NEW JERSEY - Ice skating is typically tagged as a winter activity, but with an abundance of indoor rinks in the Garden State, summer is actually the perfect time to lace up the skates. When the Jersey Shore doesn't offer an escape from the high heat and humidity and there isn't a backyard pool, many people are looking for ways to stay cool and one of New Jersey's many ice rinks fit the bill.

As hockey parents know, there's always ice time and NJ rinks offer public skates throughout the summer months. Unlike during the winter, public skates are not crowded during July and August, making it the perfect spot to spend an afternoon. Skating is a fun, family-friendly outing, but is also a cool activity for couples and singles.

Here are some of New Jersey's most popular rinks that offer summertime public skates.

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  • The Codey Arena in West Orange is just steps away from the Turtleback Zoo. It offer stick times for hockey families and public skate times year round.
  • Floyd Arena in Little Falls has a full schedule that includes summer camps and open skates during the summer.
  • Wall's Jersey Shore Arena is a great spot to cool off. Kids can skate and play a round of laser tag too. The rink had some power issues this week due to storms and is currently operating on a limited schedule for July 28 and July 29.
  • ProSkate in South Brunswick is busy 12 months a year with hockey and figure skating. It is a popular destination for public skating, but is significantly less crowded during July and August.
  • Hackensack's Ice House offers weekly public skating sessions in the summer from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Wayne's Ice Vault has a full public skating schedule in the summer on weekdays and some weekends.
  • The Igloo in Mount Laurel has a busy schedule of public skates on just about every day of the week except for Sundays.
  • ProTech Ponds in Somerset has a full-sized rink and two smaller rinks that are usually used for public skates. Public skates are available throughout the week during the summer and include a special homeschool session on Friday mornings. Lessons are available at the Wednesday adult public skate. Check their website for all the details.
  • Skylands in Stockholm is one of the nicer rinks in the state and boasts a varied schedule. Public skates are offered daily and there is a Friday Night Ice Jam that features an open skate with a DJ.
  • Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees is the practice facility of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers. The rink offers open skates daily, but check their website before heading out. Times due change.
  • Howell Ice Arena is now open for public skates, but make sure to chek the website because times are subject to change.

Skate rentals are available at all of the above rinks for a fee. Some like ProSkate offer walkers to aid beginners on the ice while others do not. The Howell Ice Arena charges $5 for walker use. Helmets are recommended especially for children and those new to the ice and are not available for rent. Group rates are also available at most rinks.

Unlike winter time, there isn't any need to bundle up to hit the ice in the summer. Leggings or sweats with a sweatshirt and a couple of light layers work well. Gloves are a most for the hands especially for kids.