Top 7: Best Ways to Play Outside this Spring, Summer

Biking, blading, birding, golfing and more are among the community amenities.

Come along — outdoor recreation season finally is here. It's time to put on golf shoes, bike pants, tennis sneakers, Rollerblades or whatever fits a fresh-air activity. Here are some local fun zones.

1. Nine holes: Half of Birmingham's public golf courses are open and the other half open soon. Yes, that's a teasing way to say can be played now and remains a bit waterlogged but should be ready soon, a representative said this week. Hours are 10 a.m. to dusk. Rates and other details can be found at the Parks and Recreation website

2. Racquet swings: Tennis nets are up at and were scheduled to be hung at six other parks this week, opening a season of free, first-come access to paved, fenced courts. For locations, visit the city's Parks and Recreation site.

3. Boards 'n blades: In contrast to communities that just tell skateboarders and in-line skaters where they can't play, Birmingham commissioners added a free skate area at Kenning Park four years ago with rails, ramps, boxes, quarter-pipes and other features. The park is open dawn to 10 p.m.

4. Two-wheeling: Cycling clubs in colorful Lycra spin through residential areas on training rides. But you needn't be preparing for July's multi-day Michigander ride or another endurance event to enjoy pedaling along shady side streets and lakeside terrain. Low-traffic and marked bike routes include Eton Street on the far east side, with Kenning Park and as south end destinations and or 's playground as snack-break stops off North Eton.

Also, be sure to check out the wide Oak Boulevard between North Old Woodward Avenue and Covington, crossing the Rouge River at upper Quarton Lake. Strong riders can then head north on Cranbrook Road, across Quarton Road, for scenic, winding access to the Cranbrook Educational Community campus on Lone Pine – just under three miles each way from the North Old Woodward start point.        

5. Choose your stride: Saying we're a walkable community describes only part of the appeal. We're also an eminently jogable and power-walkable city. Popular routes include rolling terrain on West Lincoln and West Maple from Southfield to Cranbrook, with inviting side loops through the budding glades of Linden Park and around Quarton Lake. The bike-worthy neighborhoods of Quarton Lake Estates and Sheffield also are foot-friendly. A short nature trail in off North Adams leads to unpaved lanes in Bloomfield Township, south of West Big Beaver.

6. Birding: The Oakland Audubon Society, one of 41 Michigan chapters, meets monthly at . Members visit nature centers in Troy, Bloomfield Hills and elsewhere in the area. A six-hour walk through Dolph Park and Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor is planned May 7 to look for spring migrants, and an early evening stroll is scheduled June 14 at Hawk Woods Nature Center in Auburn Hills. Contact president Don Burlett at baikalteal13@netzero.net or field trip coordinator Ed Lewandowski at ocbirdguy@gmail.com.

7. Shoot hoops: Outdoor sites for pickup games or free throw practice are slim and not listed on the city's rec rundown. However, two baskets are next to the playground and soccer field at Adams Park, at Adams and Ridgedale. A couple more are behind , also off North Adams.

Beyond these solo or small group activities, Birmingham also has softball diamonds in Kenning and parks and Little League fields at Kenning and three other parks. So step out to savor warmer days with later sunsets. 


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