By Nathan Smith

Forget frying eggs on the sidewalk. This week, I saw a pan of cookies baking on the dash of my friend’s car. Summer temperatures in this state can wilt even the toughest Texan. Last year, just the thought of going outside any time after noon broke a sweat on my forehead.

The heat is on, and it’s likely to stay awhile. Luckily, there are ways to beat the summer heat this year. If you plan to be outside, either for work or play, don’t forget the basics when it comes to health and safety. Here are seven ways to beat the Texas summer heat:

7. Don’t blow hot air. Whether it’s a tractor or a Tuscan-style mansion, your AC could likely use some TLC. If it’s been awhile since your air conditioning unit has seen a flashlight, take a look around and make sure to always replace the filters.

6. Send your oven on vacation. Nothing can warm a house up like a juicy roast sweltering for hours in the oven. The weather is warm, so try a quick dinner on the grill or go for something simple and cool from the fridge. Another reason to eat your greens this summer is to avoid that sluggish feeling brought on after a greasy, heavy meal. Swap the fat for vegetables and fruit that are filled with water and will work to keep you cool.  

5. Eliminate drying time. I remember helping my grandma hang up clothes in her backyard on the line. People have dried their clothes for centuries that way. Opting for the old-fashioned route to dry your duds is a good way to cut down on electricity and heat-flow through your house.

4. Loosen up. Tight fitting clothing will trap heat and moisture, preventing airflow. If you are outside, go with the light fabrics, like cotton. There’s even a chance a fellow Texan grew the cotton that made your shorts or dress. Don’t forget the hat!

3. Time it right. At the peak of Texas summer heat, there is hardly a good time to be outside. If you must be outside, try to get your work and play done in the mornings and evenings. Skip the hottest part of the day—your body will thank you later.

2. Chill out. As a kid battling the West Texas summer heat, popsicles were among my favorite weapons. Not crazy about all the sugar in store-bought popsicles? You can make your own with fruit juice. 

1. Hydrate much and hydrate often. It’s all about hydration. Keep water handy at all times when working or playing outside. More than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year for dehydration. Heat exhaustion is no laughing matter either, and once it hits you, it’s likely to return with a vengeance.


Texas is among the hottest spots in the country, but if you’re looking for a cool getaway, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has some great ideas, too. Best of luck to you in your quest for shade trees and cool beverages!

We want to hear from you! How are you keeping cool this summer?