SUMMER SPORTS: Take advantage of the long Benicia summer
Photos by Luke George
Outdoor sports and summer seem to go hand in hand.
The weather is warm, and daylight lasts and lasts. So, let’s go outside and enjoy the summer by engaging in some of the many summer sports.
Benicia is a summertime town with its many parks, trails, and access to the water. Summer sports thrive here. Whether you want to try something a little more extreme like windsurfing, or simply walk or bike around town, there’s a reason for everyone to get outside. So let’s explore the possibilities.
Benicia 9th Street Park: Outriggers, windsurfers and kayaking
From the 9th Street Park boat launch you can indulge in many different water sports. The Outrigger Club practices on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. They accept people of all experience levels and have many events and races. Windsurfing off 9th Street is another favorite; the conditions are great for exciting sailing. Paddleboarding is an easier water sport, you can either sit or stand while plying the shores of Benicia. There are many areas to launch a kayak, but 9th Street Park remains the favorite. There’s nothing more fun and relaxing than getting out on the water on a hot summer day.
Sherman Island: Kiteboarding, windsurfing
For the more adventurous, there’s Sherman Island, which is about 35 miles from Benicia, located at the point where the Sacramento and the San Joaquin rivers join. During the summertime, there is probably no location in North America that features more dependable wind. The waters around Sherman Island are better left to experienced kiteboarders and windsurfers, but it’s thrilling to watch them. You can take lessons and rent equipment at several shops around Rio Vista.
Benicia Bocce League holds one season per year, running roughly from May to September. “The game of bocce fits very well with the lifestyle in Benicia. It’s about gathering with friends, in our great weather, to play a casual game and have fun. It’s also a very accessible sport. Players of all ages can compete with each other, without age-related attributes like strength and agility getting in the way.” -Matt DeClaire.
Swimming is a great way to get active in the water — especially if you can’t stand the idea of sweating it out on land on a scorching summer day. The James Lemos Swim Center offers a variety of aquatics programs including lap swim, recreation swim, water polo classes, swimming lessons, and lifeguarding classes. Or just grab your towel and enjoy a leisurely day at the pool.
Tennis and Pickleball
Tennis is great to play outdoors, especially if you can find some friendly competition. Spend even half an hour on the court, and you’ll see just how amazing a workout it is. There are two good quality, lighted public courts in downtown Benicia at 151 E. K Street. And of course, there’s Pickleball. This sport combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It appeals to people of all ages and ability levels but is one of the fastest growing sports for ages 50+ for its social aspects and the ability to stay active in a fun sport. Pickleball is offered on a drop-in basis at both the Benicia Community Center (one court) and the Benicia City Gym (2 courts). Outdoor Pickleball courts are available at the Benicia Community Park, located in the roller hockey rink between the skate park and the dog park.
Whether professional or amateur, there’s no disputing that baseball is the most popular sport of summer. There’s a reason baseball is often referred to as “America’s favorite pastime.” It’s fun — and not just fun to watch. Head to an open field with friends, or sign up for a recreational league. A’s fan or Giants fan, take time to head out to the ballpark for peanuts, popcorn and crackerjacks, and a sublime summer outing.
Summer offers plenty of opportunities to grab your bike and take a leisurely, scenic ride or use your two wheels to get where you need to go while enjoying the weather in the process. Benicia offers many beautiful areas to ride, through neighborhoods or on designated bike trails like the Benicia Marsh Loop trail. For those who like a little more thrill, there is Rockville Hills Park in Fairfield. Hikers, mountain bikers, and families enjoy native trees and plants, and rock formations with more than 30 miles of tracks, trails, and picnic areas.
Since summer lasts well into October in our area, there’s plenty of time to get out there and enjoy the summer. See you out there.