Top 5 ways to get out and exercise while at Calvin


Jamison Van Andel

The Manistee River Trail offers incredible views and great backpacking just two hours north of campus.

Looking for ways to get out and exercise? Here are the top things to do on campus or in the Grand Rapids area:

1. Run or bike around Reeds Lake

If you have a free afternoon and are looking to get outside somewhere close to campus, the Reeds Lake trail is a great option. The 4.2-mile route is a favorite among Calvin students both because of its scenic stretches along the lakefront and its proximity to campus. If you’re coming from campus, it’s 6.8 miles round-trip. If running or biking isn’t for you, ditch the road altogether and head out onto the lake in a kayak!

2. Backpack the Manistee River Trail

The Manistee River Trail is located about two hours north of Calvin and offers incredible views of the Manistee River year-round. The trail winds along the river, with scenic overlooks around nearly every turn. At 8.8 miles, the trail is ideal for a two-day, one-night backpacking and camping trip. If you’re in need of backpacking gear, tents, backpacks, sleeping bags and food prep equipment are available for rent at the Calvin gear cage. If you’re looking for a lower commitment but still want to get out and hike, the Richmond Park Trail (1101 Richmond St NW) and Donald J Lamoreaux Park Loop (4585 Coit Ave NE) are both shorter options in Grand Rapids.

3. Complete the Grand Rapids tennis court circuit

Hone your tennis skills by playing on courts all over Grand Rapids. After playing at both of Calvin’s tennis courts — the Strikwerda Outdoor Tennis Center and the Indoor Tennis and Track Center — head out to one (or all) of Grand Rapids’ many tennis courts. In East Grand Rapids, the Canepa Tennis Center (2915 Hall St SE) is framed by trees and beautiful in the fall. At the corner of Franklin and Fuller, a couple of tennis courts sit entrenched in Martin Luther King Park (900 Fuller Ave SE). MacKay-Jaycees Park (2531 Kalamazoo Ave SE) offers another tennis option within 10 minutes of campus. The Gainey Athletic Center — a 10-minute walk past the Calvin nature preserve — is also a great place to play if you’re looking for a shorter commute.

4. Join a Calvin intramural team

Intramurals are a low-commitment way to meet people, play sports and get into a routine of getting out and active on a weekly basis. Calvin’s fall intramural offerings include basketball, volleyball, soccer, spikeball and flag football. Other sport options will be available in winter and spring. If a whole intramural season is too long for you, the Intramurals Office also hosts several one-day tournaments throughout the year, most of which are just show-up-and-play.

5. Ice skate at Rosa Parks Circle

As temperatures drop and your eagerness to get out drops along with them, be on the lookout for opportunities to ice skate at Rosa Parks Circle (135 Monroe Center St NW), which in the winter features a small ice rink tucked neatly into the center of the downtown area. The rink is small, making for a nice communal skating experience. Skating is super cheap ($1 for kids, $3 for 18+), and the atmosphere in downtown Grand Rapids is unmatched. Tickets sell out fast, so be sure to book yours early.