How to beat the heat without turning up the AC
Well, it’s official. As of this past Saturday, it’s summer. That means we can look forward to months of hot, muggy, energy-zapping weather outside. But don’t fret, and certainly don’t go burning up power with your AC on full blast. There are other ways to stay cool during these scorching summer months. Check out these splashy ways to beat the heat while avoiding excess electricity use.
Washington D.C. is full of them! Whether you are looking for ways to exercise outside without straining in the heat, or just want to relax, public pools are a great option. One of the most popular — Banneker Pool near Howard University — is open six days a week during the summer, including weekends. It is accessible by public transit, has bike racks out front, and it’s free! If you are a DC resident, that is. Don’t forget to bring proof of DC residency for free admission — either a DC driver’s license or a utility bill will do just fine.
Maryland and Virginia also have great access to public pools. Just check with your county’s parks and recreation department to learn more.
Natural Swimming Spots
Not a fan of chlorine? Perfer the shade of a tree to a pool umbrella? You may have to travel a bit outside the beltway (and drive a car), but these swimming holes will help you cool down and get back to nature!
Harpers Ferry, WV – The town Harpers Ferry sits at the junction of the Potomac River and Shenandoah River. Swimming in the Potomac and Shenandoah can be dangerous due to unseen currents, but there are several companies that will help you float down the river in an intertube instead! Harpers Ferry is also public transit friendly — it can be reached from DC via MARC train in about an hour.
Beaver Dam Swimming Club – Located just north of Baltimore, about 70 minutes from DC, this swim club is actually a huge filled-in marble quarry from the 1800s. A swimming hole since the 1930s, Beaver Dam is both a historic landmark, and a great swimming destination. For the more adventurous, it even has a rope swing!
Cunningham Falls State Park – Head to this state park in Maryland if you are looking for a little more than a swimming hole. A 75 min drive from downtown DC, Cunningham Falls has a lake open for swimming, campsites, and hiking. And it lives up to its name. Just take a short hike to see the park’s 78 foot waterfall.
Let’s face it. Sometimes a pool (or a lake) just doesn’t cut it. In preparation of those moments, consider two of the easiest, and least impactful ways to get to beaches near DC.
Sandy Point State Park – At just 45 minutes from DC — outside of Annapolis, MD — Sandy Point is your quickest way to the ocean. Well, technically it’s the Chesapeake Bay, but close enough on a hot day. And it’s not all swimming; it also boasts nearby hiking trails. So grab a few friends and carpool on over to the beach!
Rehoboth and Dewey Beaches – Desperate for a real ocean beach to chill out? BestBus can take you straight from DuPont Circle to the Atlantic Ocean. Tickets aren’t cheap, but it beats driving and burning all that extra gas.
With all these options, don’t hunker down in behind closed windows this summer. Go outside – and stay cool! Did I miss your favorite spot? Leave a comment to share it with other DC Ecowomen.