The city of Washington doesn’t have a country club within its boundaries. But the public can enjoy many club amenities in Rock Creek Park, at a fraction of what you’d pay at private clubs in the region. Here is a breakdown of the park’s tennis, golf and horseback riding activities.
You don’t have to wear whites at the Rock Creek Tennis Center, but this collection of 25 courts next to the H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Stadium is a step up from cracked neighborhood courts. Here, the floodlights above the hard courts allow you to play until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday until the end of September.
Group and private tennis lessons are available, including clinics with resident pros. If you just want to play, courts can be reserved online up to seven days in advance. A hard court costs $10 to $12 an hour, depending on day and time, while clay courts cost $20 an hour. Add $12 an hour if you want to rent a ball machine to work on your returns.
If the courts are too crowded — and they can be on weekends — look into reserving one of the three clay courts on Park Road, just south of Peirce Mill, by using the Tennis Center’s reservation system. Courts open at 7 a.m.
16th and Kennedy streets NW. 202-722-5949. www.rockcreektennis.com.
It may not be the prettiest or most challenging, but the Rock Creek Golf Course is an affordable option, especially Monday through Thursday, when it costs $15 for nine holes and $20 for 18. It costs $5 more on weekends. Another plus: How many courses sell half-smokes?
The back nine is temporarily closed to fix persistent issues with dry, sandy areas on the fairways. Customers are welcome to play the first nine holes twice and receive a coupon to play all 18 for the price of nine when the course reopens later this summer.
Golf lessons are available. Novices who wish to practice might find it easier to go to the sister course in East Potomac Park, which has a two-level driving range.
6100 16th St. NW. 202-882-7332. www.golfdc.com.
For the horsey set and the wanna-be horsey set, Rock Creek Park has the stables. With almost 60 horses at the Horse Center (many are privately owned, but others are used for lessons and trail rides), it may be time to pull your britches out of storage and saddle up.
Reserve a spot for one of the hour-long trail rides on weekends and some summer evenings during the week and see the park in a different way. Separately, on Sundays at 11 a.m., riders are guided by park ranger Tony Linforth, who gives a history and naturalist lesson along the way. Spots fill up quickly, so reserve online or by phone. There are also private lessons for children 6 and older, and pony rides for children at least 21 / 2 years old. Trail rides are $40.
5100 Glover Rd. NW. 202-362-0117. www.rockcreekhorsecenter.com .