Beating the Heat in the South

So, if you’re from Texas or Alabama or Florida, you’ll probably be laughing at this blog post. If you’re from Tennessee, you’ll probably laugh at this blog post. Cripes. If you’re from Northern Illinois, you’re laughing at this blog post. You have to understand. I live in Wisconsin.  And not just anywhere in Wisconsin, along Lake Michigan. In central Wisconsin. It’s cold here. And we do actually have a summer for about six weeks, but it’s what the south would say is a cool summer. It takes some getting used to. But once you adjust, the heat of the south feels…like…unbearable. It’s so hot there. So hot. So how do you beat the heat of the south? And not just the heat, but the God awful humidity? Here’s how us northerners do it.

Pick the Right Time to Travel

First of all, pick when you go strategically. March through May is great in the south. But, if you’ve got kids, that leaves you with their spring break. I personally didn’t want to go in March because it’s not hot enough. If I’m going to drive 16 hours to be where it’s warm, it must be warm for sure. No possibilities for warm. It’s got to be warm. Because when you’re always cold, you really want to be warm sometimes. So, I wasn’t going to spend all that money and time chance-ing it. It needed to be undeniably warm. So, I had to travel when the boys and I are off for the summer and that left me with June. I don’t think I’d want to go to Charleston in July or August. That’s just too much. I knew I’d probably get pretty hot in June even, which we did. It was in the 90’s every day. But I think it would have been worse in July or August. We didn’t have any rain, though, so that was nice, because we were on the beach for hours every day. And I wouldn’t not want to be on the beach for hours every day.

Don’t Camp

Secondly, for God’s sake, no camping! My mom and her family went camping in July in Charleston. Bad move. It was miserable. Don’t do it. Get a vacation rental or hotel with air conditioning. It’s really the only option, especially if you’re accustomed to locations where a snow blower is a must have and you’ve actually experienced negative, double digits before. And, yes, I have. Just this past winter actually. I know it’s hard to believe. But it was actually warmer in Antarctica than it was in my town for about a week. I know, I know. I don’t know why I live here either.

Stay in the Shade

Third, stay in the shade. It’s the south, and they’re used to the hot and the humidity, so they have big trees and covered porches everywhere. We ate outside every chance we got, but it was doable because of the covered porches and big trees we used for shade. When we took a carriage ride, it was a covered carriage. When we went to the plantation…we walked on paths that had shade. Whenever you’re in the sun, you have about three minutes before you’re dripping buckets of sweat. So plan on being in the sun very little. And if you must, go early in the morning or early evening.

Go to the Beach

Fourth, go to the beach a lot. You can always take a dip in the water to cool yourself down, even though the water in June is like bath water. Not like the 50 degree temperatures you get in Lake Michigan in the summer. Also, the ocean breeze can really keep you cool. 

Take Bottled Water

Fifth, buy a bunch of bottled water and take a couple bottles with you wherever you go. I saved so much money on lemonades doing this one simple thing. The kids sucked that water like there was no tomorrow.

Yes, Pack a Sweater

I know it sounds crazy, but you might actually want to pack a sweater. Enter any building and it’s super cold because the air conditioning takes the humidity away. So, you might need a sweater if you go out to eat.

Park in the Shade

Park in the shade. If you don’t, air out your car and crank the air conditioning before you get in. And DO NOT for any reason, please, leave a child in the car for any amount of time alone. Or a pet. 

Don’t Plan on Exercising

I’m a runner. I run religiously every Tuesday and Saturday. I even run if I throw my back out. I didn’t run in Charleston. No way. No thank you. I’m actually encouraging you not to exercise right now. I saw people running up the steep bridges between Charleston and the beach. They are seriously crazy. The only thing I could think of is that they must be used to it like how a Coloradan adjusts to high altitude. I don’t know how they do it.

Well, that’s how we survived the heat. It was thirty degrees warmer there than it was in my town. The best feeling, though, is walking out of an air conditioned restaurant into the hot humid air. I actually miss that. It was so nice being warm at night when the sun went down. You aren’t ever warm at night here after the sun goes down. Ever. 

I would love to spend every January through June in Charleston. And I think I’ll make that my goal…for retirement. Be a snow bird. That would be the life…and the perfect amount of heat.

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