Four ways to cool off this summer

East Tennessee in the thick of summer can be an unforgiving sauna of high humidity and cloudless skies. Some days even a swimming pool won’t do. Fortunately, Knoxville has plenty of solutions to cure boredom, cool off and enjoy the lazy days of summer break. Instead of hibernating next to the air conditioning vents, consider these fun ways to beat the heat and stay cool throughout July.

Pelican’s SnoBalls

After graduating from Tennessee Tech, Jeb and Olivia Scoggins could’ve entered the workforce in a traditional way. Instead, they saw an opportunity and jumped on it. Knoxville’s first Pelican’s SnoBalls opened to the public in May 2017 and immediately enjoyed a hot, busy summer of serving more than 100 flavors of shaved ice to thirsty customers. There are the usual suspects — cherry and grape — but there are other flavors that don’t even come to mind until you read it on the menu, such as dill pickle and wedding cake.

“First-timers get overwhelmed,” says Jeb, “but you can come back all summer and not repeat a flavor. We also have stuffed SnoBalls that have ice cream in the middle.”

There isn’t air-conditioned indoor seating at Pelican’s SnoBalls, but part of the patio is covered and provides nice shade. Pelican’s SnoBalls is a family-friendly place to cool down with a sweet treat.

5900 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee, 865.247.6463

Billy Lush Boards & Brews

Stand-up paddleboarding may not be the first thing one thinks of when it comes to cooling off in the summer, but what if you paddled at night? Whether midday or under a full moon, paddleboarding on the Tennessee River is one way to keep cool — particularly if you take a dip in water and grab a pint of craft beer afterward.

“It’s easier than people think,” says Kenny Reed, who co-owns Billy Lush Boards & Brews with his wife, Angelina. “There’s a short learning curve, but we use large, stable boards. All of our equipment is down at the water, and our staff helps you on and tells you where to go. Then you have free reign.”

For weary ones, Paddle Board 101 is offered every Saturday morning, and for fitness fans, SUP Yoga is offered on Sunday afternoons.

900 Volunteer Landing Lane, Knoxville, Tennessee, 865.332.5874,

Knoxville Brew Tours

Four years ago Zack Roskop had an idea that would marry his love of Knoxville, its people and craft beer. After buying a used bus on Craig’s List and building a website, he opened Knoxville Brew Tours as the public’s backstage pass to local beer.

“Beer is humble, but it’s not simple. We work with 12 breweries and go to four at a time. We give fully guided brewery tours where the general public isn’t allowed. We don’t drop you off and come back later,” Zack says.

The tour focuses on the passion of brewing beer — what was its inspiration, what are its ingredients, what the process was from grain to glass. Zack created an experience unlike any other in Knoxville, and it’s a sure-fire way to keep cool on a hot summer night.


Splash Pads

Before your restless young child utters the words, “I’m bored” one more time, pack a lunch, grab a towel and head to the nearest splash pad. Explore one of eight area splash pads from Powell and downtown Knoxville to Farragut and Northshore. These zero-depth fountains of fun are perfect for children of all ages and generally open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., weather-permitting. Sunscreen is a must since there is little shade to be found at splash pads, and occasionally you may find a birthday party or two gathering nearby. Still, splash pads offer a family-friendly way to cool off when mid-summer cabin fever sets in.