Hot Places to Stay Cool: 'Morning Show' anchors get back to nature

Want to beat the heat? Grab your paddle and head for the water

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – “The Morning Show” team has been looking local for hot places to stay cool this week. From indoor go-kart racing and bouncing off the walls and floors to flying high near the St. Johns Town Center, we have found some exciting ways to seek shade this week.

But now it's time to slow things down and get back to nature.

Beating the summer heat in northeast Florida or Southeast Georgia can be as simple as finding a body of water. Let's face it, that is an easy task. 

From coast to coast, with multiple rivers and lakes between, we have as many water bodies as we have mosquitoes.

RELATED: Morning Show's places you gotta go

Thanks to our temperate climate, paddle season is nearly all year long. Summer is, of course, the busy season and some normally quiet creeks and rivers become crowded as temperatures soar.

But our peaceful “three-hour tour” had us paddling our kayaks between San Jose and Mandarin along the preservation area of Goodbys Creek. Our journey started at Goodbys Creek boat ramp, which is free to launch from by the way.

A valuable lesson learned as a kid from many canoe trips with my parents is to have a break along the way. An oasis, so to speak, whether it's a sandy beach with snacks, an island with lots of shade or something fun for parents and kids.  

Since I was the captain of the kayaking journey, it should be of no surprise that our break, our “oasis,” was a locally owned microbrew. 

Wicked Barley can be accessed from Goodbys Creek by boat or from Baymeadows Road near San Jose Boulevard by wheel. 

I know what you are thinking, microbrew? Is it kid-friendly? Why, yes it is -- by design.

Brewmaster and Wicked Barley co-owner Philip Maple said he and the other owners wanted a place where parents could kick back with good food and drink while the kids spend some summer energy in a safe place where they can be easily supervised. Cornhole, Jenga XL and a shady, sandy play area are just steps away from picnic tables outside.

Tips for your adventure

Timing: Start early, cooler is better
Forecast: Plan ahead and bring sunscreen
Duration: Build time and distance with experience
Hydration: Pack plenty of water
Safety: Life jackets for everyone, stay together, stay visible
Electronics: Zip-top bags or dry bag for phones and keys
More info: Paddleflorida.net

After the paddle, you may have worked up an appetite. That's great, since Wicked Barley has an extensive menu for the “hangriest” of kids to the pickiest of eaters.

With a little planning, each trip on the water can be an adventure. Check with your friends and neighbors. Maybe they have a canoe or kayak you can borrow. If not, a quick internet search will help you locate rental areas and guided tours.

I hope you find amazing sunrises, beautiful sunsets, untouched and unpolluted stretches of water and a sense of peace while you explore our bountiful waterways.

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