1. Natural Places to Soak
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Some people will describe the best way to beat the 110+ degree heat in Texas is a chemical-laden pool. I had more than my fair share of pool parties growing up, and the cool water is certainly a welcome refuge from the sun. But our state has so many more ways to cool off that are almost as accessible as your friend’s backyard. Float the river with a case of Shiner. Jump into Barton Springs. Go tubing on Lake Texoma.
2. Theme Parks
Parks like Six Flags are better for sweating than cooling off, but Texas still has a great assortment of water parks. Schlitterbahn – if a non-Texan pronounces this correctly the first time, he’s German – is a Texas original, as is Hurricane Harbor.
3. Turn off the AC
Granted, if you’re elderly or young, definitely be concerned about heat stroke when you’re inside and the house is an oven. I maintain that a lot of the reasons people complain about the heat isn’t due to it being so hot – sometimes it is – but that there’s such a sharp contrast between inside and outside. If you’re maintaining your home at 70 degrees and step outside to 115, you’ll find it unbearable and scurry back inside. Use a fan instead.
4. Cycle until you die
The Hotter’N Hell Hundred has been a Texas tradition since 1982. Thousands of Texans gather near Wichita Falls in August to cycle one hundred miles in some of the most brutal heat the state has to offer. This may not help anyone beat the heat, but I can guarantee the temp afterward will always feel cooler.
5. Divide your friends into different groups
Most of the year you might have your work friends, your childhood friends, your sports friends, and your gamer friends. Summers in Texas adds in different priorities. Now you’ve got your drinking friends, your swimming friends, and your stay-inside-all-day friends.
6. Always park in the shade
Easy lesson to learn if you forget the first time.
7. Embrace Texas fashion
No, I don’t mean cowboy boots and flannel shirts. When even the nights are in the mid-to-high 80s, you’ll see Texans heading out on a Saturday night in cargo shorts and flip flops.
8. Laugh until the heat is funny
Honestly, it is so hot in Texas in July and August it’s almost funny. Mark Twain never really said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” but you can bet if famous literary figures had spent their days in the hill country instead of the parts of the US responsible for their inspiration, things would have turned out a little differently. Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” would become “To Buy a Ticket North.” Henry David Thoreau would have said, “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion – unless that pumpkin wasn’t in the shade.”