Having grown up in Texas where summer stays nine months out of the year, I’ve gradually gotten used to the idea that if I want to go outside, it is most likely going to be a hot and sweaty experience. However, as the temperatures slowly rise into the triple digits by the afternoon of a summer day, it can be easy to opt into staying inside, waiting for a cooler time to check out that park you’ve wanted to visit. This doesn’t have to be the case. With 20+ years of opting to go outside even in the dead of summer, I’m sharing my hot tips to stay cool outside during the hottest time of the year!
1) Swimming. This is an obvious one but you can create an even deeper connection with nature by skipping the local pool and finding a lake, swimming hole, or other natural body of water to swim in. One of my favorite things to do is to make a day out of it. Pack a picnic and hike down to your favorite swimming spot with your family and/or friends. The cool water will keep you comfortable for the entire day while you can still enjoy much of what nature has to offer.
2) Night Hiking. Being an avid hiker and one that likes to sleep until the late hours of the morning, I had to come up with a solution to still hike while not getting totally burnt out. Thus, night hiking was born! I usually go hiking right after sunset, where the colors of the sky are still beautiful as well as the temps are significantly cooler. Hiking around dusk is also a great way to see things you otherwise might not see during the day. Just remember to still bring plenty of water, bug spray, and a flashlight so you don’t get lost.
3) Cave Exploring. This idea might seem a bit out there but visiting a show cave is guaranteed to keep you cool while still interacting with a part of nature that isn’t seen every day. Show caves, like Natural Bridge Caverns, can be fifteen to twenty degrees cooler than what it is outside. Many of these show caves offer both guided tours or a deeper exploration into the caverns. Check out Texas Speleological to find out more.
4) Picnic in the Shade. Such a simplistic idea but one that is often overlooked. Pack a picnic, find a nice shady spot, and spread out! The shade keeps you cooler than you think and packing fresh, cold fruit is one of the most refreshing things. This is a favorite among my friends and I – depending on how hot it is, sometimes we’ll play some park friendly games like Bocce or just hang out on a picnic blanket. Either way is a great time!
5) Stargazing. By far, one of my favorite things to do outside, both when it’s hot and when it’s not. Going even thirty miles outside of the city limits will be enough to see the plethora of stars there are in the galaxy. August is also home to the Perseid Meteor Shower where anywhere from five to eighty meteors an hour can be seen leading up to peak night. In addition, many state parks will hold Star Parties, bringing out telescopes and explaining different constellations and the stories behind them. Check out the State Parks Calendar for more information.
For more nature fun activities to do this summer, check out Nature Rocks Texas.