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6 Places to Take the Plunge New Year’s Day

As far as strange holiday traditions go, the polar bear plunge is one of the oddest. Every New Year’s Day, thousands of people across the frozen wastelands of the Northern Hemisphere take a dip in icy waters. Whether they’re motivated by a winter-induced mania or a casual indifference to bodily harm, the results are the same: a spectacular display of human silliness. The practice isn’t just a chance to show off how macho you are; most plunges encourage participants to raise and pledge money to local charities. So, if you’d like to witness this event for yourself (or if you’re crazy enough to participate), here are six locations across the state (and nearby Massachusetts) where people are taking the plunge.

Penguin Plunge

Courtesy of Penguin Plunge Facebook

Every year hundreds head to Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett to take the plunge in support of Rhode Island’s Special Olympics. Participants are encouraged to raise 50$ for the more than 3,200 disabled folks who participate in the Special Olympics every year. Registration begins at 9:00 AM and the plunge takes place at noon. specialolympicsri.org

Newport’s Polar Bear Plunge

Courtesy of Newport Polar Bear Plunge Facebook

You may imagine colonial history and fine eating when you think of Newport, but it also has one of the state’s most popular polar plunges. At Easton Beach, participants gather to raise money for A Wish Come True which helps make sick children’s dreams a reality. Participants will be in the water at noon. www.facebook.com

 Plunging for Paws

Courtesy of Forever Paws Facebook

If you’re looking for an event that benefits your favorite furry four-footed friend, head to Sandy Beach in Fall River. All money raised goes  to the Forever Paws Animal Shelter, which cares for strays, abused animals and abandoned pets. Dive in for Fido at noon on January 1st.  facebook.com

Frozen Clam Obstaplunge

Courtesy of Obstaplunge’s Facebook

Is the normal polar plunge not hardcore enough for you? Try the Obstaplunge, an event that challenges you to do a half-mile obstacle course on Goddard Park Beach before reaching the finish line in the icy ocean. Hosted by Laid-Back Fitness, proceeds go to the RI Mentoring Partnership, a program dedicated to providing the state’s youth with quality guidance. laidbackfitness.com

Block Island

Courtesy of Block Island Tourism Council

Looking for an excuse to be back on island time? Every year, Block Island’s Lions Club hosts a polar plunge at Fred Benson Town Beach. Despite its balmy weather in summer, the island is no tropical paradise, so don’t expect its waters to be warm. As with most plunges, it takes place at New Year’s Day at noon. blockislandinfo.com

Jamestown 1st Day

Courtesy of Jamestown 1st Day Plunge Facebook

For water sports enthusiasts, Jamestown has a paddle board race before their polar plunge. Pre-registration begins at 10:30 at the Jamestown Recreation Center and the event continues from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at East Ferry Beach. It’s family-friendly, so feel free to bring the kids along! facebook.com

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