Guide to Howard County 2016: Recreation

Valentina Rader of Columbia holds tight to grandfather Gerardo Vasta's hand as she walks through the water park at Swansfield Pool.
Valentina Rader of Columbia holds tight to grandfather Gerardo Vasta's hand as she walks through the water park at Swansfield Pool. (Alan White / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Whether you are always on the go or just looking to kick back and relax, you’ll find an activity that fits your interests — from hiking and biking to bird-watching and golf.

The county offers a range of options for youth and adults looking to improve their arms — golf, baseball and volleyball included — whether it’s to prepare for an upcoming sport season or just to have a few laughs.
Tennis buffs can practice their swings at the Columbia Association’s three outdoor tennis clubs, nine indoor tennis courts and numerous courts at the county’s parks or private tennis facilities.
Other sports facilities include:

Columbia SportsPark
Miniature golf, batting cages,in-line skating, skateboarding
410-715-3054, columbiasportspark.org

Rocky Gorge Golf Fairway
Practice range, batting cages, mini-golf
301-725-0888, rockygorgegolf.com

Soccer Dome
Indoor turf fields
443-755-0014, soccerdome.com

The Reaper’s Den
Indoor sports training
410-381-4571, reapersden.com

Volleyball House and Indoor Soccer Arena
410-579-1007, vbhouse.com

Bicycling clubs and events abound. Whether it’s the Howard County Cycling Club’s weekly road rides or Explore Columbia’s family-oriented spins, a number of cycling organizations offer residents the chance to pull the bike out of the garage. Local businesses Princeton Sports and Race Pace bicycle shops also organize group rides.
For runners of all ages, the Howard County Striders (striders.net) organize weekly races of 2 miles to 15 kilometers. The group hosts one of the nation’s largest women-only races each summer and Clyde’s American 10K in the spring. And, for fitness-oriented moms, Fit4Mom offers workouts incorporating strollers into activities.
The Columbia Triathlon, held in May, is one of the country’s best three-sport competitive challenges with a 1.5K swim, a 41K bike ride and a 10K run at Centennial Park (ulmanfund.org/event/columbia-triathlon). The Iron Girl women’s triathlon is held in August

(sponsored by county’s Office on Aging)

443-364-8064, howardcounty.fit4mom.com

Howard County Striders

Mid-Maryland Triathlon Club

For those want to do more than walk, the county offers a few places for residents to roll their way to fun.

Columbia Ice Rink
Ice skating
410-730-0322, columbiaassociation.com

Supreme Sports Club
Roller skating
410-381-5355, columbiaassociation.com

Skate Spot at Centennial Park
Outdoor skate park
410-313-7271, howardcountymd.gov/centennialpark

Rockburn Park
Mountain bike course
410-313-4455, rockburnskillspark.org

Alpha Ridge Park in Marriottsville
Two outdoor in-line hockey rinks
410-313-4700, howardcountymd.gov/RAP


Cattail Creek Country Club (private)
410-489-4653, cattailcreekcc.com

Fairway Hills Golf Course (semiprivate)
410-730-1112, fairwayhillsgolfclub.com

Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club (semiprivate)
410-730-5980, hobbitsglengolfclub.com

The Club at Turf Valley (private)
410-465-1504, turfvalley.com

The Timbers at Troy Golf Course (public)
410-313-4653, timbersgolf.com

Waverly Woods Golf Club (public)
410-313-9182, waverlywoods.com

Willow Springs Golf Course (public)
410-442-7700, willowspringsgolfcourse.com

Baltimore is home to the 2013 Super Bowl champion Ravens football team and the 2014 American League East Division champion Orioles baseball team. Major Arena Soccer League’s Baltimore Blast and the Annapolis-based Chesapeake Bayhawks, a professional lacrosse team, also call the area home.
Washington boasts the 2015 NFC East champion Redskins (football), Capitals (hockey), Wizards (basketball), Mystics (women’s basketball), D.C. United (outdoor soccer) and the Nationals (baseball).
Three nearby minor-league baseball squads — the Bowie Baysox, Frederick Keys and Aberdeen IronBirds — serve as farm teams for the Orioles.
Among area colleges and universities, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland are national powers in lacrosse, while Maryland and the U.S. Naval Academy play top-rated football schedules. Maryland also consistently hosts ranked men’s and women’s basketball teams, after its recent move into the Big Ten conference, a powerhouse in Division I sports.
Howard Community College fields teams at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III level in several sports.
At the high school level, Howard County has produced state champions in 20 sports.
Football, soccer, swimming — the area’s youth leagues encourage activity, competition and growing skills. Clubs and organizations throughout the county offer baseball, tennis, softball, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, rugby, cross country, ice hockey, figure skating, track and field, volleyball, football, cheerleading and lacrosse.
Other youth organizations offer group fitness classes or gym facilities for kids.

Atholton Youth Recreation Association
877-297-2421, ayra.com

Columbia Clippers Swim Team
410-381-0020, clippersswim.org

Columbia Ravens

Elkridge Youth Organization

Howard County Recreation & Parks
410-313-4700, howardcountymd.gov/RAP

Howard County Lacrosse Program

Howard County Youth Program

Kangaroo Kids Precision Jump Rope Team
301-490-4995, kangarookids.org

Savage Boys and Girls Club

Soccer Association of Columbia/Howard County
410-203-9590, sackick.com

Western Howard County Soccer

Western Howard County Warhawks

The Y of Central Maryland Dancel Family Center
410-465-4334, ymaryland.org

For adults, the competition can be as serious as the athlete, and the variety of league sports — many sponsored by the county’s Department of Recreation & Parks (howardcountymd.gov/rap) — include golf, tennis, bowling, basketball, softball, kickball, cricket and ultimate disc.

More than 500 athletes with intellectual and related developmental disabilities compete in 18 sports, including soccer, tennis, swimming, golf, powerlifting and bocce. 410-740-0500 or somdhc.org.

Other activities for active Howard County residents include bowling at one of two facilities, climbing an indoor rock wall at Earth Treks and hopping on a horse at private riding stables or the Columbia Horse Center.

Brunswick Columbia Lanes
410-381-7750, brunswickbowling.com

Brunswick Normandy Lanes

Columbia Horse Center
301-776-5850, columbiahorsecenter.com

Earth Treks
410-872-0060, earthtreksclimbing.com

Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks maintains 38 regional and neighborhood with trails, courts, sports fields and pavilions. Visit howardcountymd.gov/rap for a park directory, or call 410-313-4700. To rent a pavilion, call 410-313-4682.
Maryland Park Service (800-830-3974 or dnr2.maryland.gov) operates two state parks with portions in Howard County. Both offer hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing and horseback riding trails.

Patapsco Valley State Park
8020 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City

Patuxent River State Park
11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg

Columbia Association offers 23 outdoor pools, two mini water parks and indoor pools at three gyms: Supreme Sports Club (410-381-5355), Columbia Gym (410-531-0800) and Columbia Swim Center (410-730-7000). A number of private gyms and clubs also offer pools.

Columbia Association pools

Roger Carter Community Center

A 93.5-mile pathway system (which officials are planning to expand) honeycombs Columbia, and there are miles of hiking trails in Patapsco Valley State Park and in Patuxent River State Park. It’s 2 miles around Lake Elkhorn, 1.4 miles around Wilde Lake, 2.5 miles around Centennial Lake and 1 mile around Lake Kittamaqundi. The county’s Department of Recreation & Parks also maintains dozens of regional and neighborhood parks with trails.