CONEY ISLAND POLAR BEAR CLUB, BROOKLYN, N.Y.
The Coney Island Polar Bear Club, founded in 1903, these days attracts about 1,500 participants who kick off the New Year with a daring dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
L STREET BROWNIES, SOUTH BOSTON
In our backyard, upward of 700 swimmers jump into the frigid waters of Boston Harbor for the annual Jan. 1 plunge from the Curley Community Center. The Brownies, who started the event in 1904, are so named for their year-round tans.
MSP POLAR BEAR PLUNGE, ANNAPOLIS, MD.
The largest plunge in the country (pictured), hosted by the Maryland State Police as a fund-raiser for Special Olympics Maryland, is held later in January, this year on the 26th. In 2012, some 11,000 plungers jumped into the Chesapeake Bay, raising $2.6 million.
THE COURAGE POLAR BEAR DIP, OAKVILLE, ONT.
While polar bear plunges are a New Year’s Day tradition all across Canada, the Courage event on the shore of Lake Ontario has become the country’s biggest, with more than 700 dippers and thousands of onlookers. To date, nearly $1 million has been raised to support clean water projects through World Vision Canada.
NIEUWJAARSDUIK (NEW YEAR’S DIVE), SCHEVENINGEN, THE NETHERLANDS
As in Canada, New Year’s Day dips are held in dozens of communities across the Netherlands. The largest is in Scheveningen, a beach resort town near The Hague, where about 10,000 dive into the North Sea, many wearing sponsor Unox’s orange hats and gloves.