Hot and sunny, this summer is turning out to be a real scorcher! Coast to coast, regions are setting heat records and folks are flocking to cooler pastures to enjoy the water this July 4th.
And there’s plenty of spots to go! Whether you’re a coastal resident or you’ve been landlocked your whole life, the North American continent offers plenty of opportunities to explore local waterways and escape the summer heat.
With July 4th around the corner, we thought it would be a great time to offer suggestions for you to get out of the heat and into the water this holiday weekend!
So if you do manage to pry yourself away from the BBQ, here are some pro tips for finding (and plunging into) your nearest aquatic playground.
4 Ways to Enjoy the Water
1.) The Beach
This is the obvious one, but for good reason! Assuming you have access to a coastal area, America’s beaches and coastal parks offer the US public one of its greatest outdoor assets.
Conditions, water temps and municipal infrastructure all vary from region to region. But if you are near the coast—old or young, beach bum or ultra-athlete—the beach provides one of the most diverse recreational opportunities available—and it’s almost always free!
Keep in mind, the further north you go, the more challenging conditions generally become. But don’t let cold water be a 4th-of-July buzzkill! Suit up instead in one of BARE’s expertly crafted and ridiculously warm wetsuits or drysuits and celebrate your freedom in comfort.
Top Activities: Swimming, Surfing, Body Surfing, Snorkelling, Diving, Sea Kayaking, SUP
2.) The River
The best part about rivers is that they span the whole continent! So if you’re landlocked in the middle of the country, there is likely still a river reasonably close where you can go to cool off (sorry, Nevada).
Although rivers are consistently cool for most of the year, many fluctuate with the seasons. This means that you can usually expect the most frigid temps in early spring during snowmelt. Alternatively, many rivers are milder into late summer and early fall.
A reminder: River currents are extremely powerful, and a PFD (personal flotation device) is advised in all but the calmest of waters.
Top Activities: Swimming, Kayaking, Rafting, SUP, River Surfing
3.) The Lake
From northern lowlands to high-elevation alpine, lakes make up an important part of the US geography, and they offer countless recreational opportunities to boot.
A lake’s temperature is dependent on its size, depth, elevation and the season—so be sure to come prepared with a thermal insulation layer that’s appropriate for the conditions. Due to their stillness, lakes offer some of the best swimming and aquatic multisport opportunities, including stand-up paddle boarding, sea kayaking and canoeing. For this same same reason, (shallow) lakes provide an excellent, low-stakes classroom for learning to swim and adopting a new sport or activity.
Top Activities: Swimming, SUP, Sea Kayaking, Canoeing, Boating, Learning Skills, Diving
4.) The Pool
The calm sanctuary of a well-maintained pool is hard to beat. And on the hottest of days, the respite of a pool can be the difference between a stuffy, humid holiday—or a July 4th bash!
Like lakes, pools make great classrooms because they are still and predictable, so it’s relatively safe to bring your kiddos along to learn basic skills like swimming and wading water.
And on that note, be sure to outfit your children with protection from the sun to avoid sunburn and skin damage. Bring the pool toys, a basket of food and the whole family to get cool, comfortable—and enjoy the water this July 4th!
Top Activities: Swimming, Lounging, Learning Skills, Training, Family Play