Best New Year's Dips

Take the plunge! Ring in the New Year with an icy, refreshing dip in waters from Coney Island to Vancouver. Can’t make it for New Year’s? Plunges later in the month await, too!

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Blowing Rock Winterfest
Blowing Rock Winterfest

Blowing Rock Winterfest

Head to the mountains of North Carolina for the annual Blowing Rock Winterfest. This lively winterfest features a plunge into the icy waters of Lake Chetola, followed by the chance to warm up with hot chocolate and chili in downtown Blowing Rock. When: Late January 960 1280

Todd Bush Photography  

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

Run for your life! This group of New Year’s revelers rushes from the freezing waters of Vancouver’s English Bay. 2014 marks the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim’s 94th year, making it one of the largest and oldest clubs of its kind in the world. When: New Year's Day 960 1280

Reuters   

Courage Polar Bear Dip

Courage Polar Bear Dip

Courage, lads! Since its start in 1985, the annual Courage Polar Bear Dip in Oakville, Ontario, has become the largest polar bear dip for charity in Canada. Money raised supports clean water projects organized by the advocacy organization World Vision Canada. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Courage Polar Bear Dip  

Seattle Polar Bear Plunge

Seattle Polar Bear Plunge

They’re freezin’ for a reason. Plungers take to the waters off Seattle’s Matthews Beach for the city’s annual polar bear plunge. Now in its 12th year, the Seattle Polar Bear Plunge is one of 8 statewide plunges to benefit Special Olympics Washington. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

mordac, flickr   

Aruba New Year's Plunge

Aruba New Year's Plunge

In search of warmer climes to take the plunge? Head to Aruba for the Caribbean island’s annual Aruba New Year's Plunge. Hundreds of people gather at MooMba Beach for the “Unox Nieuwjaarsduik” (New Year’s plunge), which takes place at noon sharp. The event is open to everyone; no charge. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Aruba Daily Newspaper  

Coney Island Plunge

Coney Island Plunge

Cold enough for you? These 2 brave guys take part in the annual Coney Island Plunge organized by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, the oldest ice swimming club in the US. The yearly dip into the Atlantic begins at 1 p.m. sharp; afterward, if you’re still breathing, check out the famous Coney Island boardwalk. When: Jan. 1 960 1280

Getty Images  

Russian Orthodox Epiphany

Russian Orthodox Epiphany

In the name of the …wow, this water is cold! A Russian man celebrates the Russian Orthodox Epiphany with a dip in frigid waters. The age-old ritual commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, but we have a feeling the Jordan’s waters were a lot less cold. When: Mid-January 960 1280

Reuters  

Tybee Polar Plunge

Tybee Polar Plunge

Thousands of people flock to Tybee Island, near Savannah, GA, for the annual Tybee Polar Plunge plunge into the brisk waters of the Atlantic. Plungers register for a nominal fee, with proceeds going toward the historic Tybee Post Theater, built in 1930. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Tybee Polar Plunge   

Scotland's Loony Dook

Scotland's Loony Dook

Showing their white-and-blue Scottish pride, these 2 “loony dookers” take a dip in Scotland’s River Forth. The annual Loony Dook event in Scotland began in 1987 with a handful of participants; the event has since grown into a New Year’s rite of passage for thousands. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Lee Carson, flickr  

Baltimore PlungeFest

Baltimore PlungeFest

Holy moly, ma, Darth Vader’s not wearing any clothes under that cape! This wickedly cool plunger takes a dip in the Chesapeake Bay’s cold waters near Baltimore. The annual Baltimore PlungeFest kicks off in Annapolis, MD’s Sandy Point State Park, with proceeds going to Special Olympics Maryland. When: Late January 960 1280

Steve Ruark Photography  

Chicago Polar Plunge

Chicago Polar Plunge

Skip the clothes, grab a wig! Celebrate the New Year (and a good cause) with hundreds of revelers who dive into the icy waters of Chicago’s Lake Michigan in early spring. 2014 marks Chicago Polar Plunge’s 14th year, with proceeds going toward Special Olympics Chicago. When: Early March 960 1280

Grace Trivino, flickr   

Netherlands New Year's

Netherlands New Year's

Wearing colorful vestments, this man takes a dip in the waters off Scheveningen, a beachside resort town in the Netherlands. The annual event began in 1960, and attracts more than 10,000 people, who plunge into the icy North Sea on New Year’s Day. When: Jan. 1 960 1280

Reuters  

Plunge Into 2014  12 Photos

Walt Disney World Marathon
Walt Disney World Marathon

Walt Disney World Marathon

Kick off the New Year by earning your Disney medals! The annual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend unfolds in mid-January, with 4 days of events that include a 5K, 10K and half marathon. Here, Adriano Bastos of Brazil crosses the finish line to win the 20th annual marathon. See more ideas for where to travel in January. 960 1280

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Tournament of Roses Parade

Tournament of Roses Parade

Head to the granddaddy of all college bowl games this January. The famed Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, has been played annually since 1916. Cap off festivities with an even older tradition -- the annual Tournament of the Roses Parade, “America’s New Year Celebration” since 1895. 960 1280

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New Year's Plunge (Coney Island)

New Year's Plunge (Coney Island)

Go ahead, take the New Year’s plunge! Every year, since 1903, the Coney Island Polar Bear Club has taken a dip in the chilly Atlantic come New Year’s. All you need is a bathing suit (or wacky costume), plus a little suspension of disbelief that you are actually immersing yourself in ice-cold water in the dead of winter. 960 1280

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South Padre Island

South Padre Island

Coney Island’s waters too cold for you? Take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico at South Padre Island. With average water temperatures in the 50s and 60s this time of year, you can brave the annual South Padre Island Polar Bear Dip and still feel all your toes and fingers afterward. January is also a great time to stroll the Laguna Madre Nature Trail or go on a dolphin cruise. 960 1280

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North American International Auto Show (Detroit)

North American International Auto Show (Detroit)

New Year, new car! See what the leading automakers have in store at the annual North American International Auto Show. As one of the largest auto shows in North America, the annual event reveals brand-new, shiny offerings like the 7th-generation Chevrolet Corvette, the C7, (pictured), at Detroit’s Cobo Center. 960 1280

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Off-Season Pick: Florence, Italy

Off-Season Pick: Florence, Italy

Looking for a great off-season destination? Skip the crowds, and head to Florence, Italy. Sure, it’s one of the Tuscan city’s coldest months, so just pack a scarf; with hardly any tourists, you’ll have ample room to explore Florence’s sites and attractions like the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery. 960 1280

Thinkstock   

Mexico City in January

Mexico City in January

For an off-season pick closer to home, set your sights on Mexico City. January is one of the best months to visit, with thinner crowds and weather still warm enough for sightseeing. Explore any number of museums (the city is home to more than 170!), plus stroll the oldest park in North America and check out trendy neighborhoods like La Roma. 960 1280

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Year of the Snake (Chinatown, Boston)

Year of the Snake (Chinatown, Boston)

Ring in the Year of the Snake in Boston’s Chinatown. Right behind NYC and LA, Beantown’s Chinatown is the third-largest in the US, with roots stretching back to the 1880s. Pass through Boston Chinatown’s opening gate, flanked by 2 guardian lions on either side, and enjoy Cantonese cuisine served in small dishes at restaurants like Hei La Moon. 960 1280

Simon Law, flickr   

Learn-to-Ski-and-Snowboard Month

Learn-to-Ski-and-Snowboard Month

Did you know January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month? Hit the slopes in New York State, home to more than 50 ski resorts -- more than any other state in the country. Among the top draws is Whiteface Mountain; just a short drive from Lake Placid, the ski area offers diverse terrain for both beginner and expert skiers. 960 1280

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Grammys' Big Night in Los Angeles

Grammys' Big Night in Los Angeles

Didn’t get an invite to the Grammys this month? Don’t let that stop you from touring the City of Angels, especially anything to do with the Beatles this year. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles taking America by storm; while the Grammys will hold its own commemoration, tour sites like the Hollywood Bowl, where the Beatles performed 2 outdoor concerts. 960 1280

Thinkstock   

Yosemite’s Chefs’ Holidays: The Ahwahnee

Yosemite’s Chefs’ Holidays: The Ahwahnee

Take a tour of the Ahwahnee, the grand Yosemite National Park hotel that has hosted its share of famous guests through the years, from Walt Disney to Queen Elizabeth II. Visit this January for the annual Yosemite’s Chefs’ Holidays, and embark on a Northern California cooking adventure. 960 1280

Kenny Karst/DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc.  

Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival

This January marks the 31st anniversary of the Sundance Film Festival. The American film fest, held annually in Park City, UT, showcases dozens of films. There’s still time to book with the festival’s official carrier, Southwest Airlines; meanwhile, no registration is required for individual tickets to the festival in 2015. 960 1280

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National Cheese Lover’s Day (Vermont)

National Cheese Lover’s Day (Vermont)

Don’t let New Year’s be the one day you celebrate this month; pencil in time for National Cheese Lover’s Day, too. Jan. 20 marks a very special day for cheese gourmands everywhere. Celebrate with a trip to Vermont, home to cheesemakers since the 1800s, and let this Vermont cheese trail map be your guide. 960 1280

iStock   

MLK Day of Service

MLK Day of Service

Celebrate the life of the civil rights leader during the MLK Day of Service. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., hundreds of nonprofits and volunteer centers nationwide observe the federal holiday, named in King’s honor back in 1983, as a day of giving back to local communities and shelters. Grab a hammer and lend a hand. 960 1280

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Elvis Presley's Birthday

Elvis Presley's Birthday

Celebrate the life of another King: On Jan. 8, 1935, Elvis Presley was born in a 2-room house in Tupelo, MI. This month, Elvis’s Graceland estate hosts a 3-day-long birthday celebration. Rise bright and early for the Elvis Birthday Proclamation Ceremony on Graceland’s North Lawn, and stay for the birthday-cake cutting. 960 1280

Ed Schipul, flickr   

Aspen's Winterskol Fest

Aspen's Winterskol Fest

Raise a toast to winter in Aspen’s annual Winterskol fest. The winter tradition is more than 60 years strong, and was started by a lodge owner who wanted to enliven the Aspen winter season following Christmas. Today, the 4-day winter fest includes a snow sculpture competition, a soup cook-off and a downhill race, with apple strudel at the finish line. 960 1280

Aspen Chamber Resort Association