At the Columbia Association, visitors find not only a place to work out, swim, or enjoy the great outdoors, but a place to connect with the local community and get to know their neighbors. Families take in live music by the lakefront during summer festivals, or glide across the ice at the public rink. Meanwhile, aspiring athletes build muscle, flexibility, and form with practice at indoor and outdoor tennis courts, or regular trips to the high-tech Columbia Gym. Columbia Association also helps its members maintain a healthy lifestyle with a wide variety of facilities, including nearby golf courses, 23 swimming pools, and even an attached horse center, where humans can learn to ride and horses can get in shape for swimsuit season.
Sport Fit's gold membership grants aspiring athletes and established exercisers 30 consecutive days of calisthenics, including unfettered access to fitness centers and motivational group-exercise classes. Sport Fit's Bowie location boasts basketball and tennis courts, as well as a variety of indoor pools for swimming laps, alleviating aches, and trying to find Nemo. Bowie's group-exercise schedule is brimming with brawn-boosting group classes, including Pump Fit, Zumba, and 2K Knockout Fitness. For restless gym-goers, the Laurel Fitness and Swim and the Laurel Racquet club offer two separate locations from which to lift weights, labor over lay-ups, or lounge in a whirlpool or sauna. Athletic endeavors abound at Sport Fit in Severna, where a long list of weekly workouts displays a wealth of ways to maximize musculature and tone tendons.
Chesapeake Bay is home to legendary beautiful waters, diverse flora and fauna, and Paddlefest, an annual paddle-sports event organized by the team at Ultimate Watersports. Held on the Gunpowder River, which flows into the bay, the festival shows off the industry's latest toys, allowing attendees to try out brand-new kayaks and paddleboards on the sparkling fresh water. For the rest of the season, Ultimate Watersports brings its know-how to the shores with kayak tours, paddleboard lessons, and sailing trips that have remained a bay fixture for more than 26 years. Waterfront enthusiasts seek out the company's reliably well-maintained and up-to-date watercraft to do everything from gain a windsurfing certification to practice heckling standup paddleboard comics. Additionally, seasonal kids' camps help youngsters to stay active while gaining an appreciation for watersports and the splendor of the outdoors.
Hockessin Athletic Club is an innovative facility sprawled across 12 acres that border an accessible state park. Members can enjoy access to more than 100 group fitness classes weekly (yoga, zumba, aqua fitness, kickboxing, and more), 90 pieces of cardio equipment complete with personal viewing screens, a five-pool aquatic complex, plus steam rooms, saunas, and facilities for basketball and soccer. To recoup after any sweaty session, members can soothe muscles over with professional massage services (for an additional cost) or snacks at the full-service café. For complete info, view the schedules for all activities online.
Diving doyenne Una Stites leads a team of nine other PADI-certified instructors, who deploy more than 100 years of combined experience to guide scuba students toward a future of underwater adventures. During the six-person class, instructors impart techniques and tips for subsurface paddling before escorting pupils to the on-site saltwater pool, where tanks and other necessary equipment stands at the ready. Behind a fence painted with a jovial blue octopus, students practice their newly acquired diving knowledge and Morse code dolphin clicks in a safe and friendly environment.
Chesapeake Underwater Sports founder Mike Nieman has spent the majority of his life in or around water. As a child, many of his relatives worked Chesapeake Bay as watermen. In 1972, Mike began diving for the U.S. Air Force, and after his service, became a merchant seaman. During those years, and through all those experiences, Mike kept his eye on one dream: opening a dive shop of his own.
Mike did just that in 1987. Today, having been involved in the training of more than 2,000 divers, he continues to promote the sport–or, in his case, lifestyle–of diving through instruction. At his shop, Mike and his team of NAUI instructors provide education ranging from basic courses all the way up to instructor qualification programs. They also assist clients in planning exotic diving trips, and maintain an expansive stock of equipment and accessories.