McAllen’s Hike & Bike Trails offer 15 miles of paved pathways where cardio-lovers can bike, jog or walk through beautifully maintained and preserved landscapes. Whether you’re a lone wolf or you run with the pack, this non-gym conditioning is excellent for all levels of fitness. The Bicentennial Hike & Bike Trail is a 6.1-mile tree-lined trail that starts downtown and heads north, while the 2ndStreet Hike & Bike trail weaves its 8.3-mile trail through more residential areas of the city. From pre-dawn to late night, the trails offer joggers a free alternative to breaking a sweat. Don’t have a bike? Rent one from one of the 8 McAllen B-Cycle stations located throughout the city.
Visitors can connect with nature and get some much-needed fresh air at this hidden gem. The McAllen Nature Center has undergone a dramatic transformation, and its free fitness programs have given the park a new life. Channel your inner yogi at its most popular offering, Yoga Under the Oaks, which draws 1,700 participants annually. It takes place Saturdays from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, and it’s BYOM so make sure you bring your own mat and water. Find your balance at Tai Chi in the Park or try your hand at Pilates, both programs are offered free of charge. The 20-acre nature center also boasts a 3/4-mile trail loop where you can get a healthy dose of heart-pumping hiking at Friday Night Hikes or Power Walk with a Naturalist where nature-lovers can break a sweat while learning about native plants and animals that call the nature center home. All programs are free, but donations are welcomed.
Oval Park is one of the city’s premier outdoor spaces. The palm-lined boulevard of the McAllen Convention Center’s main entrance opens into a 2.4-acre park, shaded with native trees and pergolas. This expansive space features an impressive water fountain that leads into a reflective pond. The park hosts a variety of outdoor events throughout the year, including Sunset Live free concert series and marquee festivals like Fiesta de Palmas and McAllen’s ultimate cultural festival, MXLAN. Pro-tip: Visit the park on Saturdays when you can rent a swan-themed pedal boat and float around the pond.
Put your people-watching skills to the test at Town Lake at Firemen’s Park. This hidden away health-minded hangout features a 4-acre man-made lake where water park-goers can rent kayaks and pedal boats or challenge friends to a game of sand volleyball. New to the park, yoga classes are offered on Saturday mornings, as well as runner’s yoga on Wednesday evenings.
McAllen is known for repurposing old buildings and parks, and Daffodil Disc Golf Park is a prime example of this. Locals rarely used the often-overlooked green space before the Parks Department converted the underutilized park into a 9-hole, recreational disc golf course. After rapidly gaining fanfare, extra parking was added, and landscaping features were enhanced. The par-3 course is fitting for both seasoned disc throwers refining their technique or first-timers trying to upgrade their hipster cred. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, and tournaments are often held on weekends.