photo of a bridge over a lake in New York's Central Park

With the ability to explore the digital world in the palm of our hands, we sometimes forget to look up and appreciate the one we live in.

Fortunately for us, Hop-A-Park Day was created for the sole purpose of taking a day to enjoy the local parks and amusements with your loved ones.

Since Hop-A-Park Day usually occurs on the first Saturday of the month of July, this year’s celebration will occur on July 5th. Many parks actually hold free Hop-A-Park Day events for the public. However, if you are at a loss for one in your area, here are a few fun ideas for how the cycling and non-cycling members of your family can best partake in the festivities.

Go Local

One of the greatest things about living in Utah is the abundance of natural attractions at our disposal. Whether it be feeding the ducks at Sugarhouse Park or shooting baskets with your kids at Fairmont’s basketball court, there are a variety of activities you can do that will make this July 5th the best Hop-A-Park Day yet. While finding a park near you should be easy enough, thinking of activities that are entertaining for all age groups may be another story. Here are a few suggestions for making this day a special one:

  • Have a picnic
  • Hold a relay race
  • Challenge someone to a game of basketball, soccer, kickball… any sport that will get you outside
  • Create an obstacle course within the park
  • Take your bike for a ride

Riding your bike is not only eco-friendly, but it’s also an efficient way to get in touch with your inner tourist and visit all the hottest outdoor attractions via bike trails.

Whether you decide to strap your bike to the car for a weekend cycling trip in Flaming Gorge, or to check out cycling “elevated” in Park City, you can’t go wrong on Hop-A-Park Day. The versatility of this holiday holds unlimited possibilities for some good, old-fashioned fun while also breaking a sweat on some of Utah’s most popular bike trails.

A Little More Extreme

If a ride through a public park doesn’t quite pack the punch you were expecting, Utah is also home to many unique, often intense, attractions that will get you outside to socialize with friends and enjoy nature. Although Utah isn’t well known for extreme amusement parks, there are a few locations with incredibly wild rides for the more adventurous Hop-A-Park Day participants. Check these rides out:

  • Lagoon Amusement Park: The Sky Coaster- a 150 ft. drop that simulates hang gliding, or, to less adrenaline-junkie type people, a death-defying free fall. (Note: You can actually bike to Lagoon via the Legacy Parkway Trail!)
  • Raging Waters: Lightning Falls- a 7 story high water slide that features a back-bending hill for your body to climb in the middle of the ride.
  • Mystery Escape Room: You and your group are locked in a room surrounded by puzzles and clues. You have one hour to figure out how to escape! If this isn’t bonding, I don’t know what is.
  • For more non-cycling ideas visit What to do in the Salt Lake Area

However, all cyclists know that there is nothing more thrilling than a great bike ride. If road biking has become too monotonous in your daily life, it’s time to check out mountain biking. Utah is home to challenging, yet enjoyable trails with incredibly rewarding views. This Hop-A-Park Day, you’d be amiss by not checking out Utah’s best mountain trails.

Now, get out there!

Hop-A-Park Day may not be a widely celebrated holiday, but that’s no excuse to skip it this July 5th. Spend your weekend differently and enjoy the outdoors. There is no greater way to unwind from the week than grabbing your bike and some friends, and hitting the numerous trails Utah has to offer. Remember to always be safe and aware of your surroundings. Now, let’s make this Hop-A-Park Day one to remember.

Photo by Anthony Quintano via Flickr