Friday Five: Five Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer

By Austin Anthony

Hair expanding three times its normal size, incessant sweating, humidity higher than the Republic Centre building (84 percent this morning), fogged glasses when you step outside. And oh yeah, rain — lots of rain.

It’s summer in Chattanooga.

Sure, there are a lot of fun things that come along with summer: Digging your toes into the warm sand of an empty beach, the cascade of lush green tree tops dancing in a cool breeze, the refreshing sustenance of sweet tea on a front porch, the caressing, sweet aroma of a family barbeque, drinking ice cold beer with friends on a starry summer night.  

But, we all can agree that it's not the most pleasant of Tennessee’s seasons. Between the swarms of gnats and the vampiric mosquitoes (seriously, what purpose do they even serve?), it's enough to make you want to hole up indoors all summer long.

As the temperature soars, we get a little nostalgic for January’s freeze and February’s snow, for hot chocolate, a comforting fire and cold toes on linoleum.

Ah, and remember spring? Open windows, daffodils swaying in the wind and pondering whether long sleeves would keep us warm enough on morning walks?

Then reality sets in.

Time to wipe away those wistful smiles (as well as the beads of sweat) and face reality: it’s hot. And it’s going to be this hot — hotter, even! — for another four months. Three if we’re lucky.

Before you lose your cool, blow a gasket or melt into a puddle at the mere thought, instead put fresh cucumber slices over your eyes and do this: Cool it. Cool off. Chill. Chill out. Take a chill pill. Or any number of cliché phrases that run through your perspiration-blotched brain.

Keeping your cool is no simple task in scorching summer heat. For the sake of your mental health (as well as our own), we’ve compiled a few ideas to get you started.

When the mercury hits the 90s in Chattanooga during the summer, we start to think about ways to get out and stay cool at the same time. Below is our list of local businesses guaranteed to help you chill out while staying cool.

Lake Winnie

Technically, the summer solstice heralds the initiation of summer. But, for Chattanoogans, summer commences with the opening of Lake Winnie. AKA Lake Winnepesaukah (luckily, you don’t have to spell the name to get in). Since it was first opened to a crowd of 5,000 people in 1925, Lake Winnie has attracted tens of thousands of visitors from all over the Southeast. And, with the opening of SoakYa waterpark in 2013, Lake Winnie solidified its position as the number one place to beat the summer heat. SoakYa waterpark's many attractions allow guests to slide nearly 300 feet headfirst into summer. In celebration of summer, Lake Winnie is hosting Dr. Pepper and Coca-Cola Fridays. This offer is only valid on Fridays, May 4 to Aug. 3. Bring a can of Dr. Pepper or Coca-Cola for BOGO half off Unlimited Ride Passes. Buy an Unlimited Rides Pass, get an Unlimited Rides Pass half off. The park is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For ticket information, visit their website.

IceMakers, Inc. 

Ice. It is the cool savior of heated moments of sweaty dehydration on long summer days. It’s also the subject of sweltering summer songs, such as “Ice Ice Baby" and "Cold as Ice." Without it, we couldn't enjoy the ubiquitous summer elixir of the South: a glass of sweet tea. Fortunately, IceMakers, Inc. is there for all of your icy needs. Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Icemakers, Inc. is a family-owned and operated business offering their customers quality products and service for over 40 years. Today, Icemakers has expanded to include locations in Huntsville, Alabama, as well as Chattanooga, Tennessee. Instead of trying to fly solo, allow IceMakers to help you identify the equipment that best meets your needs. Icemakers offers a full line of Scotsman commercial and domestic ice making equipment. For more information, visit their website.

The Spot Coffee Shop

Although Chattanooga's newest coffeehouse has its origins in Fort Payne, Alabama, don't expect to hear Sweet Home Alabama playing in background. At The Spot Coffee Shop, located on the hip Southside, customers can enjoy a variety of items besides coffee, including breakfast and lunch paninis, soups, salads and of course frozen drinks and ice cream to combat the summer heat. If great atmosphere, friendly staff, Indie music, delectable sandwiches and cold treats are your cup of tea, then The Spot is the place for you. If you aren't completely sold with ice cream and frozen drinks, The Spot also offers a wide variety of cold craft beer on both tap and in bottle. What more could you ask for? During the summer months, it's always great to have a "spot" to call your own. For hours or further information, visit their Facebook page.

L2 Outside

L2 Outside's name echoes its mantra: "live life outside." L2 Outside (formerly L2 Boards) specializes in standup paddleboards, kayaks, and longboards. Designed for all types of outdoor enthusiasts, L2 Boards is a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin D and good times on the Tennessee River. Feel like the summer sun is zapping all of your energy? To keep customers energized, L2 Outside has an onsite restaurant that serves health-conscious meals such as veggie bowls, braised-tofu tacos and citrus-chicken salads. In an effort to highlight the amazing summer views of Chattanooga, L2 Outside is offering sunset and moonlight tours across the Tennessee River. Don’t miss out! To reserve your spot, head to their Facebook page or check out their website.

American Air HVAC, Inc.

If any of the aforementioned businesses don't give that cold nirvana you're searching for, crank your AC to the absolute max. But, with great AC power comes great responsibility – or proper air conditioner maintenance. When the mercury rises, homes without air conditioning can get stuffy and uncomfortable, making it difficult to relax, eat or even sleep. Let the experts at American Air HVAC alleviate all of your AC anxieties. American Air HVAC is a proud local, family-owned and operated HVAC service company. Each specialist on the team is devoted to any residential or commercial project. Complete customer satisfaction is their mission, quality referrals are what they strive for and solutions are their sweet spot. For more information, visit their website.