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Get Healthy and Happy in San Angelo's Great Outdoors

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More energy. Less stress. That’s what you’ll find and more when you step into the great outdoors of San Angelo, Texas.

Studies prove that being outside benefits both the body and mind. Unfortunately, some cities aren’t designed to get you outdoors, but San Angelo is. With sunny skies year-round, easy accessibility and award-winning urban design, it’s not surprising.

Being outdoors boosts energy and mental focus.

The American Planning Association added the Concho River Walk to the list of Great Places in America in 2017. This soon-to-be-expanded, 4-mile public walkway along the Concho River makes it easy to spend the day outside. Whether it’s fishing in the river, strolling the manicured pathways or relaxing on a park bench, feel the stress and tension melt away as you breathe the fresh air and soak up the warm sun.

Take advantage of your outdoor energy boost at The Bosque, one of the many attractions along the Concho River Walk. Rent paddleboats, keep score with miniature golf, play a round of volleyball or throw a bocce ball. Or you can test the claim that being outdoors improves mental focus by playing chess on its oversized board.

If chess isn’t your game, maybe golf is? A round or two on the greens is an excellent way to get some exercise, focus and spend a few hours outside. Three affordable public golf courses provide year-round access to the grassy freeways. Dallas Morning News ranked Quicksand Golf Course as one of the Top 10 public golf courses in Texas in 2013. And you might need a beverage at its full-service bar and grill after playing this challenging course. The municipal Santa Fe Park Golf Course offers nine holes amid public park facilities along the Concho River. And Mesquite Ranch Golf Club has an 18-hole Riverside Course and a nine-hole footgolf course. With the manicured greens and the wide-open spaces, it’s no wonder people get hooked on golf here.

Nature looks, smells and feels good.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and imagine you’re in a place filled with greenery, colorful flowers and bodies of water. Now open your eyes and you’re at the International Waterlily Collection, at the world’s largest display of water lilies at Civic League Park year-round. Though only a portion of the entire collection is assembled here, there are many specimens to examine. Different aromas elicit different responses, but a whiff of the American white waterlily’s sweet scent is guaranteed to make you smile.

Continue the simplistic and natural setting when you encounter San Angelo’s lakes and rivers. Go for a swim, float on a tube or simply wade in the shallows at Lake Nasworthy to enjoy the tranquility. Numerous recreational facilities and campsites at this popular fishing and boating destination will help you make the most of your time in and around the water.

While there, visit the San Angelo Nature Center on the lake’s southern bank, just across the Knickerbocker Road bridge. Unlike a traditional zoo, you are often allowed to interact with the center’s menagerie of animals indigenous to the Southwest. With the fresh air and warm sun, you’ve got the perfect educational experience. Your kids will forget all about their iPad.

West of town, an outdoor playland awaits at the San Angelo State Park. The O.C. Fischer Reservoir, the Concho River and 50 miles of trails form this natural utopia, where a stroll through the forest can do wonders. You’ll discover prehistoric footprints and the official Texas state longhorn herd. For an immersive experience, consider an overnight campout. The longer you treat yourselves to nature, the deeper the benefits. It’s good for your ears, your eyes, your heart and your mind. Sit quietly in the forest and hear it come to life. Listen to crickets chirp as you contemplate the night sky—unobstructed by city lights and urban sounds. It’s nature’s way of hitting your body’s reset button.

If a starlit campout isn’t in your cards, a visit to the Angelo State University Planetarium will suffice. Its high-definition digital Sci-Dome projector recreates the night sky by projecting as many as 500 million stars and celestial objects in its tilted dome theater.

The great outdoors sparks your creative spirit.

Thanks to the many ridable trails throughout San Angelo State Park, Livability.com ranked San Angelo No. 2 on its 2011 list of the 10 Best Places to Ride a Bike. Today, San Angelo boasts yet another reason to make the cut—the Red Arroyo Trail. This wide 4-mile, multiuse, concrete trail winds through the southwestern section of the city near Angelo State University and includes two Bike FixIt Stations. No worries if you left your wheels at home, stroll the trail and enjoy its whimsical art installations.

For more artistic sites and walking trails, visit the San Angelo Visitor Center and get information on the Sheep Statues of San Angelo and the Historic Murals of San Angelo. The sheep statues were commissioned to local artists in 2007 to celebrate the Miss Wool of America pageant and to commemorate the town’s history in wool production, as depicted in the “West Texas Ranching” mural. Other paintings in the self-guided mural tour include representations of the people, places and pastimes that shaped San Angelo into the vibrant community it is today. With 48 sheep statues and 14 historic murals located throughout town, you’ll get plenty of exercise while making the rounds.

Whether for the weekend, the day or just a few hours, commit to spending more of your free time outdoors and connecting with nature. Get started in San Angelo!

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