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Outdoor Recreation in Rochester, MN

Rochester, MN has plenty of outdoor activities, including hiking, swimming and hunting.

By Marc Acton on April 12, 2016

University of Minnesota Rochester
Rochester / Courtesy of jpellgen under a CC 4.0 license.

Residents of Rochester, MN are never short of recreational options, thanks to a huge range of indoor and outdoor all-weather activities. Here are some of the best ways Rochester plays:


Rochester has no shortage of splashy swimming options. Choose any of the city’s welcoming public spots, like the Silver Lake Pool & Kiddie Pool, Soldier’s Field Pool, the Rochester Recreation Center, the Rochester Area Family YMCA, the Rochester Athletic Club, and the Northgate Health Club. In the summer, visitors can take a dip at the lakeside Foster Arend Beach.

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Winter Fun

Residents don’t have to hide indoors all winter with three outdoor public skating rinks and seven outdoor hockey rinks, as well as indoor ice at Rochester-Olmsted Recreation Center. Rochester’s Parks and Recreation Department maintains several trails for cross-country skiing and two sledding hills.

Indoors and Out

Outdoors, enjoy strolling through Rochester’s 100-plus parks and more than 85 miles of paved walking trails, or traverse the 12.5-mile Douglas State Trail that stretches from Rochester to Pine Island and offers snowmobiling and skiing in the winter. Or for relaxing on the water, check out Sail Pepin. If the temperatures are too low, stay warm walking the city’s skyways and subterranean walkways downtown, hit the lanes at the Bowlocity Entertainment Center or embrace your inner jumper at Bounce World.

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Sports for Young and Old

Rochester offers plenty of opportunities to take in baseball games, with the Rochester Honkers hitting the diamond in town. If you’re more into playing than watching, try the Rochester Softball Association. Roca Climbing & Fitness is perfect for would-be mountaineers, or for sports entertainment check out Deer Creek Speedway, Mayo Civic Center High School tournaments, or the SkiDox Water Ski Team, which has been entertaining Rochester area residents for more than 56 years.


With more than seven top-flight courses nearby, Rochester is laden with links. Enjoy city-owned greens like Eastwood, Northern Hills and Soldiers Field, or explore the fairways at any of the area’s beautiful private courses, including the Rochester Golf & Country Club, Willow Creek Golf Course and the Golf Digest-recognized Somerby Golf Club in Byron. But if you’re not a longball player, check out Old Barn Resort’s mini golf course or Rochester Indoor Golf Center.

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Animals, Nature and Hunting

Rochester also has many nature-themed attractions, with the Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center, the Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo and the Quarry Hill Nature Center all close by. The region is also packed with local game, including Canada geese, ducks and pheasant, with several guided hunt services available. The National Eagle Center and Whitewater State Park also take advantage of Mother Nature, with plenty of great spots for bald eagle watching, trout fishing, camping and hiking.

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