Two official Polar Plunges will take place on Jan. 1 – one in Manzanita and one at Cape Lookout.

Don those silly swimsuits

Ring in the New Year with a quick dip in the frigid Pacific Ocean as Manzanita and Tillamook celebrate with their annual Polar Plunge.

In what is becoming a local crowd favorite winter activity, the Polar Plunge started enticing the adventurous spirit of those brave enough to take a dip into the off-seasonal ocean waters around Tillamook County.


“Last year we had around 100 participants even though the weather was horrible,” said Kelly Benson, event organizer with Tillamook YMCA. “It was sleeting when we were driving to Oceanside, eventually the sun broke out and there was a rainbow during the event. It was awesome.”

According to Benson, this is the first year the Tillamook-centric event will be taking place at Cape Lookout State Park. Traditionally, the Polar Plunge has been held in Oceanside. Benson mentioned that due to the event’s overall popularity, the Rangers at Cape Lookout State Park have decided to waive the regular day-use fee they usually ask people to pay when using their facilities.

The plunge will begin at 8 a.m. on New Years Day (Monday) at the Day-Use area of Cape Lookout State Park, 13000 Whiskey Creek Rd. Hot chocolate, coffee, cider and treats will be provided as well as bonfires made by the Rangers at the State Park to help everyone warm up after the frigid frolicking.


In addition to the event being held at Cape Lookout, there is also a Polar Plunge planned for Manzanita as well.

“It started as one of the goofiest things, it was just myself and a handful of friends,” said Janice Gaines, event organizer and Spa Manzanita owner, said. “Since then it’s turned into a pretty large event; but one: I’m happy to do.”

According to Gaines, over the years she’s been asked to use the event as a source of fundraising, or a way to build awareness for various causes. However Gaines feels the event shouldn’t be used to garner anything other than on old-fashioned family fun time on the beach.

“I started doing this about 12 years ago and it’s just grown ever since,” said Gaines. “Last year, we had about 500 people and roughly 300 of them took the plunge.”

This year, the Polar Plunge in Manzanita is actually taking place at Neahkahnie Beach, just one mile north of Manzanita along the waterfront. Parking is limited, however, plungers can park in the neighborhood above the area.

The plunge will begin at 11 a.m. so it’s suggested to get there a little early. Costumes are encouraged and all ages are welcome. In addition, participants can also visit Spa Manzanita afterward for a special Polar Plunge discount.


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