Move over golf, skiing, and scuba diving; it is now pickleball getaways that travel organizers are adding to their vacation portfolios.
All-inclusive resorts, from Beaches in the Turks and Caicos Islands to the historic Broadmoor in Colorado, are the latest tourist havens to feature pickleball programs.
Lorrie Lynch of AARP recommends travel specialists like the non-profit Road Scholar that can arrange pickleball-centered trips, while individual professional players who now lead trips organize visits for players of all levels.
Although there isn’t official data on the surge in pickleball-related travel, Ernie Medina Jr., a USA Pickleball board member and ambassador, perceives it as exponential growth.
Being an avid traveler himself, Medina is on a personal mission to participate in tournaments across all 50 states. He has observed the trend of hotels and resorts incorporating courts, hiring instructors, sponsoring tournaments, and actively promoting their pickleball offerings to attract new guests.
Medina, a doctor of public health and an assistant professor at the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University in California, asserts that pickleball, whether played locally or while traveling, can significantly contribute to public health improvement.
“When you look at physical activity from a public health intervention standpoint, you’re looking for something easy to learn, easy to do, that you could do anywhere. It’s cheap, it’s fun, it’s social, and it still gets the heart rate up,” he says. “Pickleball checks off all the boxes.”
Great Pickleball Escapes
Rancho La Puerta
Rancho La Puerta, a wellness retreat located in Tecate, Mexico, has made significant investments in pickleball. While they’ve offered pickleball lessons and open play for years, the resort has now scheduled nine full “Pickleball Specialty Weeks” in 2024, featuring top experts as instructors.
Beyond pickleball, exhausted players can explore a variety of fitness classes, ranging from yoga and Pilates to hydro-fit and circuit training. The resort also boasts extensive mountain foothill trails for hiking.
Please note that in early December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] issued a health advisory regarding an outbreak of tick-borne Rocky Mountain spotted fever among recent travelers to Tecate. For more information, it’s recommended to check the U.S. State Department travel advisory website.
Turks And Caicos
Beaches on Providenciales in Turks and Caicos represent just one of the franchise’s Caribbean resorts.
While renowned for its stunning azure waters and white sand beaches, it has recently added a pickleball instructor and eight permanent pickleball courts. Additionally, the resort can convert eight tennis courts for pickleball use.
Offering family-friendly amenities, it also features a water park and various other activities.
Turtle Bay, Hawaii
Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku, Hawaii, known for its exceptional surfing, now offers a range of outdoor activities like horseback riding and golf.
In recent times, it has introduced six dedicated pickleball courts for practice and lessons and hosts round-robin and annual tournaments.
The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs
Nestled in the Rocky Mountain foothills, The Broadmoor, a distinguished resort hotel, has expanded its offerings by including three pickleball courts along with four certified instructors. Among its wide array of activities like zip-lining, fly fishing, and rock climbing, pickleball has become a prominent addition.
Organized Pickleball Trips
Road Scholar offers pickleball getaways in the same way it offers biking or multi-adventure trips. One of their highlight packages is a six-day learn-and-play stay at Glen Sutton Lodge in Quebec, Canada.
Pickleball Getaways, running trips since 2019, offers trips to the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, Costa Rica, and other international destinations.
Their trips involve two to three hours of pickleball skills, drills, and play daily, plus guided tours.
Pickleball Trips specializes in such diverse locations such as Japan, Belize, and Montana. The group is happy to organize all types of accommodation, pickleball, transportation, and tours.
Pickleball courts are becoming increasingly common in various locations nationwide, from small towns like South Haven, Michigan, to major cities like New York City. As a highlight, Central Park’s ice rink, Wollman Rink NYC, transforms into 14 courts available for play from early April through early October.
For those seeking courts globally, pickleheads.com is a valuable resource. It offers information on finding courts in cities worldwide, spanning senior centers, recreation centers, church gymnasiums, YMCAs, and local parks.
Whether in a bustling metropolis or a quaint town, pickleball enthusiasts can likely find a court nearby through such diverse facilities.
Here are two of the most attractive pickleballing states.
Pickleball Kingdom, a warehouse of courts in Chandler, a suburb of Phoenix, has 15 indoor courts – a desirable option to escape the sweltering temperatures of Arizona – and a variety of membership options.
A new nationwide family-friendly chain called Chicken N Pickle has also recently opened in Glendale, north of Phoenix, offering food and games such as cornhole, bocce, and, of course, pickleball.
Texas is crazy about pickleball. Farmers Branch hosted the 2023 Biofreeze USA Pickleball National Championships in November, breaking all sorts of attendance records.
Pickleball Kingdom also has its eye on other areas of Texas towns. It is eyeing new premises in Plano, Lewisville, Keller, College Station, Dallas, Irving, and Fort Worth.
Chicken N Pickle is already established in San Antonio and has big expansion plans for next year (Allen, Webster).
Finally, Austin Pickle Ranch features eight courts on top of a parking garage in downtown Austin, close to the Texas Capitol building.
AARP is a sponsor of the Association of Pickleball Players (APP) Tour, which travels the country, and the association is the title partner of the AARP Champions Division (50+) and AARP Masters Division (60+).
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