15 Ways to Stay Cool in a Summer Heat Wave

The sun-drenched days of summer are undoubtedly gorgeous. But when temperatures soar and sidewalks shimmer – it’s time to beat the heat! Whether you are looking for creative things to do or ways to stay cool at home – these 15 ideas will leave you as cool as a cucumber during the next heat wave.

Things to Do

Of course, taking a dip in the pool or lake or hunting out the latest summer blockbusters top the list for summer fun, but it’s not the only way to ride out a heat wave.

Morning Hike

Take advantage of the season’s plentiful daylight, earlier. Start the day off with a lovely morning hike or walk, and catch a beautiful summer sunrise.

Nighttime Viewing at a Planetarium

If you live near a college town, there’s a very good chance the school has a planetarium. Student populations are traditionally lower during summer, and schools often offer planetarium viewings. Beat the mosquitoes and watch a starry sky – in a nice chilly classroom.

A Night, or Day, at the Museum

Channel your inner tourist and discover the cultural gems in your local museum. Even smaller cities often have fun, quirky collections. Or make it a weekend getaway to a larger city and explore away!

Underground Adventures

Leave the unrelenting sun above and go on an underground adventure. You might even be located near caves or cavern attractions. But if not, try searching for nearby battle fortresses open for tours (many also have fortified keeps, cellars, and former ammunition holds underground), tunnel or subway tours, or even ghost tours that explore forgotten passages at night.

Go Under the Sea, at an Aquarium

Slip into a cool, blue paradise at an aquarium. Most are delightfully air-conditioned, with many exhibits wonderfully shaded, offering visitors a calm oasis to escape the heat.

Tour a Brewery

An ice-cold adult beverage always tastes particularly refreshing on a hot summer day. It might taste even better, as you enjoy it after a tour in a temperature-controlled brewhouse.

Explore Nature in an Indoor Botanical Garden

Summer gardens are lovely, but when it’s a hundred degrees outside – a walk in the garden quickly becomes a slog in the heat. Many botanical gardens showcase lush indoor paths, offering a stroll in the beautifully curated shade.

Hit an Indoor Ice-skating Rink

Even if you don’t skate – a frosty, frozen rink is a perfect way to spend an afternoon. Enjoy the people-watching and music, while cooling down and sampling what the local concession stand has to offer.

Take a Self-Guided Culinary Tour in a ‘Big-Box’ Store

Large warehouse-style stores aren’t just good places to buy a metric ton of strawberries; they also tend to offer a plethora of (free!) food samples. Take a stroll through the industrial-sized freezer sections and sample the culinary treats at your favorite store. Don’t forget to swing by the cavernous produce areas to chill out fast.

Staying Cool Indoors

Keep your home – and yourself – calm and cool with these tips.

Make your “Ice-box” Work for You

Once upon a time, refrigerators contained – and used – actual blocks of ice. Take a page out of history, and use old-school technology to quickly cool off a room. Place a pan full of ice (a 9×13 or roasting pan works well), in front of an oscillating fan. The circulating breeze picks up cold water from the ice’s surface as it melts, creating a delightfully cool mist.

Cool Down Fast

Keeping chilled washcloths and hand towels in the freezer is a great way to cool down in a hurry. On a sweltering day, a crisp, chilled towel draped across the neck is a welcome respite from the heat. Tracing ice cubes along your pulse points, such as wrists, behind the ears, and inside the elbows can also help bring your core temperature down fast.

Try this Fan Trick

Try this creative twist – and re-position house fans to push and pull hot air out of a house. Open a few windows – second story windows in particular, and place a box fan in the window. Instead of having the fan face inward, rotate it, so that the front of the fan actually faces the outside. This twist will help pull hot air out of a room and push it outside. If you have ceiling fans, adjusting the fans to run counter-clockwise will also help pull hot air up, and out.

Pull In Cool Morning Air

Obviously, keeping blinds and curtains drawn during the day will help an area stay cooler, and limit extra electricity use. Give your A/C a head start and let fresh, cool air in first thing in the morning by opening the windows for a few minutes.

Slip into Cold Comfort with Bed-friendly Ice Packs

Buy a few inexpensive, re-usable ice packs – and toss them in the freezer before heading out for the day. When it’s almost time for bed, cool down your feet and pillows by wrapping the ice packs in a towel, and placing them at both the foot of your bed, under the sheets, and alongside your pillows. Having two cool points at each end of the bed can work wonders in helping you stay cool and get a good night’s rest.

Switch to Small Meals

It takes metabolic heat for our bodies to break down and process food, and switching to lighter, smaller portions can help keep core body temps down.

When temperatures soar, you’ll be ready to stay cool with these heat-busting tips!

summer heat wave

Written by: Kristi Adams

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