We are all tired of the snow and cold, but the wintertime brings along a fantastic opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, or just the chance to say that you braved the icy waters! Are you brave enough to take the plunge? Take a look at these polar bear plunges around the U.S., pick out a zany costume, and make a splash!
What Is a Polar Plunge?
It's really self explanatory, but polar plunges involve groups of people (usually dressed up in costumes) jumping into icy cold waters, usually to raise money for charity! Special Olympics holds polar plunges in several locations around the U.S., which raise hundreds of thousands of dollars every year! There are other plunges that raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, local charities, or just serve as a large gathering for people who like to jump into cold water! There are hundreds of polar plunges held throughout the U.S., including at least 25 different events right here in Michigan! Use it as a great opportunity to travel with your RV to some rad popular destinations! You'll get a sweet vacation out if it, and better yet, you can help give amazing opportunities to others! Here are some of the coolest locations around the U.S. to take the polar bear plunge!
Chicago Polar Plunge
When: Sunday, March 5th, 2017 Where: North Avenue Beach—Chicago, Illinois Website: Special Olympics Chicago One of the most awesome polar bear plunges takes place in the heart of the Windy City on the shores of North Ave. Beach! Not only will you take the plunge to help the athletes of the Special Olympics, but you might even get to take a dip with a celebrity! Over the past few years, celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga, Vince Vaughn, Al Roker, and other well-known stars have taken the plunge here too! Michael Phelps was asked to participate this year, but it isn't clear whether he has accepted or not!
For comfortable camping accommodations, check out Camp Reinberg in nearby Palatine! This year-round campground offers electricity so you can plug in and power up! It's tucked into the woods, making it a wonderful, quiet, and comfortable spot to warm back up after your plunge! For more information, visit the Forest Preserves of Cook County's website!
Long Beach Polar Bears Super Bowl Splash
When: February 5th, 2017 Where: Long Beach, New York Website: Long Beach Polar Bears The Long Beach Polar Bears Super Bowl Splash adds another element of fun to the excitement of Super Bowl Sunday! Not only do plungers splash into the freezing water to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but they keep the legacy of little Paulie Bradley alive. Paulie wanted to grow up to be a lifeguard, but he sadly passed away in 1997 at the age of four before receiving his wish! Not only is the plunge for a good cause, but you'll be near the excitement of New York City, and on Super Bowl Sunday no less! This plunge already happened this year, so plan ahead and attend next year! You can also check out the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, which is a large gathering of swimmers who gather on New Year's Day for a chilly dip! Check out their website for more information!
Dry off and warm up as you stay at the wonderful Floyd Bennett Field Gateway National Recreation Area! You'll appreciate water, toilets, showers, and a camp store! You're not too far from Long Beach, and you'll love sleeping under the New York sky! Find out more on the national recreation area's website!
Orlando Polar Plunge
When: February 11th, 2017 Where: Aquatica—Orlando, Florida Website: Special Olympics Florida Yes, this sounds a little paradoxical; a polar plunge in Florida? But this is one plunge you won't want to miss out on! Orlando's polar plunge takes place at Aquatica, which is Sea World's own water park! The more money you raise for this event, the more cool stuff you'll receive, including Aquatica and Sea World tickets, food vouchers, t-shirts, VIP incentives, and more! As if basking in the Florida sunshine in the middle of February wasn't rewarding enough! Again, this event has already come and gone, but plan to attend it next year! You still have time this year to check out the Panama City Polar Plunge on February 25th, or the Jacksonville Beach Polar Plunge on March 11th! They both raise money for the Special Olympics as well!
If you want to explore more of Orlando and relax comfortably, choose Bill Frederick Park to set up camp! It spans over 183 acres along Turkey Lake, which is one of the top five-rated fishing lakes in Florida, so bring your fishing pole! Full hookups are available, and you won't want to miss out on the fun!
Las Vegas Polar Plunge
When: February 25th, 2017 Where: Sunset Station Hotel and Casino—Las Vegas, Nevada Website: Special Olympics Nevada Las Vegas. Is that not enough? Register for the Las Vegas Polar Plunge and raise at least $100 and you'll get a sweet t-shirt, free lunch, a no-host bar, and you'll get to jump into the awesome pool at the Sunset Station Hotel and Casino! Have fun at the plunge and then hit the strip! There is also a super fun plunge in Lake Tahoe, with tons of other events, including a dinner at the Hard Rock Café served by local law enforcement!
If you would rather stay in your RV than book a room at Sunset Station, Duck Creek RV park is a fabulous choice! Each of its 207 sites have full hookups with 30 and 50 amp service, and feature dog parks, free DVD/book rental, a heated pool and spa, laundry, restrooms, and more! Keep an eye out, you just may run into Evel Knievel's son, Robbie Knievel, who is known to stay there! Click here to find out more!
If you don't want to travel far to participate in a polar bear plunge, there are plenty held right here in Michigan! Although many have already happened this year, there are still a few left this season (but start planning ahead for next year!) Mark your calendar for these dates: Ann Arbor—University of Michigan Stadium, February 24th—Brave the cold under the lights of the Big House! You'll also enjoy the parade of costumes and Post Plunge party! Grand Rapids—Van Andel Arena, February 25th—Register at the BOB, and make a splash for the Special Olympics! Join in the afterparty at the BOB, or explore Grand Rapids' countless delicious bars and restaurants! There is also a Grand Rapids Griffins game that night, with $4 of every ticket being donated to the Special Olympics! Lansing—Capitol steps, March 2nd—Watch as state legislators and staff plunge into the city waters of a pool set up right on the capitol steps! Show up and watch them make good on their pledge promises! For other locations and more information, head over to the Special Olympics Michigan Polar Plunge website! Are you ready to take the plunge? Whether you participate in a polar bear plunge right here in Michigan or travel to some awesome U.S. destinations, you'll be making a splash for a good cause, and will get some sweet bragging rights! Where do you go for your favorite polar bear plunge? Have you jumped before? Leave us a comment to share your plunge experience!