Body / Living Well


Open-Air Gyms Land in Southwest Florida

Enjoy the natural beauty while working out in style.

BY September 1, 2022
Outdoor Gym
(Photo by Dan Cutrona)

No need to miss out on the sunshine to keep up with your fitness routine. Thanks to a bumper crop of fully stocked, alfresco gyms, Florida’s leafy outdoors can fuel your exercise motivation.

The crown jewel of the outdoor fitness movement is the two-year-old The Factory, tucked among the soccer, football and baseball fields at Paradise Coast Sports Complex, a newer facility that’s become a hub for elite-level youth sports in East Naples. The best way to describe The Factory? “It’s like a jungle gym for adults,” marketing manager David Wasson says. The setup is reminiscent of the TV series American Ninja Warrior, with its monkey bars, climbing nets and training stairs. There’s an open-air weight room and a cushy area for yoga classes. Get a day pass for the membership-access equipment or check into the free, public-use areas, such as a 1-mile lake trail with fitness stations.

Other local parks are also upping their outdoor fitness game. Closer to downtown Naples, Baker Park has a small space on a padded surface with equipment, including chin-up bars, an elliptical machine and a recumbent bike; Cambier Park has similar gear spread out around its playground area. Lakes Park in Fort Myers has three fitness stations along a walking trail featuring dozens of exercise options, including stairs and pull-up bars; each station has fitness guides to explain exercises geared toward beginners and advanced athletes.

And, in Cape Coral, Joe Stonis Park, Saratoga Lake Park and Del Prado Linear Park all have fitness stations to give visitors the option of doing a full-body workout as they lap around the trails. How’s that for a walk in the park?