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7 Great American Parks for Staying in Shape

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Always feel like in you’re in a different city for work, and can’t seem to stick to your fitness routine? Well, no need to drag your feet—TPG Contributor Ryan Gargiulo has found seven cool parks around the U.S. that will allow you to get some fresh air and (free) exercise, all while doing a little sightseeing.

Rock Creek Park
One of many forest trails in Washington, DC’s Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park – Washington, DC

Loved by locals in the Nation’s Capital, Rock Creek Park’s fitness offerings include a biking trail that that stretches from Lincoln Memorial into Maryland, a 1.5-mile exercise trail, 32 miles’ worth of hiking trails, several pull-up bars, 11 miles of horseback riding trails (both dirt and gravel), golf greens, tennis courts, and a boat center where you can rent kayaks, canoes and more. Visitors will also find a few different athletic fields that cater to soccer, football, volleyball and field hockey.

Address & Hours: 3545 Williamsburg Lane NW, Washington, DC. Open 9am-5pm, Wednesday through Sunday. Also open during most major holidays with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. Pets are allowed, although they must be kept on a leash at all times. Admission into the park is free, but there are fees for certain activities—so it’s best to bring a little cash with you just in case.

Miami's Tropical Park
Miami’s Tropical Park

Tropical Park – Miami, Florida

Originally a horse track, Tropical Park was created in 1979 and has grown in popularity over the years with both locals and visitors. In fact, the park receives approximately 1.5 million people each year. The park is home to several horse shows, rodeos, farmer markets and events throughout the year. But on a day to day basis, people visit the park for one thing and one thing only; to exercise.

At Tropical Park, you can find baseball fields, basketball courts, batting cages, several different outdoor fitness zones with exercise equipment, nature trails (great for running or walking), an outdoor racquetball court, soccer field, softball field and a tennis court. If you’re looking to get a little exercise with your furry friend, you’ll be happy to hear that this park is dog friendly.

Address & Hours: 7900 SW 40 Street, Miami. Tropical Park is open from 7am-10:30pm, Monday through Sunday.

La Cienega Park's Outdoor Fitness Pavilion
La Cienega Park’s Outdoor Fitness Pavilion

La Cienega Community Center and Park – Beverly Hills, California

Considered the crown jewel of Beverly Hills parks, the La Cienega Community Center and Park is a fantastic place for those who want a variety of outdoor activities to choose from. Here you’ll find three baseball fields, a jogging track which circles the entire park and a pavilion housing outdoor exercise equipment designed for different ages and experience levels. The outdoor equipment has been chosen by the city and is designed to work all areas of the body. Free two hour parking is available next to the tennis center, as well as limited parking around the rest of the park.

Address & Hours: Located at 8400 Gregory Way, Beverly Hills. Parks hours run from 6am-10pm, 7 days a week. Note: The fitness pavilion is only open from 6am to dusk.

New York City's Van Cortlandt Park
New York City’s Van Cortlandt Park

Van Cortlandt Park – New York City

At 1,110 acres, Van Cortlandt Park is NYC’s fourth largest park, and serves as a playground for both kids and adults. Here you’ll find baseball fields, basketball courts, greenways (perfect for cycling), fishing opportunities around the lake, hiking trails, ice skating rinks, soccer fields, football fields, running tracks, tennis courts and even a nice selection of outdoor exercise equipment. Fitness equipment stations can be found at four different locations inside the park. Van Cortlandt Park is also home to a children’s playground, public golf course, the oldest house in the Bronx and the borough’s largest freshwater lake.

Address & Hours: Corner of Broadway and Jerome Avenue, Bronx, New York City. Open daily during day light hours.

Mission Dolores Park
San Francisco’s Mission Dolores Park—Courtesy of Peter Kaminski – Flickr

Mission Dolores Park – San Francisco, California

Mission Dolores Park offers a large amount of activities catering to those who love spending time outdoors and love to workout. Mission Dolores has a soccer field, 6 tennis courts, basketball court and plenty of space to get a good jog in. You won’t find any weights or fitness equipment here, but most don’t mind as there are lots of opportunities to join in on a pickup game or to go for a short run.

Address & Hours: 19th & Dolores Street, San Francisco. Open from dawn to dusk.

San Diego's Morley Field Trails Gateway
San Diego’s Morley Field Trails Gateway

Morley Field Sports Complex – San Diego, California

Found within Balboa Park, the Morley Field Sports Complex is a great place to indulge in different activities (both fitness and not) without having to run all over the place to find each one. Here you’ll find four different athletic fields, a two-mile jogging trail, disc golf course and an 18-station fitness course spread out over 2.5 miles.

You’ll also find 25 tennis courts, a swimming pool for those who like to swim laps, a senior center, archery range, bicycle track, golf course and lots of different trails for those who wish to rev up or cool down with a hike.

Address & Hours: 2221 Morley Field Drive, San Diego. Open 3-8pm on weekdays, and 9am-5pm on Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.

North Boulder Park—Courtesy of City of Boulder on Flickr
North Boulder Park—Courtesy of City of Boulder on Flickr

North Boulder Park – Boulder, Colorado

North Boulder Park is a small park situated in the middle of a residential neighborhood with mountains serving as the backdrop. Here you’ll find a playground, various fields, a half court basketball court, a ping pong table, picnic tables and grills for an afternoon BBQ.

Fitness enthusiasts will enjoy the fitness equipment station located within the park. During winter however, the fitness area is and the park is turned into a skiing destination. The park is located on both a bike route and the RTD bus route, making for easy access. Dogs are allowed, as long as they are leashed.

Address & Hours: 9th Street & Dellwood Avenue, Boulder. Open from dawn to dusk throughout the year. Public restrooms are only open from May to September.

What’s your favorite park in America for keeping fit? Please share in the comments below!

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