Inline Skating 'Round the World - My Family Travels

Discover some favorite inline skating destinations in the United States and around the world.

As a popular recreational sport in the U.S. and the world (over 17 million Americans alone actively skate), inline skating promises to be a “destination influencer,” as they say in the trade. An estimated 65% of all 11-year-olds in the US own in-line skates. When your tweeners mature, what are their top destinations going to be?

• Client to travel agent: “Do you have blade in/blade out suites overlooking Hyde Park?”
• “Are my hotel facilities in St. Thomas blade-accessible?”
• “Do I have to change blades for the Captain’s Dinner on the QEII?”

Nick Skally of Rollerblade, Inc. in Hamilton, NJ, the company that is to ‘rollerblading’ what Xerox Corporation is to photocopying, suggested we check out, for a list of a few great places to skate.

Top US Rollerblading Destinations

1. Central Park, New York: When the Park Drive is closed to traffic between 10am-3pm weekdays and throughout the weekends, it’s a scenic 6-mile loop.

2. Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: West River Drive to Kelly Drive is closed to traffic weekend mornings April – November and offers views of rowing teams practicing on the Schulkyll River.

3. Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC: Sections of Beach Drive are closed to traffic weekends allowing skaters to enjoy the 2-mile run. The Capital Crescent Trail from Georgetown skirts the Potomac for 10 miles.

4. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: Full of the eye-catching pedestrian traffic that bladers skate for, the 1.5- mile-long promenade on this popular beach offers lots of fresh-squeezed juice breaks.

5. Lakefront Path, Chicago, Illinois: The pedestrian path rimming Lake Michigan and extending to the South Side runs 18.5 miles. The popular Navy Pier had a 1 mile promenade along the path where skaters can enjoy some live entertainment or carnival atmosphere.

6. The Lakes, Minneapolis, Minnesota: When local ice hockey coaches developed in-line skates for summer practice, they sent their teams rolling down 10 miles of pathways that surrounds the Downtown chain of lakes with skyline views of Minnesota.

7. Veloway at Circle C, Austin, Texas: The city-sponsored skating path, open daily sunrise to sunset, runs 3.1 miles through rolling hills.

8. Boulder Creek Path, Boulder, Colorado: From the Public Library you can blade past many local attractions on the 7-mile stretch such as fishing ponds and rock-climbing parks.

9. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California: Every Sunday, half of JFK Drive is closed to traffic so bladers can play roller-hockey or free skate.

10. The Strand, Los Angeles, California: This paved 22-mile path, open 24 hours for cyclists, strollers and skaters, runs through the beaches of South Bay, from Palos Vedres through the South Bay and Santa Monica, then ends at Will Rodgers State Park, where Malibu begins. The Highway 1 for skaters offers a path running along the Pacific Ocean with views of the quaint beach cities.

11. Little Miami Trail, Ohio: Recently extended to over 70 miles, this trail runs from Springfield South southeast to the Little Miami Golf Center, stretching through four counties. It is entirely paved and runs through several towns offering amenities, including Xenia and Yellow Springs. Best of all, the trail follows the scenic Little Miami River.

12. Pere Marquette Trail, Michigan: The Pere Marquette Trail runs 95 miles from Midland to Baldwin, northwest of Detroit. Unfortunately, the continuous paved part is only 30 miles from Midland to Clare. Still, this part of the trail is freshly paved and offers amenities in the towns of Midland and Clare.

13. Minuteman Rail Trail, Boston, Massachusetts: The Minuteman Bikeway is 11 miles from start to finish. Starting at Davis Square you will work your way over a smooth brick that converts into a level highway pavement which finishes up in Bedford, MA. This pathway includes on- and off-ramps, stop signs and a separate passing zone, making your ultimate aerobic workout smooth and easy.

14. East Bay Bicycle Path, Providence, Rhode Island: A 14.5 mile asphalt-paved route, this path is smooth enough for beginners and quick enough for speed skaters. Located off of the Veterans’ Memorial Parkway in East Providence and traveling to Colt State Park in Bristol, RI, the path runs along the Providence River providing scenic waterfront views. There are also plenty of restrooms and restaurants along the path where skaters can refuel during the long haul.

15. Pinellas Trail, St. Petersburg, Florida: Put on your skates … and some sunscreen! Covering 34 miles, the trail offers a variety of scenery and range of difficulty from Tarpon Springs down to St. Petersburg. Mile markers allow skaters to easily calculate mileage and location along the trail. There are plenty of restaurants and shops along the path providing skaters with food, drink and restrooms.

International Blading

FTF’s student researchers report that inline skating has hit Europe big-time. In Rome, a city of uneven cobblestone streets, skaters favor the Piazza Navona, whose large oval expanse, actually an ancient racecourse, once hosted the European speed skating championships.

In Holland, the miles of canal paths and coastal promenades used by bicyclists welcome skaters; in Paris, skaters share the colorful Les Halles district with daredevil skateboarders.

And Germany is the number one skating destination in Europe — with a market almost as big as the USA! Click on and go to ‘Skating the Infobahn,’ for skate parks, rinks and tips on skating in Australia, Canada, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, UK, and several other countries.

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