21 Aug 2014
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5 Cheap Ways to Stay Cool

As July 4th approaches, here are five ways to find relief from the summer's heat.

5 Cheap Ways to Stay Cool 5 Cheap Ways to Stay Cool

Surely, this is a misprint: 106 degrees?

That's the predicted high temperature for Saturday, according to the Weather Channel, giving many of us a blistering start to our Fourth of July vacationing.

The Weather Channel goes on to forecast highs of 104 Friday and 102 Sunday — it's been five years since we've seen that kind of heat.

So, Patch wants to help you cool off without burning a hole in your wallet.

Below is a list of five ways around Gwinnett County to cool off for free or a small fee as the summer heat turns up.

Share your ideas in the comment box below.

1. Water Fountains

Every city needs one of these, right? ,  and  already have downtown water fountains in which local kids can splash around all day (and with this weekend's heat, you may find some parents in there, too).

, resides in Suwanee's large Town Center Park. It has 43 jets and uses around 1,400 gallons of recycled water per minute. Opens at 10:30 a.m. daily.

area features a 70-foot-wide water fountain that's adjacent to expansize lawn areas and the tree-covered Taylor Park, which has picnic tables and a play area. Opens at 10 a.m.

in Norcross is a three-level fountain and waterfall that leads to a splash pool. Open at 10 a.m.

Don't forget the interactive fountain at Mall of Georgia, located on the Village Pavilion side of the mall. Adjacent to the air-conditioned building is a plus. Opens at 10 a.m.

2. The 'Hooch

Because the water that feeds the Chattahoochee River through Atlanta comes from the depths of Lake Lanier, the water temperature is much cooler, usually in the 70s (which is one reason trout can live in the river).

Check out parks all along the river, especially the two managed by Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, which don't require a user fee to enter — and .

As always on this stretch of the river, the water level can fluctuate and create dangerous water conditions when power is generated at Buford Dam. So heed the warnings posted in many places.

If you don't mind paying a user fee, there is plenty of access to the river and Lake Lanier through National Park and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers parks.

3. Go Shopping

OK, so we know it's hard to go shopping and not spend money, but malls are always air-conditioned.

Check out Discover Mills mall in the Lawrenceville-area, where you can, in fact, not spend a dime. The mall is set up as an indoor oval, which will give you an easy way to get some walking exercise in. Add a stop in at Bass Pro Shops, where there's a large fish aquarium, staffed animals and other interesting things to see.

The Mall of Georgia's size (and, of course, its interactive water fountain) is good for a cool stroll, too.

At any mall, you can plop yourself on a bench and stay cool while you people-watch.

4. Movie Marathon

It's OK if you want to stay indoors at home while the sun bakes your fescue lawn. It might be a good time to watch those Harry Potter, James Bond or even Three Stooges DVDs you've always thought you would watch more often, but just haven't.

If you need to get out, try the cheap-seat theaters like the 10 in Lawrenceville or the in the Santa Fe Mall in Duluth. The movies aren't first-run, but starting at about $2, they may be worth a visit this time of year.

5. Pool Time

Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation runs nine pools/aquatics centers in the county, all located within a short drive of most residents.

Expect large crowd throughout the summer, and especially, during heat waves, but at $3 to $5 ($6 to $10 for non-Gwinnett residents), it's a good value.

If you want to avoid the sun, try the indoors pools at the following aquatics centers: and in Lawrenceville, Bogan Park in Buford, in the Norcross area and in the Lilburn area.

Do you have your own cheap way to stay cool during the summer? Tell us in the comments below.

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