Hot Day Cures

We are the first to do jumping jacks of joy when the mercury hits 75 degrees and the first to start whining when it hits 85. So we've come up with some fine ways over the years to keep cool when it's hotter than blue blazes outside. Here are five of our favorites.

Go Swimming at The Public Pool
This one's so obvious it almost needs no discussion, but here goes. In Santa Cruz County we have several fine swimming options, among them Harvey West Pool, Simpkins Swim Center and the Trout Farm Inn (which, granted, is not exactly a public pool, but why split hairs). For lolling purposes, we're listing the Rec Swim times, when it's Everybody In The Pool!

At Harvey West, the Rec Swim free-for-all is 12:30-2:30pm Monday-Saturday. Cost is $4. At Simpkins Swim Center, Rec Swim is 1-3:30pm daily. Cost is $6. At the Trout Farm Inn, the pool is open from 11am to 6pm Tuesday-Sunday; cost is $7.

See how easy this is going to be?

Go Swimming at The Beach
A 30-second dip in the ocean—even just wading into the ocean—and overheating will be a distant memory. Right now we're recommending Its Beach and Sunny Cove (near the end of 17th) because they're so very clean. There's also usually a breeze on the North Coast beaches: Bonny Doon Beach (known as a nude beach, but it has a clothed section), Panther Beach and Greyhound Rock are usually pretty comfortable in hot weather. Just bring water and plenty o' sunscreen, as there aren't any facilities to speak of.

Go Swimming in The River
Big Rock Hole on the San Lorenzo River is a rightfully popular place to get your Mountain Dew on and cool off. Drive up Highway 9 out of Santa Cruz; between mile 2 and 3 keep an eye out for the big dirt parking lot on the right with a yellow state parks sign for Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Park your car, lock it, cross the railroad tracks and head down the fire road down to the water. A loose network of trails takes you to various small beaches that can be your staging area for swimming, wading, picnicking, the works.

Go Walking in Nisene Marks
When everywhere else is too damn hot, the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park is reliably cool and refreshing. Those towering redwood trees that blot out the sun and make this park a bit chilly during winter obligingly perform the same function during heat waves, with very agreeable results. The fire road is pretty nice, especially on the other side of the steel bridge, but the riverside trails just past the entrance kiosk, which braid around enormous old-growth trees right next to wee little Aptos Creek, make the perfect hot day meander, especially if you stop to cool your toes in the creek.

Go Fishin' at Loch Lomond
Our fair lake is stocked with rainbow trout, and the shoreline is speckled with shade. You might also want to take the show on a rowboat or paddleboat, available to rent for $5-10 per hour. Learn a little more about Loch Lomond here.