It's cold outside; time to go for a swim

January 25. 2017 2:02AM
The Lodges at Church Landing, Meredith 

It's Summer Somewhere

We normally consider swimming a summer pastime. We think of kids splashing around in the backyard pool, wading into the ocean, jumping off a dock into a lake, or visiting a nearby water park. If you have a pool at home, there are choruses of "is-the-pool-open-yet?" or "When-can-we-go-swimming?"

Fast forward to the frigid and "mom-I'm bored!" season and you'll be wishing that the little munchkins had a place to derail their runaway water-logged thoughts. This is the time of the year where you'll find that indoor pools - several of them located inside winter resorts or hotels - really can offer children (and adults) a place to (stay and) play. There are also fundraisers requiring swimmers to jump into the icy cold waters of the Atlantic or one of New Hampshire's many lakes.

Here are some suggestions on where to go during the winter to take a dip in some H2O.

As we noted above, there are some really great fundraisers during the winter that will make you want to dive into frigid water. The largest one is the Penguin Plunge. This one raises money for Special Olympics of New Hampshire and there are actually two separate events. The High School Plunge, for high schools and their students, takes place on Saturday, February 4 and pits schools against each other to raise the most moola for this wonderful cause. The following day, Sunday, February 5 is the "Penguin Plunge," an event that has been around for 18 years and is the largest annual fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics of New Hampshire. The Penguin Plunge attracts hundreds of hardy souls for a splash into the Atlantic Ocean from Hampton Beach. Visit Special Olympics of NH for information. This year's theme - that means come in costume if you dare - is "Under the Sea." You'll even have the chance to show off your costumes in a parade before the plunge.

In addition to the saltwater bath that is the Penguin Plunge, there are also fundraisers for the Special Olympics of New Hampshire for lake lovers. On Saturday, March 11, dippers will swim with the fish at the Margate Resort in Laconia. They'll be splashing in the waters of our state's largest lake, Lake Winnipesaukee, for the annual "Winni Dip." The enthusiasm at this event is just as exciting as the one at Hampton Beach. Now in its 9th year, the Winni Dip has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the Special Olympics of New Hampshire. In 2015 alone they raised $90,000. The community rallies around these events featuring teams of local police officers, broadcasters, businesses and schools. The Lake Winnipesaukee dip also has a High School Dip and a Middle School Dip that is held on Sunday, March 12. Make it rain, because you're going to get wet no matter what! Your heart will still be warm though. It's in the right place if you're participating in any of these events.

Kahuna Laguna is an indoor water park at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway. Your children will remember this one if you can kick the cabin fever to the curb and spend a weekend at New Hampshire's largest indoor water park. It’s 40,000 square feet of famiy fun with water slides, a giant 67,000-gallon zero-entry wave pool and a 25-person hot tub. The pool, which has a maximum depth of five feet, also has two waterfalls. The hot tub overlooks the rest of the water park, which also features a Little Kahuna Play Area for younger visitors, and a Kahuna Basketball Court. The Bamboo Bay Adventure Tower will keep you drenched with water cannons, slides, a rope bridge and a ginormous 175-gallon tipping bucket that will soak you when you least expect it.

It's impossible to compare a destination hotel such as the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort to any other hotel offering the likes of Kahuna Laguna to any other ordinary hotel pool, but the pool at the Hampton Inn and Suites (also in North Conway) is not ordinary. The 5,000 square foot indoor water park features two water slides and a wading pool for kids of all ages. That means you! 

The White Mountains region does have other locations where you'll find outdoor heated pools to enjoy year round. It's refreshing to step into a 92-degree pool, swim some laps, maybe leave some footprints in the snow, breathe in some brisk winter air, and slip into the even-more heated outside spa or jacuzzi. Where else can you find that? At the White Mountain Hotel and Resort in North Conway. Their outdoor heated pool and jacuzzi gives you a chance to relax in a secluded area and take in the views of White Horse and Cathedral Ledge.

Also in North Conway, you'll find the North Conway Hotel, adjacent to Settler's Green Outlets is a spectacular. This spectacular hotel is full of amenities that will make you feel cozy and comfortable. You'll find indoor and heated outdoor pools, separate saunas for men and women, an inviting lobby with overstuffed chairs and a crackling fire, and a state-of-the-art movie room with wide screen and surround sound, with comfortable leather sofas and chairs. The year-round outdoor pool has zero entry and interactive water features including Spray Jets and an 8-foot Raindrop.

If you'd rather take in views of a lake with mountains off in the distance, The Steele Hill Resort in Sanbornton and the Summit Hotel in Laconia. Both offer eye-popping vistas and lots of amenities. Steele Hill Resorts is a destination hotel that offers two indoor and two outdoor pools, a 9-hole Executive Golf Course, and hiking trails that turn into snowshoe trails in the winter months and more. The indoor pool is part of a 30,000 square foor amenities center with a glass atrium attached to make you feel like you are outdoors. The 45,000 gallon indoor pool features two slides, a mushroom waterfall and a roman spa. No matter how cold it is, you'll be drenched with sun inside this beautifully designed space. The Summit Resort in Laconia is a sister resort that offers spectacular views of Lake Winnipesaukee, and a pool with a slide, a waterfall, as well as a roman spa and sauna. You can't go wrong with either location. Bring your water babies, they will enjoy it too.
Indian Head Resort 

The outdoor heated pool at the Indian Head Resort in Lincoln is open year-round, making them one of the few locations in the state to offer year-round swimming (and a hot spa too)outdoors. It's really a unique spot where you'll have panoramic views from the pool itself including views of the "Indian Head," mountains and a small onsite lake that offers ice skating when the weather is right. Nothing says relaxation in the winter like a heated pool and spa. 

Attitash's Grand Summit Hotel in Bartlett is a spectacular resort and - after hitting the slopes all day - you might enjoy their year-round outdoor hot tub and swim-in, swim-out heated pool. It's the perfect mountain getaway and, while you may not consider swimming a winter activity, this one will make you think twice. Take a dip and feel the comfort of a heated pool under a night sky, alive with constellations or an endless blue sky during the daytime. 

There is nothing more romantic than sitting inside an indoor/outdoor pool overlooking the southern curve of Meredith Bay. The winter scene offers plenty of action in Meredith Bay. The charming, rustic lakeside retreat is for those who find their 'happy place' beside a lake - in this case, the famous Lake Winnipesaukee - surrounded by the warmth of various woods. The Lodges at Church Landing do not disappoint. The adult-only indoor/outdoor pools and spas are reminiscent of local boat houses, complete with paned arched exterior doors, painted wood decking and bead board walls and ceiling. It is, for the lake lover, simply perfection. 

To swim in the winter - from an invigorating dip into the ocean - to swimming in outdoor heated pools while gazing up at the stars above. At these locations and others, you can chill in the pool while peering out windows overlooking breathtaking views.

It may be winter but - before cabin fever sets in, it's time to get out of your comfort zone, take a weekend out to enjoy the benefits of being in the water during the winter - or any time of year.

OutdoorsTourismWinter tourismWinter FunWhite Mountains

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