Fun Ways to STAY COOL in Chapel Hill!

Even in the midst of this unusually HOT heat wave (105 degrees!), there are still lots of fun things to do in Chapel Hill and the NC Triangle! Here are just a few ideas.

Our kids cooling off at the creek (Hiking trail at NC Botanical Gardens – a woodland paradise just a few minutes from University Mall!)

1. Creek Stomping at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens hiking trails; wonderfully SHADY and a quiet woodsy paradise in the heart of Chapel Hill. (Just off 15-501; parking area at Mason Farm Rd. and surrounding streets.) Scroll down to the bottom of this post for more creek stomping images.

2. Go on an outing to the Chapel Hill Public Library at University Mall; choose from a wonderful selection of books, picture books and movies. (Both children’s selections and a selection of movies for grown-ups).

3. Enjoy LOCOPOPS hand-crafted, gourmet popsicles near Whole Foods on S. Estes in Chapel Hill — YUMMY! Locopops is more of a social outing than just a frozen treat. They have lots of comfortable Adirondack chairs in the air-conditioned Locopops shop for hanging out and lollygagging on a HOT Chapel Hill Summer Day! Delectable flavors include Mexican Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, Chocolate Brownie, Strawberries and Cream, Pomegranate Tangerine, Cherry Lime, Mojito, Mango Chile … (Locopops also has locations in Durham and Raleigh, NC)

4. Take the gang out to the cool, air-conditioned movies without spending a fortune: Movies at the Blue Ridge Carmike in Raleigh (near the NC Fairgrounds) are only $2.00 a ticket, all shows, all times! Located at 600 Blue Ridge Road  Raleigh, NC 27606. (919) 828-8007.  Sometimes before or after movies at the Blue Ridge we drive a few minutes for dinner or lunch at Fat Daddy’s in Raleigh – burgers, veggie burgers with a GREAT build-your-own burger bar with fresh lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions, pickles, THE WORKS, in a fun, easy-going festive atmosphere. It feels a bit like a 1950’s soda shoppe, in modern garb. Fat Daddy’s is located at 6201 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, North Carolina 27612. (919) 787-3773.

Meadowmont Swimming Pool Chapel Hill NC YMCA5. Go for a swim at the beautiful Meadowmont Swimming Pool in Chapel Hill! Relax on a beach chair in the shallow end of the beach-design pool, with your feet in the cool water, and cool off under the umbrella sprinkler in the shallow end. Kids and adults have a great time zipping down the giant, twisty water slides. Meadowmont also features an olympic size lap pool (in addition to the beach pool),  a volleyball court, and a play ground, as well as an air-conditioned snack bar area. You can swim for the day or purchase a season pass. The Meadowmont Pool now is run by the YMCA, so that if you purchase a YMCA membership, you can opt for a membership that includes a Meadowmont Pool membership as well.  For more public swimming pool options, the Town of Chapel Hill has several indoor swimming pools and an outdoor pool with open swim hours. Town of Chapel Hill Pool Schedules.

Maple View Ice Cream6. Go for a family drive to Maple View Ice Cream in Hillsborough (Dairyland Rd.) for delicious, nationally acclaimed and locally made  ice-cream (the farm is literally across the road)! There are lots of rocking chairs on the expansive front porch, where you can enjoy your ice cream and gaze upon the beautiful farm land surrounding you in all directions and the Maple View dairy cows in the distance. A CLASSIC local tradition! (It’s so much fun to meet new people there and run into old friends. Everyone loves Maple View for a reprieve from the heat!)

7. Cool off in the BRAND NEW NC Museum of Life and Science (NCMLS) permanent activity/exhibit, INTO THE MIST, a Mist Zone Play Garden featuring a misty rolling landscape, misting tunnels, Rain Tree, gopher tunnels to crawl through, sand sculpture area, and lots of impromptu rainbows! (See Into the Mist Youtube clip.) In addition to acres of outdoor fun, the NC Museum of Life and Science offers endless INDOOR (AIR-CONDITIONED) fun things to do, learn, experience, and play inside the spacious museum, including high-tech weather, science, and multi-media exhibits, hands-on, man-on-the-moon/NASA exhibits, fun play areas (with elaborate ball runs and games), a huge Kapla blocks building area, and a mini-indoor-zoo featuring all kinds of amazing animals and critters.Then head over to the Butterfly House to check out gorgeous butterflies, and exhibits featuring fascinating insects of all kinds. The NC Museum of Life & Science is a great outing in any kind of weather thanks to the wonderful indoor and outdoor exhibits with SO MANY FUN THINGS to do and experience.

8. Enjoy a shady respite from the heat on the banks of the Eno River. There are numerous parking areas at the Eno River State Park in Durham, NC; we enjoy visiting all of the different hiking areas – it’s hard to choose a favorite hiking path! Most of all it’s nice to relax in the shade while the kids splash around in the shady river areas. Our kids have great fun at the Eno River: no bells and whistles required. Just kids + shady Eno River + discovering rocks & critters & other treasures = endless SUMMER FUN! Our kids never want to leave. Bring a picnic lunch and a picnic blanket. It’s still HOT, but so much nicer in the shade with the cooling breeze by the river.

Eno River State Park water mill.
Avery creek stomping in the shady creek at the NC Botanical Gardens (hiking trail).
Avery at the NC Botanical Gardens


Little Dylan at the creek (NC Botanical Gardens hiking trail).

MORE COOL FUN ideas coming soon … meanwhile we’re off to have more Summer Fun in Chapel Hill!