5 Spots to Beat the Heat & Back-to-School Blues this Weekend

Interns Robert & Marilyn clownin' around with Southern Exposure Film Fellow, Cai, on the Coosa below Jordan Dam. One of the 2016 Swim Guide sites!

How else to survive summer in Alabama than to jump in the water on the weekend?

It’s mid-August and (we hope) it’s about as hot as it’s going to get this summer. The water temperatures are also getting near the warmest they’ll be. It’s that time of late summer where jumping in a 90° lake doesn’t exactly cool you off the same way a swim did back in May. That means it’s time to head for the creeks where the tree canopy has kept those spring-fed beauties nice and cool! Here’s 5 spots you could check out this weekend where the water temperatures are still enough to make you say “ahhhhhhh…” In fairness to the awesomeness of each, we’re listing them north to south.

  1. Big Wills Creek. 75°. Located just outside Gadsden, Big Wills Outfitters is a full-service shop. You can rent kayaks for you and your crew, they’ll shuttle you up the creek a few miles and drop you off. Leisurely make your way back to their outpost and enjoy the cool water, air and sights along the way.
  2. Coldwater Creek. 68°. This is the spot to go if you have small children. The water is very shallow so you can’t really swim, but it is perfect for small kids to splash around. Here’s a Google Maps pin to the Coldwater Creek Memorial Park, an Oxford City Park.
  3. Choccolocco Creek. 79°. Choccolocco is the largest creek in the Coosa Valley and it is also remarkably scenic. You can put your own boat in and paddle up from the Hwy 77 boat ramp in Lincoln (Google Maps pin), or you can rent a tube from Floating Fun and get a shuttle for a nice float.
  4. Cheaha Creek. 69°. Like Coldwater Creek, Cheaha Creek is a tributary to Choccolocco Creek. At Talladega Creekside Resort you can rent kayaks and go for a good float. We tested the water here for 5 weeks as part of our 2017 Intensive Bacteria Study and the average temperature was just below 70°! Perfect for this weekend!
  5. Hatchet Creek. 82°. A true gem of the Coosa Valley hidden away in Coosa County. Near the end of the creek, at the Coosa Co Rd 29 bridge crossing there are two public parks for your enjoyment. The first is just across the bridge on the left and features a small but functional boat ramp (better for kayaks and canoes, although we’ve seen motor boats up to about 16′ be launched here). The second, larger park is just across the bridge and down the dirt road to the right and is more suitable for swimming with a sandy beach. From either, if you have a boat you can paddle upstream to the first shoal against a light current, or just swim around and enjoy the day.

We hope you’ll find a way to keep cool this weekend! Check our Swim Guide for all 20 of the recreation sites we monitor!

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