Researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, for example, conducted a review of 35 quantitative studies that each addressed potential benefits of exposure to lakes, rivers and the sea, also known as outdoor “blue spaces.”
Published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, the review established the “balance of evidence suggested a positive association between greater exposure to outdoor blue spaces and both benefits to mental health and well-being and levels of physical activity.”
Of course, you can also skip all the science and just focus on how fun it is to be in, on or near cool water in the sweltering months.
Need ideas? Here are five ways to plunge into aquatic adventures in or near Atlanta this summer:
River rafting near Blue Ridge
The small town of McCaysville, about an hour and a half from Atlanta, is the gateway to an Olympic class whitewater rafting adventure. Rolling Thunder River Co. guides and outfits folks for half- or full-day trips of rafting on Class III and IV rapids. Gather your most adventurous friends to fill six-person rafts. The experience is a rush, in every sense of the word.
Not an adrenaline junkie? They also provide more sedate raft options on other parts of the river, suitable for children and those who like to be out on the water without all the heart-racing excitement.
Chestatee River Adventures tubing
Whether you’ve never gone or it’s been far too long, the summer of 2023 is a great time to take up tubing. One option is a budget and family friendly float down the Chestatee River in Dahlonega. Available from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, it’s a simple outing if you’re still getting the hang of getting out and about post-pandemic. And the price is right — $5 each for unlimited floating, walking back up and floating through again. If you’re considering bringing the whole family, keep in mind the minimum age is 4.
Callaway Resort and Gardens lake course zip line
This adventure takes place above the water, on the lake course that’s part of Callaway Resort’s self-guided, in-air obstacle course. After tips and safety measures from an experienced guide, participants take off on their own to soar over the gardens and Robin Lake, sometimes reaching heights of 70 feet.
The challenges include netting, ladders and some other ingeniously placed suspended surfaces.
This might be just the thing for a group from work, or for getting to know your extended family again post-quarantine. Afterward, consider taking a dip at the resort’s Robin Lake Beach.
Wolf Tail water slide at Great Wolf Lodge
Included in a day pass to the indoor water park at Great Wolf Lodge, this slide includes a 20-foot free fall and 360 degree loop. The park in LaGrange, about an hour outside Atlanta, offers more tame activities, too, like splash pads and tubing. The indoor option is handy if you don’t want too much sun exposure or missed the window when outdoor water parks are open in the summer.
Indian Springs State Park
Within Butts County, about an hour from Atlanta, this leisurely state park offers soothing aquatic opportunities. Its spring waters were a revered part of indigenous heritage and once drew people to a resort there. Today, you can sip them from a spring house built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. More active pursuits include wading in Sandy Creek or renting an aquacycle, kayak or jon boat. For a pleasant pause in the cool indoors, visit the onsite museum that documents the springs from the times of the Muskogee-Creeks. If you want to tarry longer than a day, the state park also offers cottage and campsite reservations.