The best way to make this summer more memorable? Try a new—or new-to-you—sport! These cool land and water adventures in California, Texas, and Washington will make you want to get out and play and enjoy the sunny days ahead. Too hot? We’ve thought of that, with plenty of water options, too.
Landlubbers can try disc golf, one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. It is especially popular in Texas; DGCourseReview lists 82 courses within the Dallas metro area. Rules are similar to golf, though you play by tossing Frisbee-like plastic discs into above-the-ground targets. Sounds easy, but the targets feature a tall net of chains that can make things just as challenging as regular golf. Pros and advanced players use specialized discs that mimic the functions of regular golf’s putters for short distances and drivers for longer tosses. Most disc golf courses are shaded by trees and require a nice walk on trails between nine or 18 “holes.” Find information on rules, discs, tournaments, and lessons at . Or visit one of Dallas’s top-rated disc golf courses at B.B. Owen Park, with special events by the Dallas Disc Golf Club on Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Rather make a splash? One of the newest ways to exercise is on top of an aqua-cycle. Two adults and one small child can fit onto the elevated tricycle with giant floating wheels. Aqua-cycles stay stable above the water and are easy to steer and fun to use: just pedal and go, with no experience necessary. You can rent the water trikes by the hour Tuesday through Sunday at Irving Water Activities on Lake Carolyn in Irving.
Fly almost like an eagle when you learn how to fly on the thrilling Bellevue Zip Tour, a challenge course of seven zip lines featuring spectacular vistas of the Cascade Mountains and downtown Bellevue. You’ll be strapped tightly into a safety harness by one of two guides before you leap off the platform to whoosh up to 35 miles per hour through a canopy of tall Douglas fir and broadleaf maples. The zip tour also includes two hikes and two crossings of wobbly suspension bridges. Some stretches of the zip line are more than 450 feet long and as high as 80 feet in the air. Each guided tour runs more than two hours, with minimum and maximum weight restrictions.
Rather hit the water? When stand-up paddleboard (SUP) took over coastal and inland waterways, yoga enthusiasts realized that balancing on top of the boards made for a more challenging core workout. This led to SUP YOGA, with classes held in the calm, shallow waters where you can try a floating warrior pose. Even beginners with no SUP experience report that they are able to learn paddling skills quickly in the first few minutes before the class drops its anchors for stretching and a range of yoga poses. REI, in its new partnership with boathouses at Meydenbauer Beach and Enatai Beach, offers numerous SUP classes and tours, including a sunrise yoga on the serene dawn waters of Lake Washington.
Everything’s better at the beach! Head to Hermosa Beach to try your hand at beach tennis, a hybrid sport blending tennis rules with beach volleyball. Adults and children can take lessons or join scheduled games on the West Coast’s first permanent beach tennis courts, on the sand at 14th Avenue, near Hermosa Pier. As with tennis, players use racquets or paddles to serve and volley a depressurized tennis ball over a volleyball-sized 30-by-60-foot sand court. Like volleyball, you must keep the ball in the air, unless you’re smashing it into your opponent’s side of the court. This is a great sport for anyone seeking a fast-paced, high-adrenaline game, but as a bonus, beach tennis has a lower impact on knees and joints, thanks to Hermosa’s soft beach sand. Other Southern California beach tennis courts are at Manhattan Beach (7th Street or 26th Street), Santa Monica (2600 Barnard Way) and Torrance Beach (289 Paseo de la Playa).
Or join a floating SUP YOGA class in Marina del Rey, where more advanced SUP yoga students sometimes attempt headstands—not recommended unless you’d enjoy a chilly dunk in the water.
If that sounds too tame for you, you might be game for Fly Board, a wild jet-pack-driven adventure on the water in Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point. After a quick training session, you’ll strap the jet packs on your feet and soon be soaring up to 30 feet above the water. It’s a sport suitable for beginners, teenagers and the young at heart. Students with good balance may even learn how to perform tricks on their first outing.
Whichever adventure you choose, make sure to stay hydrated, slather on your broad-spectrum waterproof sunscreen and take plenty of Insta-worthy photos!