27 water-based activities to cool off this spring and summer


April 13, 2018

Charlotte summers are hot and sticky, we all know this. Some of us walk half a mile from where we park to the office and turn into sweaty disasters by the halfway point. Not because it’s a hard walk, but because the humidity climbs to approximately eleventy-billion percent right now.

On these walks, we keep thinking about how nice it would be to dive into a pool or play in a fountain or do anything to break the heat.

Turns out there are a lot of places to get wet in Charlotte when it’s hot out. Here’s what we came up with for activities:

(1) Jump into a luxurious pool, preferably one with a view of uptown like this one at The VUE. (Just don’t forget to have proper pool etiquette.)


(2) Get hooked up to an IV at Hydrate Medical in Dilworth (we’re not kidding). This hydration clinic is not your typical “water” activity, but fluids are involved and are expected to get you properly hydrated in 45 minutes, whether you’re recovering from a long run in the heat or a hangover.

(3) Hit Lake Norman with a cycle boat. Charlotte Cycleboats offers open-air, pedal-powered party boats for groups and individuals. Catch the “sea” breeze, and bring your own beer, wine and snacks to power your pedaling. While the company has previously said no swimming is allowed off the boat (because you’re consuming alcohol), you just might hit a good wave and feel a spray.

(4) Head to the splash fountain on The Green uptown. (These things don’t have to be just for little kids.)


(5) Stand under the waterfall at Romare Bearden Park. (Probably the most efficient soaking you can get at an uptown fountain.)

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(6) Take a trip to Mecklenburg County’s only public beach at Ramsey Creek Park in Cornelius. (Get there early, though, because that little parking lot has been known to fill up fast.) And based on the 2017 opening, expect the beach to open around Memorial Day Weekend. Get more details here.

(7) Spend an afternoon at the Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium, particularly with your face pressed up against a nice, cool, enormous tank full of baby stingrays. There are also 10 interactive zones to explore, so you just might get your hands wet.

(8) Get a beer at a brewery. Don’t worry, we checked. Beer can be up to 95 percent water. This is totally a water-based activity. Start with Wooden Robot Brewery and NoDa Brewing Company to start tasting the nine best beers brewed in Charlotte. (We ranked them here.)

(9) Swim at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. Here, you can splash around in a 50-meter competition pool, 25-yard therapeutic pool and hot tub.

(10) Go whitewater rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. (If you’re with an adventurous group, the raft guide might “accidentally” make sure your butt ends up in the water.)


(11) Play at Carowinds’ Carolina Harbor water park, where you have 14 rides and attractions to choose from. Start with Blackbeard’s Revenge, a six-story tall water slide complex and slow it down with a float along the Coastal Currents lazy river. An admission ticket to Carowinds automatically gets you entry into Carolina Harbor.

[Related: A look inside Carowinds’ revamped water park: Carolina Harbor.]


(12) Try float therapy. This holistic wellness experience is mean to lure your brain into a state similar to REM sleep, allowing a recovery time equivalent to about four to five hours of sleeping, according to the owner of First Float in Huntersville. Take a free hour and sink into a tank filled with water and epsom salt. Just don’t forget to relax.

Float therapy tank

(13) Swim at Marion Diehl Pool on Tyvola Road, where you can find swim lessons and aquatic fitness, as well as cheap open-swim rates. Check out the pool schedule here. (It’s also near the world’s largest standing lion statue — one of Corey’s favorite places to take out-of-town friends.)

(14) Enjoy indoor water park Ray’s Splash Planet uptown. The Planet is closed for maintenance but projected to re-open in summer 2018. Expect a lazy river, slides, a whirlpool and more.

(15) Venture to Mecklenburg County outdoor pools — Cordelia and Double Oaks. (We’re picturing the pool scene from “Caddyshack.”)

(16) Lounge at Craft City Social Club at the Sheraton uptown. For those craving a fancy pool party, this place is self-described as “bridging the gap between outdoor poolscape and indoor adult playground.” Play shuffleboard, rent a private cabana and chill in the pool.

Photo Jun 01, 7 59 16 PM

(17) Cruise on Lake Wylie in a boat you rented. (All the perks of owning a boat without all the pesky maintenance because ain’t nobody got time for that.) Rental options include Aquaventure Boat Club and Lake Effects Boat Club.

(18) Run through the little fountain on the Rail Trail and Carson right outside of the 1100South apartments.


(19) Stand outside during a summer shower. (Watch out for thunderstorms, though. Safety first.)

(20) Stick your face in one of those water fountains on Queens Road in Myers Park.


(21) Jump through the Sprayground at Latta Park.

(22) And the Sprayground at Veterans Park(This one and the one above it come highly recommended by writer Joanne Spataro.)

(23) Sign up for a Micro Brews Cruise dinner excursion at USNWC (remember, beer = water).

(24) Go paddleboating at University Place shopping center in University City. (We don’t know if we’d want to swim in that water, but a little splash wouldn’t hurt.)


(25) Cool off at the splash fountain at First Ward Park. (Why do people think these things are just for kids?)

(26) Stick your toe into the pond at Freedom Park. Or leap in. (This is probably frowned upon, but desperate times …)


(27) Climb up the U.S. National Whitewater Center’s Deep Water Solo Climbing complex, with climbing routes that go from 25 to 45 feet tall. Since you’re climbing without ropes or harnesses and the walls arch over a 20-foot-deep pool, you can just let go at the top.

Go on, the water’s fine.

Photos: Robert Lahser; Google Street View; USNWC; David T. Foster; Corey Inscoe; Diedra Laird

This story originally appeared on CharlotteFive.com. 

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