Yes, it is not that hard people.
Not true. Depending on the style you are using, your respiratory fitness and body composition (eg, those high in muscle), swimming can be very difficult indeed.
Not to call you out, but for me swimming used to be part of my lifestyle and I thought the same way, but after 10 years focussing on studies rather than fitness (to put it mildly), it's thrown all of my preconceptions down the drain.
I hope you don't feel bad about not being able to swim, especially with some of these responses and the current position of the poll (80%+ of voters can swim).
Living in Australia, where there's pretty much a swimming culture (partly spawned by us living on a frikin island, with most of our populations near the coastline), we tend to forget that some people can't swim or insist at a young age that they learn for various reasons.
That said, if you are ever in a position where you wish to build your cardiovascular fitness, I highly recommend swimming and rowing as solid pursuits. In many ways, these two are the best forms of cardio out there - especially in the areas of low-impact fitness routines that are easy on your joints / bones, and energy expended / hour.
Plus, being able to swim for survival is a plus in and of itself.
If you ever plan to learn, I'd recommend starting with an easier stroke such as breast stroke, as it is very low energy and can get you out of most situations. However, if you ever plan to go to the beach, where rips and such are a potential danger, then freestyle and derivatives thereof are good to know.
ED: As for the best places to swim, private gyms with good indoor facilities are the way to go. Some beaches aren't bad either.
I never learned how to swim, but at the same time where I live I would have to try to find a place deep enough for me to drown (not including pools of course). It can be awkward at times socially but it's no where near would I would classify as a "survival skill".
I got forced into learning how to swim. And don't get me wrong, it is and likely will be a useful skill for varying reasons, I don't regret or reproach my parents for teaching me against my will.
But I seriously hated being in water when I was young and I still kind of do. I'll avoid it like the plague if I have better options. It's gross, cold, noisy, sticky and underwater lifeforms are scary as hell.
... I should probably head out and see if I can still swim.
@haffy You obviously don't spend a lot of time crossing deep water....
I learned how to swim in one summer as a young kid. It took me a little while to master the pattern for stroke and breathing without inhaling a bunch of water, but I eventually got it. I'm glad I learned how because, like others have said, it could very well save my life someday or allow me to save someone else.
What an age we live in... People turning down the ability to perform something that could very easily save their life some day. Swimming is one of the most basic survival skills there is. I would hope it's mandatory curriculum in every developed country.
It's not survival where I live in