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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Editor’s note: This list first appeared in Our State’s January 2014 issue. It has been updated for 2015. 

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 Carteret County Humane Society. 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 Ocean Cure. Click here for more information.

January 10

  • 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 24

  • 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. Proceeds benefit local charities.

February 21

  • 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 11 a.m. Plunge 12 p.m. N.C. State Centennial Campus. Entry fee $50. Donations benefit Special Olympics North Carolina. Click here for more information.

  • Apex 

Join the Apex Police Department as it holds its first annual polar bear plunge.

Registration 11 a.m. Plunge 12 p.m. Shepherds Vineyard Pool. Entry fee $25. Donations benefit Special Olympics of North Carolina. Click here for more information.

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One Response to Where to Take the Polar Plunge in North Carolina

  1. There’s another Polar Plunge near Waynesville, NC.

    On January 31st, 2015, Haywood Waterways Association and Lake Junaluska Assembly are hosting the “3rd Annual Polar Plunge Benefit-t-t-ting Kids in the Creek & Youth Education”. The Polar Plunge is a community event, bringing together public officials, schools, businesses, churches, and many others to support kids. The cost is $25 or FREE by raising sponsorships; 100% of the proceeds benefit Haywood Waterways’ youth education programs. There will be a bonfire and all plungers receive a FREE t-shirt and lunch. The depth of plunge is a personal choice – from a wade up to the ankles to a full immersion jump off the dock. Costumes are welcome. Prizes are awarded for best costumes and the top fundraisers in the individual, school team, and community team categories. Donate or become a Plunger by “Joining the Team” at or contacting Haywood Waterways to request a registration packet (828-476-4667, Walk-ins and all ages welcome. Event sponsors are being sought for this popular event.

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