When the name of the game is outdoors: Tri-City summer sports guide
By Kristy Noack
The sun is shining, the temperature is rising, and the trees and flowers are in bloom. A change of seasons is almost here and the communities of Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet offer prime places that will become your summer funland playland.
It’s time to put away those heavy winter boots, that puffy parka, and the ice scraper. Break out those Bermuda shorts, bottle of SPF, and insulated water jug and get moving!
Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet all offer plenty of activities to get you up and out this summer, no matter if your outdoors interests involve the air, land, or sea. Or, in this case, lakes and rivers and creeks, oh my!
Interested in things that fly? Stop out to Flaherty Park in Watervliet and take a spin through the nine-hole disc golf course. Enjoy walking along Mill Creek – or digging your disc out of Mill Creek – as you launch your disc from hole to hole along the 2,262 foot course. Established in 2012, the course offers six holes under 300 feet and three holes with a length of 300 – 400 feet. If you’d rather play 18 holes, no problem! Just blaze your way through the course twice!
If you prefer to put a little swing in your fling, head on over to Paw Paw Lake Golf Club between Coloma and Watervliet. The 18-hole, par 70 course offers beautiful views of both Paw Paw Lake and wooded areas. Tee times are offered daily, just give the course a call at (269) 463-3831 or visit pplgcgolf.com.
If you enjoy plinking, want to learn how to shoot, or try your hand at firing off a few rounds at the range, Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet all have gun clubs.
The Van Buren Sportsmen’s Club, located at 54630 CR 687 in Hartford offers open range times, fish frys, trivia nights, and safety classes.
At the Coloma Rod and Gun Club you can try your hand at 3D archery featuring 30 shooting lanes, Hunter’s Safety classes, trap shoots, open range times for rifles and pistols, and firearm classes. The CRGC is located at 6145 Angling Road in Coloma.
The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club at 3413 Hennessey Road in Watervliet offers regular concealed pistol classes, ladies day shoots, open range times, and ATV safety classes.
Be sure to contact each club by visiting their website to see the complete list of offerings they provide outdoor enthusiasts.
Boarders, rejoice! The skate park at Hays Park in Watervliet has reopened! Visit the park to ride the rails and hit the half-pipe.
If you’re more of a land lover, there are plenty of activities at your disposal. The Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club offers lakeside yoga and a boot camp class. Both sessions begin Saturday, June 3. Contact PPLYC at (269) 468-6300.
The annual Paw Paw Lake Triathlon will make a return appearance this year. Break out your bike, lace up sneakers, and get out your swimsuit. The triathlon is scheduled for Saturday, July 8 at 10:00 a.m. and is open to everyone!
Speaking of running, each summer month features a 5K walk and run in our fair cities.
The fun starts Saturday, June 10 in downtown Hartford for the 39th annual Strawberry Run. The 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run, and one mile fun run is currently open for registration.
While you’re registering for the Strawberry Run, also sign up for the Gene Bednarowski 5K in Watervliet. The 5K Cherry run and walk is a staple event of the Watervliet Independence Day Celebration.
August will find 5K fanatics taking part in the Coloma Glad-Peach 5K run and walk, 10K run and walk, fun run, and 5K and 10K bike race.
All three events are part of the Michigan Fruit Belt Series, an effort to encourage participants to get fit, eat healthy, and promote wellness. Visit www.runsignup.com to get registered for any – or all three – events.
Think you might have a heart attack if you run to the mailbox in front of your house? Try walking! And there’s no better place to get outside and get one with nature than Sarett Nature Center.
The Center offers a plethora of classes to choose from: young explorers classes for ages four to seven get to learn about butterflies, caterpillars, turtles, and marshes; kayaking classes are offered to those ages 10 and up; and trails aplenty are chock full of opportunities to learn about birds, animal calls, and fauna.
Sarett will host a trip to kayak the Paw Paw River from Watervliet to Coloma on July 25. Contact Sarett today at (269) 927-4832. You can find the center at 2300 Benton Center Road.
A must do is a walk through the eight miles of trails offered at Sarett. They have a downloaded, printable map at their website www.sarett.com which gives you a great overview of their trail system.
Lakeland Hospital Watervliet offers a 1.1 mile walking trail, perfect for early evening strolls. The well-groomed, wide path is perfect for walking hand-in-hand with your honey at the end of a long day.
Should the weather turn cold or rainy, don’t put away your fitness gear. Stop by a local gym to work out, take a class, or get on the treadmill.
For the Love of Fitness is a women’s only workout center at 6557 E. Center Street in Coloma. The site offers Zumba, yoga, and Pilates classes as well as circuit-based training programs.
Top Notch Physiques is located just east of For the Love of Fitness in Coloma. Top Notch offers transformative stretch, martial arts, and kickboxing classes. The facility is open to everyone and has plenty of workout machines and space.
Continuing east on Red Arrow Highway, Healthy to the Core was the front runner in bringing cardio drumming to the area. Their classes are always filled to capacity, and if you’re curious about the class, stop by! Not only does Healthy to the Core offer classes to improve your exterior, they offer nutrition information to improve you on the inside as well.
CrossFit CAJIR at 55742 CR 687 in Hartford is the place to go if you want a butt-kicking, sweat-inducing, all-out empowering workout. You can do it! But, on the off chance you feel that level of fitness might be too much to handle – at least at first – they do offer basic health maintenance classes.
His Place Outreach Center in Hartford will begin their open gym at 15 South Maple Street again this fall. That gives you an opportunity to hit the courts at any of the local schools, Hays Park, or in your own neighborhood to get in shape now.
If South Bend, Grand Rapids, Chicago, and Detroit are too far away and you are hankering to get outside and watch a ball game, summer in the Tri-City area is for you!
The Coloma Youth Baseball – Softball Association will host a Memorial Day Madness Boys’ Baseball Tournament under the lights beginning Friday, May 26 through Monday, May 29. The CYBSA will also be home to the Girls’ All-Star tourney June 15 – 18. The action will take place at Washington Field, 6463 East Becht Road, Coloma.
The fields at Hays Park in Watervliet will once again be filled with youth baseball and softball action this summer. Check out the games both during the week and on the weekend.
The Hartford Council for Recreation is busy planning for the Hartford All-Star softball tourney, which will be held June 23 – 28. The Hartford All-Star Baseball Tournament of Champions will hit the diamond July 7 – 12. Indian Pride Park is located at 130 Lincoln Street.
Are you interested in stretching, lifting, squatting, and walking? Perhaps you don’t want to go to the gym. The communities of Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet have the perfect answer for you! Head over to any one of the multitude of U-pick farms and pick your way to a bushel of healthy, yummy fruits or vegetables. Breathe in that fresh air, reach for those luscious red strawberries, fat orange pumpkins, or delightful sweet blueberries, and make a memory with your family today!
U-pick farms are dotted throughout the countryside. Take a drive or go online to see which farm you’d like to find first.
If you’ve exhausted the air and land activities and still want more to do, we have got it for you. It’s all about the water in our resort area.
Paw Paw Lake offers over 900 acres of water sports fun. With public access points in both Coloma and Watervliet, you are just minutes away from playing in the sand and surf. Stop by the big lake for tubing, jet skiing fun, or just a lazy paddle along the shoreline.
If you’d like a quieter venue, head to the big lake’s sister, Little Paw Paw Lake. The boat traffic is minimal but the water is plentiful. It’s a great spot for a lazy day of fishing.
Speaking of fishing, you can find a creek, river, or lake throughout the Tri-City area. Grab some bait, a cooler, and some sunscreen and you are ready to start telling some whopping fishing tales.
Love the water but don’t know your starboard side from your port side? Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club is once again offering sailing classes this summer for both kids and adults. Give them a call to get registered.
With miles of waterways to traverse, you can’t go wrong with canoeing, kayaking, or tubing. Visit Paw Paw River Campground and Canoes, located at 5355 M-140, north of Watervliet, to get started.
This is just a small list of summer activities waiting for you here in the Tri-City area. Come, join in the outdoor fun in Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet! We’re waiting for you!