It’s coming to that time of year again when people reunite with the outdoors, shedding the winter clothes and holiday pounds in a zest for activities under the sun. While some folks prefer to stay inside, others are ready to lather on the sunscreen.
The Sacramento Press hit the streets around McKinley Park, William Land Park and surrounding neighborhoods this Easter weekend to hear what locals consider their favorite outdoor activities.
Golden 1 Membership-Relationship Specialist Sarah Jones, 25, said she enjoys walking her three dogs with her husband at McKinley Park because of the exercise for both the dogs and her and her husband.
"We will usually do two laps or so. It’s good for the dogs and us to get out of the house and get some exercise. Sometimes we will ride our bikes," Jones said.
For Jones, a walk provides more than great company, but wonderful scenery and a fun, relaxing experience.
"I enjoy walking around the flower garden (McKinley Park Rose Garden) because they’re always so pretty. The dogs always want to go inside because of all the smells, and it’s entertaining trying to keep them walking along with us," Jones said.
Twenty-three-year-old Nick Castle, who works as an electrician for PG&E and is an outdoor enthusiast, said his favorite activity is eating food while overlooking the Sacramento River, watching the boats motor by.
"I like eating flautas with jalapeño jelly on the porch of Chevy’s looking at the boats on the river. The porch is usually shaded. Most of the time there’s music playing, and it’s relaxing watching the boats hang around or go by," Castle said.
When asked why he prefers watching the boats to other activities he enjoys, such as dirt-biking, Castle said that it allows many different types of people to be together at once.
"Other activities are more specialized toward certain people. Being outside with family or friends and eating good food by the river is something that everyone can do aside from skill or interest levels. I work a lot, so any time to simply be with family and friends is important," Castle said.
Sacramento resident Rick Dee, 50, employee of ABF Freight System, says that whitewater rafting on the American River is the ticket to a fun-filled day.
"I am a very outdoorsy guy, so when I have the energy on weekends, I enjoy getting out of the house for some exercise. Rafting on the American River is one of my favorite pastimes and something I still like to do," Dee said.
With full-time work, husband, father and grandfather responsibilities, Dee said that exercise is one of the benefits of the American River adventure, but being with friends is the other.
"You can get exercise by running around your neighborhood, but no one is going to want to do that. Rafting doesn’t require a constant supply of endurance, at least on the American River, so there’s more time to talk with my friends," Dee said.
Rafting on the American River is also the favorite activity of Erin Bright, 31, a stay-at-home mom, said she finds drifting on the river to be a relaxing, but engaging experience.
"I always enjoy seeing the river from a different perspective. It’s so relaxing and calming to be rocked around, be able to talk with friends and listen to the water," Bright said.
The river always brings new experiences, Bright said. Talking with friends or family is the relaxing part, but what there is to see on the sides of the river is the engaging part.
"Every rafting trip is different. You don’t know what animal life you will see or even what other types of people you will meet on the river. One minute you’re talking about work and the other minute you see some wild animal taking a drink," Bright said.
Donald McPeters, 18, is a student at Bella Vista High School, who said his favorite outdoor activity is longboarding during the day and sometimes at night with his friends.
According to McPeters, a longboard is longer than a skateboard and used for cruising around, while a skateboard is used for doing tricks.
"I really enjoy longboarding. It makes me happy. I love to longboard at night because it’s calm, relaxing and enjoyable. During the day, I longboard around with friends and we skate all around," McPeters said.
With high school coming to an end and people moving their separate ways soon, longboarding is not only exercise, but an outlet to a host of lifelong memories.
What are your favorite outdoor activities in Sacramento? Share them in the conversation below.