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Charlottesville, A Haven for Athletes and Spectators Alike

The natural beauty of the Charlottesville-Albemarle area paired with local residents’ dedication to health makes Charlottesville the perfect place to watch or play sports. The area boasts hiking and cycling trails; eleven golf courses; various public, private, and community tennis courts; and of course, front row seats to the world of collegiate sports, courtesy of the local University of Virginia. The James River provides the opportunity to canoe, kayak, tube, and fish, and quality skiing is available at Wintergreen Resort, only 45 minutes from town.

Charlottesville Athletics

Charlottesville Parks and Recreation provide both youth and adults with an outlet for their adrenaline in the form of various team and individual sports programs:

  • Basketball
  • Tennis (Youth only)
  • Volleyball
  • Softball (Adults only)

Charlottesville Parks and Recreation also supports the following local programs:

  • Adult Flag Football
  • Senior Softball
  • Youth Baseball & Softball
  • Youth Football
  • Youth & Adult Soccer
  • Youth Wrestling

UVA Sports

With the University of Virginia is Charlottesville’s backyard, local residents are provided with easy access to college sporting events. Charlottesville was called by the Associate Press the Best College Football Town. In addition to football, residents also have the chance to watch budding stars compete in basketball, field hockey, cross country, baseball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.

Bicycling in Charlottesville

Bike-friendly Charlottesville offers the opportunity for both on-road (the 35-mile North Garden loop runs from town over gradual hills) and off-road (George Washington National Forest, 35 miles to the west, has a network of popular trails) cycling. In 2008 Charlottesville was recognized as a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Every two years Charlottesville hosts a Bike Summit in order to recognize and implement projects for the area’s bicycle facility network. In addition, Charlottesville implemented the “Arts for Bike Paths” program in order to provide money for bike facilities through auctions and artists’ donations from their sales. Because of initiative taken by the local government, the structural quality and facility of Charlottesville’s cycling network continues to improve.

Tennis in Charlottesville

In 1967 Roger Flint, “Mr. Tennis”, began the Charlottesville Tennis Patrons Association in an effort to involve more people in Central Virginia in the game. The 1996 Nation Demographics and Lifestyles survey showed that since than, Charlottesville has become the nation’s more popular tennis city per capita. Tennis Magazine called Charlottesville the #1 Best Tennis Town for its dedication to the sport in the form of an extensive list of local courts: Charlottesville boasts 16 public locations at which residents can play tennis (almost 100 courts), as well as private and community courts around the area.

Golf in Charlottesville

The Charlottesville-Albemarle area offers award-winning golf courses, so there’s no question as to why Golf Digest ranked Charlottesville as the #1 Best Retirement City for Golfers. Charlottesville was also officially awarded a First Tee Chapter by the World Golf Foundation. The area has eleven highly-acclaimed golf courses, several of which are open for public use.

Hiking and Trail Running in Charlottesville

Inside Charlottesville city limits, Charlottesville Parks and Recreation maintain almost a dozen nature and fitness trails. These trails, oftentimes within Charlottesville’s lush and spacious parks, provide a place to walk, jog, and bike while enjoying the nature of central Virginia without ever leaving town. In 2006, Outdoor Magazine put Charlottesville first on the list of Best Trail Running.

Outside city limits, the Skyline Drive provides access to Shenandoah National Park, a hotspot of Virginia hiking. Proving over 500 miles of hiking trails, Shenandoah National Park includes stretches of the renowned Appalachian Trail, and several swimming holes fed by mountain springs. The James River Trail is an alternative to difficult, hilly mountain trails and provides a view of the photogenic river. Thirty miles of some of the most difficult hiking trails of central Virginia can be found in parts of the George Washington National Forest, in the area surrounding Wintergreen Resort.