Swimming in Durham

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At The Clubs at Charles River Park, the path to lighter and leaner physiques leads clients through indoor and outdoor training facilities. Those areas?from lap pools to row upon row of cardio and strength equipment?set the stage for individual workout sessions as well as motivational fitness classes focused on functional training.

In these sessions, certified trainers might lead groups through yoga poses or teach boot-campers to swing kettlebells. The trainers also work with clients in one-on-one sessions, and lead aquatic high-intensity interval training sessions in the pool. But whatever the workout, most visits to The Clubs at Charles River Park end in same place: the locker room, where saunas give exercisers and the imaginary Mickey Goldmills who coach them a relaxing reward.

10 Whittier Pl
Boston,
MA
US

The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."

This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.

615 Washington St
Brighton,
MA
US

Before they journey down Dr. Von Dark's Tunnel of Terror, riders sit facing each other aboard a two-person tube. But they won't actually see one another for long, since the aptly named doctor has designed a 300-foot jaunt whose twists and 40-foot plunge unfold in complete darkness.

The pitch-black tunnel is just one of many heart-pounding attractions at the more than 26-acre Water Country that have helped make Water Country the Parenting NH Magazine's Family Favorite Award for Best Water Park in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Additionally, visitors can dash down the 422-foot-long Racing Rapids slide, navigate a quarter mile of waterfalls and caves along Adventure River, or float in a wave pool with 700,000 gallons of water. Water Country likewise caters to youngsters with giant tipping buckets and a 40-foot-long pirate ship complete with slides.

During full days of sliding and splashing, guests can rest at one of the park's shaded cabanas and enjoy an array of tasty snacks and sweets from nearly 10 food options scattered throughout the park, including stands specializing in Dippin' Dots and fried dough.

2300 Lafayette Rd.
Portsmouth,
NH
US

Wonder Mountain Family Fun Park sternly rebuffs boredom with two mini-golf courses and a challenging human maze. Adventurers can negotiate the twisting turns, dead ends, and elevated checkpoints of the Treasure Trap ($5/person for ages 5+) in less than 10 minutes to enter weekly drawings for cash and T-shirts or to outrun overzealous Pac-Men. Alternatively, opt for a round of mini golf ($10/adult; $8/senior or child ages 5–12) on one of two courses strewn with lush foliage, flowing waterfalls, and muttering streams. Send dimpled balls spinning across the Mountain Mania course, recently rebuilt with five new hole layouts, or test your mettle on the Nautical Nightmare course, whose challenging holes may be better suited for teens and adults than youngsters or those who depend on holes-in-one for life force.

Route 1
Wells,
ME
US

Escaping the hustle and bustle of city life usually means hopping on a plane or driving until skyscrapers shrink into the horizon. Sandlot Sports & Entertainment strives to change all that. Their staff maintains recreational facilities where families can enjoy much-deserved getaways, just without all the traveling. During summer months, members spend time on Sandlot’s private, four-acre pond and beach area where they can avoid crowded city beaches and soak up alien messages coded into the sun's rays. Nearby, full-size football and soccer fields, baseball fields, and a performance stage play host to parties and special events. Sandlot uses those same venues during various children's camps throughout the summer, including musical theater camps and the popular Camp Sandlot—weeklong sessions of creative, educational, and athletic activities.

56 North Rd
Sandown,
NH
US

Located in the woods, Liquid Planet Water Park forms an oasis of thrilling water slides, pools, and watery play zones. Water attractions include high-speed vertical-drop slides, new speed slides, spiraling water runs that stretch upward of 250 feet, and brisk splash pools. Forming a relaxing buffer at the side of the park are 2,000 square feet of sandy beach that, like marshmallow swim trunks, offer cushy respite from the ubiquitous concrete-pool surroundings. The beach also borders spring-fed Crater Lake, which attracts swimmers and cannonballers with traditional watering-hole charms.

446 Raymond Rd.
Candia,
NH
US