In addition to the city's famous River Walk, San Antonio prides itself on its network of greenways, creekways and bike paths. More than 25 outdoor parks feature fitness training equipment, an added enticement for older park users to stay in shape, Irwin says. That's especially important for Hispanics, who suffer from health issues such as diabetes in greater numbers than the general population. "We encourage residents to go out and enjoy all of our facilities," she says. "With a little planning, you can create multi-day escapes that the entire family will love, without ever leaving San Antonio."
In south Florida, residents can't head for the hills, but they can head for urban parks, beaches and historic landmarks operated by the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department.
"Latino communities are well-known for being family-centric and living in multigenerational households, and Miami-Dade Parks offers something for every member of that tightly knit family household to enjoy," says spokeswoman Laura Phillips. For a lively getaway under the stars, Tropical Park hosts Noches Tropicales. The free concert series features Latin music and dance, with a party atmosphere that extends to the parking lot. There, food truck vendors play music as they offer savory Latin dishes to the crowd.
For more active family fun, kayak rides along Key Biscayne or canoe trips on the Coral Gables Waterway are two options available from Miami-Dade Parks EcoAdventure tours. An Everglades Expedition tour includes an airboat ride that stops at alligator holes, plus a watery nature walk known as the Swamp Tromp.
Though no alligators are involved, water activities are also plentiful along the shores of Lake Michigan. "Come Out and Play" is the slogan of the Chicago Park District, which oversees nearly 600 parks and 260 field houses. District-run adventures include sailing lessons on a 26 ft. keelboat and the Fish'N Kids summer program. The latter offers fishing lessons for kids 8 and older, with parents and grandparents welcome to sign up too. More experienced anglers will enjoy the city's 11 stocked park lagoons and other fishing locations where the catch might include salmon, trout or bass.
And finally, to really get away from it all, consider a visit to one of the birding areas or sanctuaries in Chicago's parks. In 2007, the city's lake front was named an important birding area by the National Audubon Society. A quiet afternoon surrounded by nature may prove that sometimes the best urban adventures are the most tranquil ones.
Also of interest: 10 great places to retire for the city life.