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Recreational Opportunities Abound in Rock Hill

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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Got game? Bring it to Rock Hill, the go-to South Carolina destination for indoor and outdoor sports of every variety, from BMX and track cycling to volleyball and basketball to golf and tennis.

And that’s just the half of it. This recreation-centric city also offers amenities and attractions for nature lovers, thrill-seekers and families just looking for a little fun in the sun.

The centerpiece of the recreational offerings is the Rock Hill Outdoor Center, a 250-acre complex along the Catawba River located within the Riverwalk community. Focused on cycling, it includes the Giordana Velodrome for track cycling, BMX Supercross Track, Criterium Course, Cyclocross, a mountain bike course and the 2.5-mile Piedmont Medical Center Trail enjoyed by bicyclists, runners and walkers.

All the racing facilities are open to the public and instruction is offered for most of the cycling disciplines. In addition to competing in local events, cycling enthusiasts have the opportunity to watch national caliber races hosted at the velodrome and BMX track.

Not into competitive sports? Bring a beach ball or Frisbee and spend the afternoon playing on the Rock Hill Outdoor Center Greens. The large open field offers plenty of space for kids to run and burn up energy. There’s also a kayak/canoe launch for those who want to paddle on the Catawba River.

Tennis buffs will love the Rock Hill Tennis Center, offering 10 lighted hard courts and a championship court with stadium seating. For soccer fans, there’s Manchester Meadows, a 70-acre park with eight lighted natural and synthetic turf soccer fields, a playground and leisure trails.

The city also boasts a premier, 68-acre softball/baseball facility that hosts some of the largest regional, state and national tournaments in the country. Cherry Park, the second sports venue to be inducted into the National Softball Association’s Hall of Fame, features five lighted diamonds, each with seating for 500 spectators, as well as a playground, walking/biking trails and several multi-purpose fields.

In the summer of 2019, the city will open the Rock Hill Sports & Event Center, connecting Winthrop University with Old Town, hotels, restaurants, outdoor venues and shops. The indoor sports complex will include a championship court with 1,200 stadium seats, eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts and a walking track.

Complementing the sports facilities are a dozen parks, offering a variety of recreational amenities, from bocce courts and horseshoe pits to disc golf courses and swimming pools.

If it’s a quiet spot you seek to enjoy nature, you have several excellent options. Glencairn Garden features beautifully landscaped lawns and walkways where you can enjoy the beauty of blooming plants and trees all year long. River Park offers several miles of wooded trails with views of the scenic Catawba River.

Looking to relax on the fairways? Waterford Golf Club fills the bill. Nestled among thick pine forests and rolling terrain, the Par 72 Hale Irwin layout features water from lakes and creeks on 16 of its 18 holes, making it a true shotmaker’s course.

If you’re visiting Old Town Rock Hill, don’t miss Fountain Park, a scenic space to sit and watch city life. The main attraction is a large recirculating fountain with 144 interactive jets and a center nozzle that shoots up a spray of water 100 feet in height every hour on the hour.

Just outside of town is Ebenezer Park, located on the banks of Lake Wylie, with three public boat ramps, 67 campsites and a swimming area open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

As watersports go, you could take it up a notch and try cable-pulled wakeboarding at Southtown Wake Park. Lessons are available for all skill levels from the youngest beginners to advanced riders. Paddleboards and kayaks also are available for those who prefer slower-paced water activities.

And if all of that doesn’t satisfy your appetite for adventure, sign up for a Canaan Zipline Canopy Tour, a three-hour thrill ride with sky bridges, challenge elements and six water flyovers, including a 900-foot river crossing.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.