland
  71. Santa Cruz Channel, 30.5 km between Santa Cruz Island and Oxford on the California mainland
  72. Santorini Experience, 1.6 km on Santorini Island, Greece
  73. Sherkin Island Swim, 2 km from Sherkin Island to the Cork mainland, Ireland
  74. Shonan Open Water Swim, 800m, 2.5 km and 10 km from Zushi to Enoshima in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
  75. Singapore Open Water Swim Stars, 1 km and 3.5 km at the Sea Sport Center in Singapore
  76. Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union Sea Swim, 3.2 km in, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  77. St Lucia Channel Swim (Saint Lucia-Martinique Channel Swim), a solo and relay 33.5 km channel swim across the St. Lucia Channel between Martinique and St. Lucia in the Caribbean Sea
  78. Strait of Bonifacio, 11 km between Corsica (France) and Sardinia (Italy) in the western Mediterranean Sea
  79. Strait of Messina, 3.1 km between the eastern tip of Sicily and the southern tip of Calabria in southern Italy
  80. Strel Swimming Adventures Croatian Island Hopping, 7-day swim vacation in the Adriatic Sea along Croatia´s Dalmatian Coast based on the small island of Krapanj
  81. Swim Around Charleston, 19.3 km circumnavigation swim around Charleston, South Carolina
  82. Swim Around Key West, 20.1 km circumnavigation swim around Key West, Florida
  83. Swim Around Lido Key, 11.2 km circumnavigation swim around Lido Key in Sarasota, Florida
  84. Swim for Haiti, 1.5 km and 10 km on Ile des Arcadins in Haiti
  85. Swim The Island, 1.7 km, 3.5 km, 5 km in Isola di Bergeggi, Italy
  86. SwimTrek Crete Discovery, 7-day swim vacation on Crete, Greece
  87. SwimTrek Red Sea Liveaboard – Egypt, 8-day swim vacation in the Red Sea in Egypt
  88. SwimTrek Galapagos Islands, 8-day swim vacation in the Galapagos Islands
  89. SwimTrek The Maldives, 6-day swim vacation in the Maldives
  90. SwimVacation Abacos Bahamas, 6-day swim vacation in the Bahamas
  91. SwimVacation British Virgin Islands, 6-day swim vacation in the British Virgin Islands
  92. Tahiti Swimming Experience, 4 x 200m relay, 2 km fun race, 5 km multi-day event in Tahiti
  93. Travesía La Bocaina, a 15 km swim from Lanzarote to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands
  94. Travesía a Nado El Río, 2.6 km inter-island swim from the Playa de Bajo Risco in Lanzarote to the Caleta de Sebo in La Graciosa on the Canary Islands
  95. Travesia Media Maraton de Tabarca, 22 km in Tabarca, Spain
  96. Valentia Island Circumnavigation, 25.8 km circumnavigation swim around Valentia Island in western Ireland
  97. Vanuatu Ocean Swim, 1.5 km and 3.2 km in Port Vila, Iririki Island, Vanuatu
  98. Waikiki Roughwater Swim, 3.8 km across Waikiki Beach on Oahu in Hawaii
  99. World Heritage Okinawa Safa-utaki Open Water Swim Race, 500m, 1 km, 1.5 km and 3 km relay in Azama Sunsun Beach, Nanjo City, Okinawa, Japan
  100. Xiamen-Kinman Swimming, 7.1 km from Tiamen, China to Kinmen, Taiwan across the Taiwan Strait

© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming

to educate, enthuse, and entertain all those who venture beyond the shoreline

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