Google Suggests You Swim Across The Atlantic Ocean

You can’t always rely on the advice of computers, especially when it comes to transoceanic driving directions. From Upgrade: Travel Better:

Google, either encouraging physical fitness or zero population growth, offers the above helpful suggestion when mapping the route from Chicago to London.

Click here for the full directions and map of the route.—MEGHANN MARCO

Screw air travel: Google suggests you get out and swim [Upgrade: Travel Better]


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  1. mikesfree says:

    that is awesome. I love their humor. Like when they had google moon, and you zoomed in too much, you saw swiss cheese.

  2. Juancho says:

    Frickin’ A!

    Makes doing laps across the English Channel sound fun.

  3. SweetDiscovery says:

    That’s really funny, but would you ever get to the other side alive

  4. Beelzebub says:

    Gotta love the nerds at Google!

    I wonder what else they have hidden in there.

  5. Toof_75_75 says:

    The best part about it is the low number of miles you put on your car for a trip like that…Seems to me that with a good pair of goggles, a car flotation device, a rope to tie the car to your back, and 3 tanks of gas, you should have no problem. Thanks Google maps!

  6. AlexPDL says:

    Sorry my biggest problem is that it’s not as useful as it could be ;-) … I just mapped San Fran to London and it has me going into the water somewhere in CT. Why not go up to Nova Scotia and save some time in the water? Could also give directions to off road it across the polar cap. Now that would be cool. It would be HILLARIOUS if someone took the Google directions and started swimming. LOL

  7. AlexPDL says:

    Oh another thing…I just tried directions from San Francisco to Caracas Venezuela… and it said it couldn’t do it. Now I know its possible… it would be cool if it could map that out!

  8. rickspeaks says:

    Gotta love it — surprising though in today’s world that a page like that doesn’t come without the standard disclaimer. With the ambulance chasers that exist, seems that Google might be opening up themselves to a possible legal problem if someone is crazy enough to try it….

  9. Toof_75_75 says:

    It might be nice if it would give you some basic directions on building a raft for your vehicle…Or maybe directions on how to turn your vehicle into a submarine… :-)

  10. Spider Jerusalem says:

    …Yet it can’t get me three miles South without taking me ten miles East out of the way.

    Google needs to have an “avoid highways” option, in case something might actually be best approached by surface streeting.

    I do think the fact that someone took the time to program in a Swim direction is funny though.

  11. uhyesiam says:

    A programmer must have been bored with all the billiards and ping-pong, and decided “You know what? I’m going to program a swim command into google maps.”

    Good times…

  12. acambras says:


    Maybe googling Havana to Miami would do the trick…

  13. Scazza says:

    What I want to know is why the hell does it pick france for ANY UK area? Why would anyone wanna go through france? Also, from upper ontario to scotland makes you go all the way to new york to cross the ocean…

  14. I’m being a total geography nerd here, but there are TWO segments of those directions that don’t involve driving… the other being using 30.1 miles of taking a ferry across the English Channel. (Wouldn’t it be easier to use the train through the Chunnel?)

  15. Toof_75_75 says:


    “Well played, good sir!” HAHA

  16. The Bigger Unit says:

    Yeah, it’s obviously coded to only “swim” from certain points in the US (or wherever else)…e.g: going from Halifax, Nova Scotia to England has you driving to freaking Boston, and then hopping in the water from “Long Wharf”. Or…you could simply walk to Halifax Harbour and go for a swim from there, and save a 12 hour drive (to meet your death in the water).

  17. ColinColin says:

    It even adjusts the time factor to 29+ days! Freaking awesome.

  18. Hoss says:

    I can see Long Wharf from my office. If you swam straight, you’d be at Logan Airport. They need a few more turns…

  19. Toof_75_75 says:

    Maybe there is an official “Google Diving Board” at Long Wharf…

  20. carios23 says:

    It is not possible to drive from San Francisto to Caracas, Venezuela because there is no road between Panama and Colombia. So… google was correct.

  21. xenth says:

    @eastvillageidiot: Don’t forget the Chunnel. It handles cars and buses.

  22. WAI says:

    Hmm no Pacific action on Google Maps?

  23. Skizzo says:

    They probably created the “swim” directive because people in the US aren’t too smart – I bet more than a few of us think it’s just a car ride out to London. ;-)

  24. birdbrain says:

    Yeah, it seems to only work across the Atlantic… even Google doesn’t seem to think it’s possible to swim from Vancouver BC to Tokyo…

    Pretty funny though!

  25. leadhyena says:

    If you just choose the endpoints (Boston, MA and Le Havre, France) you get a trip of 29 days. That’s 41,760 minutes for a 3462 mi. trip, or about a 12:00 mile. That’s pretty fast, y’know. Currently, the fastest 1500m swim was by Grant Hackett in 2001 with a 14:34.56. Google may want to at least revise their numbers, if feasibility is even an issue here. :)

  26. orig_club_soda says:

    How are these directions unreliable? It tells you have to swim and how far. Where is the error?

  27. SplashDog says:

    I already AM swimming across the Atlantic, but I might need directions. Check out for my progress to date. – Splash Dog

  28. cheesyfru says:

    It is technically possible to drive from North America to South America, but you *definitely* don’t want to try. The Darién Gap between Panama and Colombia is 100 miles of dense, roadless jungle controlled by Colombian guerillas. So while you may be able to get lucky and plow a 4WD through it without sinking, you better be good at Spanish so that you can plead with your kidnappers not to kill you. :)

  29. Sudonum says:

    So you’re telling me that Panama and Venezuela and the points in between have no roads? Try this link

  30. hellobullets says:

    it would be awesome if you tried to plot a trip to another planet and google told you to “swim” to the center of the bermuda triangle and hitch a ride on any passing ufo.

  31. derami says:

    Wow, way to usurp what I posted yesterday. I bet you’ll edit this comment out, but whatever – I posted this before you on

    But, I guess you did it better, or have more traffic, because you got dug and I didn’t. Ces la vie I suppose.

  32. madktdisease says:


    The notable stretch that keeps the highway from being completely connected is a section of land between the Panama Canal in Panama and the Colombian border called the Darién Gap, which is a 54 mile (87 km) stretch of rainforest. The gap has been crossed by adventurers on bicycle (first bicycle crossing by Chris Bechard and Scott Kiekhaefer, January 1981), motorbike, all-terrain vehicle, and foot, dealing with jungle, quicksand, swamp, and insects.

    You kind of just proved yourself wrong.

  33. Sudonum says:

    Yeah, I guess I did, however it has been traversed by off road vehicles

  34. anonthemouse says:

    Probably more egregious is their suggestion that it’s straightforward to go from 93 to Long Wharf.

  35. jgodsey says:

    no matter where you start from in the US or canada
    it sends you to Long Warf East Boston to start your swim.
    i wonder if that means anything?

  36. Jon Parker says:

    A few years ago I was having a conversation with my neighbors about my plans to visit my mom, who was living in England at the time. I mentioned not having taken a transatlantic flight before, and being slightly nervous about it.

    The woman asked me why i didn’t just drive. I looked at her expecting to see a smile on her face, but no. A few minutes of inquiry discovered that neither she nor her husband were aware that there are places in the world that you can’t drive to. Both of them were high school graduates.

  37. Buran says:

    @spiderjerusalem: Or “avoid interstates” for those of us like me who want to take the scenic route, or “avoid tolls”.

  38. Buran says:

    @Jon Parker: What, you didn’t go buy a Schwimmwagen!?

  39. assman says:

    now if i could only dig to china.

  40. ElizabethD says:

    This made my day. I

  41. synergy says:

    @spiderjerusalem: I’ve been lamenting the loss of that feature. Yahoo maps or Mapquest used to have the option to stay off highways.

  42. synergy says:

    @Jon Parker: *boggle* O_o

  43. asherchang says:

    For my next road trip to London, I’ll keep in mind not to consult google maps.

  44. Steve_Holt says:


    Try to keep this quiet, but as a Google insider I can confirm that we are close to completing the first transatlantic underwater conveyance device, departing from Boston. Unfortunately, during the beta period, it will be one-way only.

  45. QuirkyRachel says:

    OMG. That is absolutely hilarious!

  46. ducklingcakes says:

    Ten bucks says it’s deliberate. Google’s got Lake Michigan down as something you can’t drive upon (asking for driving directions from Mackinac City to Mackinac Island turns up an error – and that’s a swimmable distance, not to mention easily walkable when the lake’s frozen over) and if they’re going to remember that, they’re going to remember the freaking Atlantic Ocean.

    It really has to be insanely fun to be a Google employee.

  47. derami says:

    I’d like to thank the Consumerist for allowing the Allsux blogger to post a link to the original version of this story. When Allsux wrote to Digg that another source had posted similar material without giving any credit to Allsux, they promptly cesnored the complainant and suspended his user account, then refused to give comment on their decision. At least the Consumerist has allowed Allsux to submit an account of the situation. Kudos!

    IF you like the story, and would like to comment on and/or link to the original version, the Allsux Blog is just getting started :)

  48. palaste says:

    What’s more, Long Wharf in Boston, MA and Terminal Grande-Bretagne in Le Havre, France are the only places that you can swim between. No matter from where to where you go, you always have to swim betwee those two places.

  49. tcabeen says:

    @palaste: That’s what I noticed. Even going to London, you swim into Le Havre (why so much love for that city?), drive through France a bit, and take a tunnel through to England. Directions to Cadiz, Spain are even funnier.

    Clearly, it has to do with the Atlantic currents.

  50. RobertGoretsky says:

    Now if only I could get it to add a waypoint through the Bermuda Triangle, we’d really be all set…

    Robert Goretsky