America’s Best College Gyms
Photo courtesy of the University of North Dakota
It’s 8 a.m., Monday morning, your alarm goes off and with your first conscious thought, you realize you’re excited to go to the gym. Okay, maybe you’re not excited to hit the gym first thing in the morning, but the students at these colleges might be looking forward to their daily workout. That’s because the fitness centers at these universities are more incredible than you could possibly imagine.
If you’re anything like most of the population, your local gym has the standard stuff—treadmills, ellipticals, free weights and so on—but for these college students, a standard gym would be a sad scene. The rec centers they frequent have features like rock walls, waterfalls, floating indoor tracks, lazy rivers and even on-site healthy cooking demonstrations. These college gyms might even edge out some of the very best gyms in America.
In narrowing down the best of the best, we considered everything from the size and layout of the gym to the amenities and extras they offered. From Arizona to Maine, these are America’s best college gyms and recreational centers. Now who wants to go back to college?
University of Maine
In a place that sees about 70 inches of snow annually, with January temperatures hovering around the 10 to 20-degree range, a great indoor fitness facility is crucial. Luckily for students at the University of Maine, the school invested $25 million and completed the stunningly beautiful New Balance Student Recreation Center in 2010. The 87,000-square-foot facility houses everything you would expect in a state-of-the-art facility—and much more. Floor to ceiling windows shine light on 140 pieces of cardio and weight lifting equipment, a rock climbing wall and an indoor aquatic complex, which houses a 20-person hot tub, a lap pool and a co-ed sauna. Students looking for outdoor adventure can rent cross-country skis and snowshoes from the rec center to explore the 15 miles of groomed trails in the adjacent DeMeritt Forest.
University of Texas at Austin
When it comes to recreational facilities, the University of Texas at Austin isn’t messing around. Nine facilities with a total of 500,000 square feet of indoor space offer students ample room to stretch out and get fit. The 250,000-square-foot Gregory Gym is one of the more popular fitness spots on campus as it has everything from the machines you’d expect to fringe offerings like wallyball courts. The sprawling Gregory Gym Aquatic Complex is home to five pools (two indoors and three outdoors), an outdoor spa that accommodates 20 and a deck and lounging space for students who want to work on their tan.