Recreation & Fitness

Living an active retirement is easy when you have so many opportunities from which to choose. Lawrence alone is home to 54 parks, 70 miles of trails, a gorgeous state park with lakeside marina four miles from town, four recreation buildings, dozens of exercise spaces, and numerous classes and programs all geared towards keeping Lawrence active. For those wishing for a team recreation experience we also have a strong selection of sports and activities via our fantastic Lawrence Parks and Recreation department.

Baldwin City Recreation Commission

Douglas County has many additional opportunities to get outside, get fit, or have fun. For example, see what’s available in Baldwin City.

Lawrence Parks & Recreation

Every season when Lawrence Parks and Rec issues its new catalog of courses, events, and more, the reader is amazed at the wondrous array of opportunities for seniors. Whether you want to play pickleball, use the indoor walking track, take a fitness class, get personalized attention from a trainer, or a hundred other things, you are sure to find something to match your ability and interest. Many are free or very low cost.

Lawrence Parks and Recreation manages 54 parksfour recreation buildings, a public golf course, and over 150 classes at various facility sites. Lawrence Parks provides wonderful oases throughout the city and outdoor gathering and activity spaces for all.

Need a place to rest after a long day of Massachusetts Street shopping? Grab some local made Silas and Maddy’s ice cream and stroll down to beautiful South Park. Have more of an outdoor adventure in mind? Centennial Park, located between 6th and 9th Streets and Rockledge Road and Iowa Street, is perfect for enjoying a beautiful Lawrence day. The park features rolling hills, a walking path, and a disc golf course.

Mutt Run is an off-leash dog park east of Clinton Lake that follows the Wakarusa River. The park includes restrooms, a drinking fountain, water for dogs, and a small parking lot. Your dog will love the mowed paths running through the fields and along wooded areas.

Clinton State Park

Dedicated in 1975, 1500-acre Clinton State Park is located on the northeast shore of Clinton Reservoir and has one of the largest marinas in the state. Only four miles from the city of Lawrence, the park has nearly 600,000 annual visitors who marvel at the facilities and the natural beauty of the park. As the surrounding area becomes more urbanized, the importance of the park and the experiences it provides become ever more critical in meeting that “need to escape.”

Cycling and Hiking

Lawrence is a great place for cycling and hiking with an extensive network of bike lanes, paths, and trails through the parks and countryside. Lawrence is planning on adding more miles of paths and lanes to the already established system. With so many great routes to get around, cyclists are easily accommodated with over 300 bike racks in downtown alone. To provide additional accommodation, many parking meters downtown have metal rings to secure your bike and there are several bike repair stations throughout the city. Hikers and cyclists alike will also enjoy the renowned local Sunflower Outdoor and Bike shop that provides outdoor gear, bikes, and kayaking and canoe equipment.

Fitness Facilities

Staying active and fit is easy in Lawrence with great pathways, trails to hike, an active fitness culture, an indoor aquatic center, and the completely free to the public Sports Pavilion that provides classes, sports, and fitness facilities. Rock Chalk Park, located near the pavilion, is recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as the fifth Class I Certified track on United States soil, and is one of only 105 in the entire world. For a more customized approach, there are several fitness-oriented classes available through Lawrence Parks and Recreation such as yoga, aerobics, and spinning classes. Fitness classes are available through private businesses as well, with specifics such as boxing, yoga, martial arts, or more generalized fitness through one of our many health clubs.

On, In, and By the Water

With three lakes near Lawrence there is plenty of water to have fun on, in, or resting on its shores.

Clinton Lake, located just west of town, has over 7,000 acres of water, over 16 boat ramps, several docks, and a full service marina. The lake is home to white bass, crappie, channel catfish, walleye, and largemouth bass, and makes for great fishing.

Lone Star Lake, located 6 miles southwest of Lawrence, is a smaller fishing lake where you can take advantage of the fine facilities and docks to catch crappie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, flathead, and channel cat. Twenty-four miles northwest of Lawrence is Perry Lake, a 10,880-acre lake that is popular for skiing, sailing, and fishing. With several coves to trawl through, you will find a large population of sauger, bigmouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel cat, and blue catfish.

Golf in Lawrence

Golfing has a great tradition in Douglas County. The first 9-hole course opened in 1914. With four golf courses you can play 81 holes of golf without repeating a single hole. More than 120,000 rounds of golf are played in Lawrence each year – and if you’re eager to get out on the green don’t worry, those 120,000 rounds most certainly have room for you.

Alvamar Golf and Country Club has two golf courses: the public course, which is home to KU golf and a private members’ course. Both courses are a par 72 and combined offer over 14,000 yards of play.

Lawrence Country Club golf course was completely renovated and reopened in September 2006 and was nominated as one of the top five renovated country club courses in the Midwest. All 18 holes were redesigned to create a challenging course for all levels. 

Orchards Golf, a 9-hole course, is on Bob Billings Parkway in Lawrence just west of KU. As a delightful secret, you will find a pleasurable experience here every time without the crowds of some courses.

Eagle Bend Golf Course is operated by the City of Lawrence and was voted one of the top three golf courses in Kansas by the Kansas City Star. It has also been named as one of the “Places to Play” by Golf Digest.