Polar Plunges are Annual California Events


California Polar Plunges

Polar Plunge events can be exhilarating, but they also may offer challenges due to the extreme cold conditions you may subject your body to. Here are some tips for preparing for this time-honored event.

AVALON: Polar Bear Intermediate to Advanced 1 Mile Swim  January 1, 2024, 7:30 a.m.
Presented by City of Avalon at Casino Point Drive
1 Casino Way
Avalon, CA
(310) 510-0220

AVALON: Polar Bear Plunge January 1, 2023, 11:30 a.m.
Presented by City of Avalon
Middle Beach, The Green Pier
Avalon, CA
All ages & abilities welcome! family fun - just plunge or swim the pier with us. Hot chocolate & light refreshments served. Please contact the City of Avalon Recreation Department for more details: cityofavalon.com

BAKERSFIELD: Polar Plunge January 1, 2023
more info

BURBANK: Burrr-bank Polar Plunge December 3, 2022, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Free event for all ages. Location: Verdugo Aquatic Facility, 3201 W. Verdugo Ave. burbankca.gov

CAMARILLO: Polar Bear Plunge January 1, 2023, 9-11 a.m.
Pleasant Valley Aquatic Center
1030 Temple Ave
Camarillo, CA
$5/person approx., pvrpd.org/polar-bear-plunge
Join a brisk walk/run through the park with an icy plunge into the pool followed by hot cocoa on the pool deck. For ages 5+.  P  Register Early, Limited spaces Location: Bob Kildee Community Park & P. V. Aquatic Center $5-6.25, Ages: 5-up, pvrpd.org

LIVERMORE: Livermore Area Recreation & Park District Polar Bear Plunge 2022
January 7, 2022, 11:30 a.m. 
Robert Livermore Aquatic Center
4448 Loyola Way
Livermore, California 94550
Phone: 925-373-5700  larpd.org/
Livermore Area Recreation & Park District 

Challenge yourself to take the plunge like a polar bear! Be one of the first in 2023 to plunge down the slide into the ice-cold catch pool. Once you’re done, enjoy a nice cup of free hot cocoa. *Participants are required to wear proper swimming attire and be at least 48 inches to participate. Free to the public; must preregister to participate.

CAYUCOS: Cayucos Pier January 1, 2023
more info

HUNTINGTON BEACH: Huntington Beach Pier January 1, 2023
more info 

RANCHO CORDOVA: Rancho Cordova Polar Bear Plunge January
more info

SAN FRANCISCO: Union Square Polar Bear Skate January 1, 2023
more info: Online bookings are required this year.

SAN PEDRO: San Pedro - Cabrillo Beach January 1, 2023
more info

Socal Special Olympics Polar Plunges


Big Bear Polar Plunge Saturday, March 4, 2023 

Special Olympics NorCal


Jump in!
Polar Plunge season is open! There are several Plunge dates and locations in 2023. New this year for San Francisco are 5K/10K timed runs; and for the Greater Sacramento Polar Plunge an added 5K trail run.

All funds raised from the Polar Plunge  support Special Olympics'  programs in sports, health, education and athlete leadership  provided free of charge to athletes and families!

Santa Cruz
February 25, 2023
Rio Del Mar Beach
San Francisco 5K/10K & Polar Plunge
March 4, 2023
Aquatic Park
Greater Sacramento
March 11, 2023
Folsom Lake, Browns Raven
March 18, 2023
Millerton Lake
Tuolumne County
February 25, 2023
Lake Tulloch
Lake County
February 25, 2023
Lakeside County Park
Fort Bragg
March 4, 2023
Dolphin Isle

Siskiyou County
April 1, 2023
Lake Shastina Community Center
April 1, 2023
Doran Beach at Bodega Bay

Polar Plunges find their roots in the Nordic ice swimming that is so popular during the winter. California's winter polar plunge experiences seem cold enough with ocean temperatures dipping a slow as 50 degrees, and mountain temps at the lakes during the winters reaching freezing.

While there aren't as many January 1st polar plunges as there used to be, the Special Olympics several years ago began organizing polar plunge events as fund-raising efforts that are usually held February through March in cities throughout California where sponsors form teams.

Many sources credit the Coney Island Polar Bear Club (formed in 1903) as being the oldest club in the nation, but San Francisco's Dolphin Club (formed in 1877) has been swimming in its bay on a regular basis much longer. The club's swims tend toward the serious side for athletically-fit individuals. Coney Island Polar Bears do it for fun and they only meet and swim on Sundays during the winter months, unlike the Dolphin Club that meets and swims regularly in the Pacific Ocean throughout the year.

A younger club that engages the public in its annual swim on January 1st is Cabrillo Beach Polar Bears (formed in 1945). A king & queen are crowned to reign over the beach swims all year long.


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