One thing that has been challenging for me living in Waco is that I’m a really active person and enjoy being outside. Given that Waco is located in the heart of Central Texas, we experience very minimal winters and long and hot summers. This can make being active a challenge, so I have compiled a list of some of the best places to be active in Waco! Some of these don’t necessarily involve direct exercise, but are fun activities that engage your mind and body together.
Whether you’re on a day trip or vacation, visiting friends or family, or if you live in Waco and are looking for a new running spot, there’s a place on here for you to see.
- The Brazos River flows through Waco, which makes it a fun place to do water sports! Waco Paddle Company is a truck located behind the food trucks on University Parks that can get you a kayak, double kayak, canoe, or paddle boat rental. It’s fun to paddle down to Baylor’s stadium, or head the other direction under the Suspension Bridge and enter into Cameron Park. Definitely a good way to beat the heat.
- 200 S University Parks Dr, Summer hours (June 3rd): Tues-Fri., 1pm-8pm, Sat., 10am-8pm, Sun., 1pm-6pm, closed Monday
- This may seem like a random one, but the stadium is my husband and I’s favorite place to go on a walk. If you take the loop around the stadium it’s just a little under a mile, or you can head over the bridge and walk further in campus or the athletic complexes on the other side. I trained for a 5k When tailgating isn’t happening, there is also a large green space where people play football and frisbee pretty often. If you’re into more intense work outs, there are some large concrete steps that I have run stairs on and it is pretty challenging. McLane Stadium’s website also has information about camps for kids, as well as any races or fun events coming up!
- 1001 S MLK Blvd
- The Mayborn Museum is a great way to stay indoors, but also have a lot of fun! There are a few different sections in the Mayborn – upstairs and part of downstairs are all the children’s areas. There are a ton of activities for kids, like discovering weather, light and sound, energy, recycling, simple machines, and a ton of other rooms. The natural/cultural exhibits have a ton of fossils and representations of what life was like in Central Texas thousands of years ago. There is always a traveling exhibit – some in the past have included The Wizard of Oz, States of the United States, and model trains. The Heritage Village is outside behind the museum, and it allows for a very interactive look at the way that people lived in the 1890s.
- 1300 S University Parks Dr., Mon-Sat., 10am – 5pm, open until 8pm on Thursday, Sun., 1pm-5pm
- Admission: Children (2-12) – $6, Seniors (65+) – $7, Adults – $8, Baylor Students and Museum Members – Free
- There are a lot of notable gyms that you can join in Waco to get a good work out in (Planet Fitness, Gym X, Golds Gym, etc.), but there are a few specialty places in Waco that provide group fitness with more specialized activities. I may be biased because this is my favorite place to go, but Refine31 teaches barre and cycling classes on a daily basis. The instructors are encouraging and knowledgable about the classes their teaching, the age of attendees varies from college students to retirees, and the classes are so much fun. They also have special events on occasion and different contests throughout the year. You can purchase a membership, month to month packages, or just do a drop in class to check it out!
- 8810 Woodway Dr, Suite 501. Class times vary from as early as 5:15am to 6:45pm and depend on the day
- Refit is a super fun dance fitness class. The concept is similar to Zumba, but with more of a community and inclusive aspect to it, as well as the incorporation of some Christian music. People of all ages love Refit – it’s high energy, loud, and fun, but you can easily go at your own pace. The instructors make everyone feel part of the group and the dance moves are easy to catch onto. You can purchase a membership or just drop in – your first class is only $1!
- 1109 Richland Dr., class schedule is listed online
- Waco is home to the Baylor Bears, so of course the university had to be on here somewhere. Here are a few suggestions of things to do around campus:
– Walk around the Armstrong Browning Library, it is absolutely gorgeous! It is very ornate and has stunning architecture. This was one of my favorite places to come read in college. (710 Speight Ave, open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm on Sat, closed Sunday. Free entry)
– Say hi to Lady and Joy, the mascots, at the bear habitat
– Play in the fountains around campus
– Check out a show at the theatre
– Rock climb, play racquetball, shoot some hoops, swim some laps, or play a little sand volleyball at the Student Life Center
– Run/walk the 2.25 mile long Bear Trail
– Play tennis or sand volleyball at the courts on campus
- I cannot speak from experience on the Waco Escape Room, but I have friends who have gone and had a lot of fun. If you’re unfamiliar with what an escape room is, it is a room that you are essentially “locked” in with a group of people, and you have to solve various clues to figure out how to get out. The Waco Escape Room has 4 different rooms – Code Breaker, Dinner for Two, Mastaba, and the Waco Escape Room. Each are for different numbers of people, have different story lines, and are for people of different experience levels.
- 711 Washington Ave. You can view their schedule online, as well as book a room
- Admission: $20 per person, also offer group prices to reserve a private room
- The Lake Waco Dam is a great place to run, walk, or bike. It has a 2.8 mile hike and bike trail and a really great view. It’s a little further out by the airport, but is definitely worth the drive, and mixes things up if you’re tired of walking or running in the same places.
- A parking lot is available off of Airport Dr., you should be able to put “Waco Dam” or “Waco Dam Trail” in your GPS and find it just fine
- I mentioned this in my last blog post, but Cameron Park has a lot of really great hike and bike trails, ranging from beginner to expert. If you’re into mountain biking, hiking, or trail running, be sure to check out the trails – there are even a few that are horse friendly, if that’s your kind of thing. You can also climb Jacob’s Ladder, which is certainly a challenge. There are multiple playgrounds throughout the park for kids to enjoy.
- Also mentioned previously, Lake Waco is a great place to walk, run, or ride your bike. The area that I got to most frequently is at the end of Estates Dr, called Woodway Park. There is an 18-hole disc golf course, some hiking trails, grills, and a couple of playgrounds available, but you can easily run or walk through all 3 park areas and find enough to see.