Where to Take the Polar Plunge in North Carolina

The colder, the better. We compiled a list of places where you can swim the winter waters.

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The draw of the Surf City Dolphin Dip (pictured left) is partly scientific — and partly Brian Moxey’s power of persuasion.

Consider some combination of the two, plus the renewed energies that come from crossing the threshold into a fresh year, and you begin to understand why more than 5,000 people are preparing to run into nearly 40-degree waters on New Year’s Day.

These people have had time to reflect on the past year, to divide its experiences into lessons learned and memories secured. They’re done making resolutions. Now, they’re ready to do something — something crazy.

Read the rest of Rachael Duane’s story about the Surf City Dolphin Dip from the January 2014 issue.

Embrace the new year at one of these winter polar plunges

    January 1

  • Atlantic Beach
  • Polar bears aren’t the only ones swimming the winter waters. Join the Penguin Plunge in Atlantic City Beach to start your new year off with a splash.

    Plunge 1 p.m. Minimum donation: Adults $10. Children 12 and younger $5. Donations benefit Hope for the Warriors. Click here for more information.

  • Lake Lure
  • At Lake Lure, bravery is rewarded with hot chocolate, cookies, and a bonfire. Win prizes for best costume, youngest and oldest plunger, participant who traveled farthest to take the plunge.

    Registration 10:30-11:30 a.m. Plunge noon. Admission $20. Spectators free. Donations benefit fire, EMS, and rescue squads of the Hickory Nut Gorge area. Visit their Facebook page for more details.

  • Surf City
  • Put on a costume and head to America’s largest New Year’s Day swim event. Founder Brian Moxey says it’s time to conquer your first challenge of 2014.

    Event begins at 11 a.m. Plunge noon. Roland Avenue Beach Access. Free admission. Donations benefit Hope for the Warriors. Click here for more information.

    January 11

  • Camp Lejeune
  • Gather a team of family and friends and plunge at Onslow Beach. Enter costume and sand castle building contests and enjoy music provided by DJ Finesse. Collect $100 or more to be eligible for “the big” door prizes.

    Registration 9-10:30 a.m. Plunge 11 a.m. Single admission $25. Teams of 8-20 $200. Donations benefit Special Olympics Onslow County.

    January 18

  • Roanoke Rapids
  • Plunging in a parking lot? Pools are not excluded from this winter tradition. You’ll be freezin’ for a reason in front of Key Fitness during this fundraiser for Special Olympics North Carolina.

    Registration noon. Plunge 2 p.m. Requested minimum donation $50. Click here for more information.

    January 25

  • Blowing Rock
  • Don’t let the potential for ice in Chetola Lake keep you away. As a part of Blowing Rock’s Winterfest, emcee John Carter will supply antics and some comic relief while you swim.

    Registration 9 a.m. Plunge 10 a.m. Admission $25. Half of the proceeds benefit local charities.

  • Clayton
  • Who would you like to see jump into a chilly pool in front of Zaxby’s this January? Vote online, and then come to Clayton to help Johnson County residents meet their fundraising goal.

    Plunge noon. Minimum donation $50. Donations benefit Special Olympics North Carolina. Click here for more information.

    February 22

  • Raleigh
  • Join members of the N.C. State Police Department as they take a quick dip into Lake Raleigh. Dry off and warm up while you enjoy music, prizes, raffles, and the bake sale.

    Registration 1 p.m. Plunge 2 p.m. N.C. State Centennial Campus. Minimum donation $50. Donations benefit Special Olympics North Carolina. Click here for more information.

  • Carolina Beach
  • Before you jump in, get warmed up during this 5K run and walk. The day will start with live music, food, and silent auction. Remember: No wetsuits allowed.

    Event begins at 11 a.m. 5K run and walk 2 p.m. Plunge 3 p.m. Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Donations benefit Special Olympics New Hanover County.

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