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The New Year's Day Lake George Polar Plunge - Take a New Year's Day Swim!

Be a Part of This Epic Lake George Tradition

Please note, this event has been cancelled for 2021.

Every year, hundreds of people gather on the frosty shores of Lake George for a daring New Year's Day swim known as the Polar Plunge. That tradition continues this New Year's Day at Shepard Park Beach where about 1,000 or more participants are expected to take part in the Lake George Polar Plunge.  

people at polar plunge

The annual Lake George Polar Plunge has been a popular tradition for years, occuring on the "First Day" in Lake George.

Over a thousand people crowd Shepard Park Beach in their swimming trunks and bikinis for the event, shivering and dancing around to stay warm before the countdown to the big plunge. Then, all at once, they rush into the bone-chilling waters for a New Year's polar bear swim!

Shepard Park Beach is located on Canada Street in Lake George Village.

Check Out Tips & Reminders

Lake George will be very cold this time of year, so it's best to be prepared for the Polar Plunge:

  • Pack a towel and water shoes
  • Wear your swimsuit under your clothes
  • Bring easy to get into warm clothes (and shoes!) for after the Plunge
  • For your own safety, never dive into the water
  • Bring a plastic bag for wet clothes, and somewhere to store your dry clothes
  • Bring along a disposable, waterproof camera
  • Have fun!

Read Up on What to Expect

Wondering what it's like? Winter in Lake George is no mild climate, so the waters are frigid and just barely above freezing temperature. In some years, there has even been a thin film of ice to swim through. It is cold!

Most take the plunge and hurry back to the shore for dry land and fluffy towels, but there are others who seem to be true polar bears at heart! Surprisingly, many will actually stay in the freezing cold water and swim around a while. Whether it's merely a show for their friends or the water simply doesn't feel as cold to them, these daring swimmers take polar plunging to a whole new level!

If you still have doubts about how chilly it can be, we've posted a Lake George Polar Plunge video below. You can watch the participants' reactions and listen to their excited shrieks and screams as the icy winter water stings their skin.

Get the details on the upcoming Lake George Winter Carnival »

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