Words by Lindsey Powell


The long awaited sunshine has finally arrived! Summer is upon us and I have paddle boards, parks, biking, and hiking in my sights! I’m always looking for fun ways to keep myself and my family active and summer provides some amazing outdoor options. This article will explain why you should take advantage of the sunshine season, get out of the house, and experience the great outdoors. I’ll share some of my favorite, no or low cost, local outdoor activities for your family and I’ll even set you up with a great outdoor workout to help jumpstart your summer of fitness.


Sweating Outside v. Sweating in the Gym


So… why is sweating outside any better for me than sweating in a gym? Well, aside from the well-established benefits of physical activity, spending time outdoors (with sunscreen of course) provides a number of additional health benefits that make getting out of the house too good to pass up. Numerous studies have shown that, compared with exercising indoors, people that exercised outdoors had greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy levels, and improved sleep patterns. They tend to work out more regularly through the non-summer months, also children that participate in regular outdoor activities tend to live healthier and more active lives. Outdoor enthusiasts even show lower levels of obesity, anxiety, stress, and depression. Not to mention all that sweet, sweet Vitamin D! Apart from the health benefits, getting out and visiting recreational areas helps support our local and state parks and fund local and state wildlife initiatives. See I wasn’t kidding… we should really be outside more often!

Granbury has some great options for the whole family, most of which are linked by the 2.7 mile long, Memories in Time Trail. This hike and bike trail starts at Shanley Park behind City Hall and winds its way through town ending the Granbury Airport. This paved and shaded trail connects Shanley Park, the Firefighter’s Memorial & Park, Granbury Disc Golf Park, the Granbury Dog Park, City Park, and the soccer/baseball fields. This is one of my favorite options for everything from a morning run to a weekend outing with the whole family. Having everything in one stop makes outdoor time with young kids more manageable, if they start to get bored or tired on a walk we take a pit stop at one of the parks along the trail until they are ready to go again. For those of you that crave a little more nature in your outdoor adventures, the Acton Nature Center is a great nearby option.  

The Nature Center is located in Acton off of Smoky Hill Court, and is a 74 acre wildlife refuge and park that hosts the Elizabeth Crockett Memorial Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden and 5 miles of hiking and biking trails. It’s shorter and easily navigated trails make it a great nature hike for family members of all ages. This was the park where my kids first experienced hiking; you can pack a lunch, hike out to the garden, and sit on a pallet watch the butterflies and hummingbirds float from flower to flower. When you’re ready to take the next step in your hiking game take the short drive out to Glen Rose and visit Dinosaur Valley State Park. This is my 12 year old son’s favorite hiking destination! The miles of nature trails, steep hills, river crossings, and dinosaur tracks make for a fun and challenging adventure with some great educational stops along the way. Our favorite trail for a short hike is the mile long Paluxy River Trail while the Cedar Brake and Black-Capped Vireo Trails give you some amazing longer options, just remember to pack drinks and snacks! Being outside is not just about hiking and biking, after all what would summer be without water!? Luckily, you don’t have to go far for some great choices.

Let’s be honest, it can get mind blowingly hot here (I’m talking baking cookies on your dash hot) and when it’s that hot, there are few things more appealing than getting in the water. That’s why another of my family’s favorite summer activities is hopping on a kayak or paddle board and heading out to explore the lake. There are a couple different locations on the lake that rent kayaks and boards and they all run about the same price. We tend to rent singles kayaks or boards for the adults and big kids at Granbury City Beach Park. They even have two seater kayaks for when we have a little one with us. Paddling around the lake is a fantastic arm and back exercise. For some other options outside our little town there are also rental locations on lakes and rivers in Cleburne, Mineral Wells, and in Downtown Fort Worth near the Panther Island Pavilion.  

One of my personal favorite activities to do outdoors is running in the local 5k-10k runs!  While they can sound intimidating these fun runs are exactly what the name says they are… FUN.  The fun runs are fantastic events that bring local communities together to support causes from Cancer Awareness to supporting your local Kiwanis’ Club. These events are perfect for any fitness level! Contrary to popular belief you do not need to be in shape before you try your first run. Remember the goal is to complete the run, not win it. Fun runs are also a great place to bring the kids, the most major races include a 1 mile fun run for kids of all ages and once they are old enough, the 5Ks themselves have more than their fair share of kids participating. We have several just in Granbury. Each spring is kicked off with the Acton Nature Run while every July 4th, the Kiwanis’ Club hosts the Firecracker 5K.  

Regardless of what you choose to do though the important thing is that you get out there and stay active. If its paddling and biking or just moving your workouts outside. Always remember when doing any strenuous physical activity outside you are using sunscreen and have plenty of water readily available! Enjoy the summer months and soak up the sun (wearing sunscreen) while on your way to a healthier life.


Outdoor Recreational Areas in Hood County

Shanley Park

Houston St and Hwy 51


Firefighters Memorial & Park

561 N Travis St


Granbury Disc Golf Park

600 W Moore St


Granbury Dog Park

600 W Moore St


City Park

Corner of Pearl Street and Park Street


Acton Nature Center

6430 Smoky Hill Ct #104


Granbury City Beach Park

505 E Pearl St


Elizabeth Crockett Memorial Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden

Acton Cemetery FM 167


Dinosaur Valley State Park

1629 Park Rd 59

Summertime Bootcamp!


Running for Beginners

10 week running program*


  1. 1 min run, 2 min walk (7x)
  2. 2 min run, 2 min walk (5x)
  3. 3 min run, 2 min walk (4x)
  4. 5 min run, 2 min walk (3x)
  5. 6 min run, 90 sec walk (3x)
  6. 8 min run, 90 sec walk (2x)
  7. 10 min run, 90 sec walk (2x)
  8. 12 min run, 1 min walk (2x)
  9. 15 min run, 1 min walk, 5 min run, 1 min walk
  10. Continuous run for 20 min


*use a path with hills!!


You do not need equipment to participate in a bootcamp style workout. You can improve your strength, flexibility and balance when using only your body weight.


However, if you do have equipment lying around, and if you are familiar and comfortable enough handling free weights you can definitely add them into these daily workouts!


After you complete 1 round of the daily workout, Rest 2 minutes then repeat as many times as possible. Enjoy!



100 jumping jacks

50 crunches

20 tricep dips

50 mountain climbers

50 squats

20 lunges (each leg)

25 calf raises

50 Russian twists

15 burpees

15 push-ups

1 min plank



60 jumping jacks

50 vertical leg crunches

20 sit-ups

15 tricep dips

80 mountain climbers

20 squats

10 side lunges

15 leg lifts

50 bicycle crunches

15 push-ups

40 Russian twists



90 jumping jacks

20 tricep dips

10 sit-ups

30 bird-dogs

30 squats

50 high knees

40 crunches

10 oblique crunches

20 standing calf raises

1 min plank



100 jumping jacks

25 vertical leg crunches (v-ups)

20 squats

20 push-ups

100 mountain climbers

50 Russian twists

30 second side plank (each side)

10 lunge split jumps

5 jump squats

40 high knees

1 min plank



60 jumping jacks

40 crunches

10 sit-ups

10 tricep dips

20 Plank jacks

20 side lunges (each side)

15 incline push-ups

10 oblique crunches

30 Butt kickers

20 jump squats

15 (v-ups)



50 jumping jacks

100 squats

50 high knees

50 Russian twists

20 push-ups

50 lunges (each leg)

20 side lunges (each leg)

20 Plank jacks

20 bird dogs

1 min plank