It may be the dog days of summer, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the outdoors. Here are our favorite ways to beat the heat this summer!

Splash Pads

The kids will have a great time running around and staying cool at one of the splash pads at Evans Towne Center Park...

...or the Evans Library Park...

or our newest addition, the mega splash pad at Gateway Park in Grovetown.

Clarks Hill Lake

One of the best ways to beat the heat is to head to Clarks Hill Lake, where you can enjoy 1,200 miles of unspoiled shoreline and 71,000 acres of freshwater fun. Activities on Clarks Hill Lake include:

Boating…Bring your own or rent one from Clarks Hill Marina.

Perhaps jet-skiing is more your style? Rentals are available at Keg Creek Water Sports.

Swimming- Put your toes in the sand at one of the many beaches on Clarks Hill. Beach Access at the following parks: Lake Springs, Mistletoe State Park, Petersburg Park, Pointes West Army Resort, West Dam Park and Wildwood Park.

Serene18 Paddle Trail

Canoeing, Kayaking and Paddle Boarding are among the most popular activities in Columbia County and with good reason. Discover three different bodies of water as you paddle the many routes that make for an amazing day on the water. And if you didn't have enough reason to cool down on a kayak, the Serene18 Paddle Trail makes it even more fun!

Complete the following four routes and have the official passport and stamped. Once you've received all four stamps, you'll get a FREE t-shirt!

Augusta Canal- Meander down the current and past historic landmark of the historic Augusta Canal. This route begins at the Augusta Canal Headgates and ends in downtown Augusta.

Clarks Hill Lake- Witness the awesome power of water and the genius of engineering while you paddle from Wildwood Park to the massive Clarks Hill Dam

Betty's Branch- Relax on this easy but beautiful tributary of the Savannah River. This route is known for beautiful flora and fauna as well as unique wildlife.

Stallings Island- Paddle through the “99 Islands” to famous, Stallings Island. Stallings Island is a National Landmark as it was the site where the oldest known Native American Pottery was discovered. Due to the delicate nature of the site, no one is allowed on the island. But the trip is worth your time for a photo op with one of the resident donkeys placed there by the Archaeological Conservancy to maintain vegetation. This route is offered through guided tours.

Below Dam- The J. Strom Thurmond dam was featured in the Hunger Games Movies, and some of the best views of the best Dam views are along this route! However, this puppy packs a little heat! It's a 7-mile hydro glide with beautiful views of the Savannah River and ending at Riverside Park. Shuttle Service is available through Outdoor Augusta.

Kayak rentals and guided tours are available through, Cole Watkins Tours, Keg Creek Watersports, Outdoors Augusta and Savannah River Kayak Rentals.