Cover story for the Pickleball Magazine September/October 2021 Issue. Read the full issue HERE.
Pickleball in Paradise
By Laura Gainor
As the fastest-growing sport in the country continues to expand its footprint, vacationers are choosing travel destinations with pickleball in mind. So, if you’re looking to play pickleball in a little bit of paradise, here are just some of the amazing destinations waiting for you.
Banning Lewis Ranch
If you’re looking for a master-planned housing community to surround your growing family with breathtaking views and award-winning schools, or you’re seeking a retirement community to fulfill your desire for an active lifestyle that includes playing pickleball every day, be sure to check out Banning Lewis Ranch. Banning Lewis Ranch is the fastest-growing community in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with 75+ acres of trails and open space, community parks, water park, and community centers with amazing amenities, including 16 beautiful pickleball courts.
Banning Lewis Ranch offers leagues and regular programming-eight in Vista Park open to the entire community and eight newly opened courts exclusively available to residents of The Retreat—Colorado Springs’ first 55+ active adult, resort-style community, and private enclave within Banning Lewis Ranch.
For more details, visit BanningLewisRanch.com
Horseshoe Bay Resort
Just 45 minutes west of Austin, Texas, the Horseshoe Bay Resort is nestled next to one of the most “Instagrammed” beaches in the Texas Hill Country overlooking Lake Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ). The upscale resort offers a unique lake resort experience, featuring eight pickleball courts, championship golf on three courses, casual and upscale dining overlooking Lake LBJ, fun family activities on the water or s’mores next to the fire, and annual entertainment and food events such as the Beer by the Bay Music Festival.
Whether you’re visiting the resort as a guest or joining The Club as a member, the resort offers daily lessons and clinics with on-site IPTPA-certified instructors Get your doubles partner and book one of the resort’s Ultimate Pickleball Weekend Camps, which includes a two-night stay, nine hours of professional instruction and supervised match play, lunch on Saturday followed by beer and wine, pickleball drills on Sunday morning paired with mimosas and Bloody Marys. A pickleball enthusiast’s dream vacation!
Visit hsbresort.com to explore the resort’s amenities and view the upcoming calendar of events.
JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
The JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa saw the opportunity early on to create a pickleball getaway like no other for the avid players, as the number of pickleball players continued to increase year over year.
The 17 pickleball courts, plus an expansive center court with a 400-person capacity, offer spectacular views of the gorgeous Arizonian desert. On-site private lessons, daily clinics, group one-on-one instruction and ball machine rentals provide pickleball enthusiasts the opportunity to improve their competitive game, or simply join in on some pick-up games. With the new USA Pickleball corporate offices onsite, you never know who you’ll get the opportunity to play against!
While staying at the resort, guests can also enjoy the endless relaxation serenities at The Revive Spa, sip a cocktail inside one of the poolside cabanas, join friends on one of the two picturesque, 18-hole Championship courses and learn about the Arizona history, flora and fauna on a leisurely trail walk or bike ride.
Visit Marriott.com for details on JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.
Las Vegas Plaza Hotel & Casino
Stunning, picturesque pickleball, Las Vegas’ best tourist entertainment, and incredible city view is what the Las Vegas Plaza Hotel & Casino has to offer. It’s a stop you don’t want to miss on your pickleball vacation tour.
As a host to one of the largest pickleball tournaments of the year, the Las Vegas Pickleball Open, the Plaza Hotel has 12 permanent pickleball courts and one championship court, which is convertible to four temporary tournament level courts.
In addition to its outstanding pickleball amenities, guests can enjoy all the best that a Vegas experiences a vacation has to offer including the casino festivities, bingo, and the 70,000-sq.-ft. pool deck, giving plenty of space for relaxation and entertainment. Plus, right next to the pickleball courts!
Visit PlazaHotelCasino.com for more information and a full list of upcoming entertainment events and pickleball tournaments.
With Pickleball being a major part of the brand’s DNA, Margaritaville—the global lifestyle brand inspired by the songs and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett—is the title sponsor for the USA Pickleball National Championships. In addition to Latitude Margaritaville 55-and-better-communities, developed with Minto Communities, it has courts at a few resorts including Margaritaville Lake Resort—Lake Conroe, and the soon-to-open Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana.
Latitude Margaritaville communities are located in Daytona Beach, Hilton Head, and Watersound in the Florida “panhandle.” These active adult communities offer pickleball clinics and lessons, and feature 10 courts each.
Latitude Margaritaville offers an irresistible concoction of fun, food, music, and friends. Amenities include a state-of-the-art Fins Up! Fitness Center with indoor whirlpool and lap pool; Latitude Bar & Chill restaurant; lagoon-style Paradise Pool with beach-like entry and swim-up Tiki Island; and Changes in Attitude poolside bar, along with nature trails, pickleball and tennis courts, and a Barkaritaville Dog Park.
Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach residents even have their own private Beach Club on the Atlantic Ocean, with shuttle service from the community to the beach and back. Phase Two amenities open soon and include a Workin’ N’ Playin’ Center with arts & crafts and multipurpose rooms; Last Mango Theater for performances, dances, and banquets; Hangar Workshop for golf cart tune-ups; even more tennis courts, pickleball courts and bocce ball courts with lighting for night play; and a Barkaritaville Pet Spa.
Minto Communities / The Isles of Collier Preserve
Minto Communities has been ahead of the curve from the early emergence of pickleball to it becoming one of the nation’s most popular sports. The developers anticipated the growing popularity of pickleball based on listening to their community homeowners, and gave them what they wanted! And that was pickleball courts and a healthy lifestyle.
Minto and Margaritaville joined forces in sponsoring the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships Powers by Margaritaville in Naples, Florida. Minto’s The Isles of Collier Preserve community is adjacent and connected by a gate to the East Naples Community Park, headquarters for the US Open, which brings hundreds of players and thousands of fans to the Naples area each year.
Minto also partners with the USOPC to present a pickleball instruction program that includes beginner lessons, private lessons, small group lessons and group clinics.
In addition to the pickleball lifestyle, the community’s luxury homes overlook miles of scenic kayak and hiking trails. Stroll along Fifth Avenue in Naples and discover a vast array of premier boutiques, art galleries, fine dining and entertainment opportunities.
All of us pickleball players also love a good beach day, so explore all that the beaches have to offer along the Paradise Coast on the Gulf of Mexico.
Visit mintousa.com for more information.
Last year, my family planned a trip to Florida to visit my sister. While there, we visited Nocatee, a nearby master-planned co-community. As pickleball enthusiasts, my husband and I were so excited to see 12 brand-new pickleball courts with an expansive on-site waterpark we thought only existed on a tropical vacation. We were so enthusiastic that upon returning home to Illinois, we sold our home and are now happy residents of Nocatee.
Just a few minutes from beach views and kayak launches, this master-planned community in Ponte Vedra, Florida (near Jacksonville), offers those 12 pickleball courts for residents as well as two waterparks for the kids that include waterslides. There are paths exclusively for golf carts that each family purchases once they move in, giving you an out-of-the-ordinary ride to a local restaurant or grocery store.
Other amenities include dog parks within each community neighborhood, some of the top-rated schools in Florida, an action-packed events calendar for residents and their guests, and holiday festivities that include golf cart parades, waterpark haunted houses and holiday light shows.
Del Webb Nocatee, a 55+ active adult community, also features its own pickleball and tennis courts within the gated community, as well as a clubhouse for resident activities and events.
Visit Nocatee.com for details.
OutDoor Resort Indio
The perfect desert oasis, OutDoor Resort Indio (ORI) is an exclusively Class A motorcoach community designed for active adults, located just minutes from Old Town La Quinta and Indian Wells Tennis Garden, and a few miles from fabulous shopping on El Paseo, Palm Desert. It offers a total of 419 individually owned lots wrapped around an 18-hole executive golf course, six permanent pickleball courts, and two tennis courts.
ORI Pickleball Association (ORIPA) has over 150 members. There is organized play most days with paddles on the fence by ability levels, round robins, scrambles and men’s/ladies’ days. Also, ORIPA provides free lessons weekly based on ability. The club regularly hosts parties throughout the season for both full-time residents and guests.
Many pickleball enthusiasts frequently return because of the hosted social events and its proximity to popular tournaments throughout the year. From the photos we’ve seen, it looks to be quite the spot for those seeking a fun, social pickleball getaway!
For more details, visit orindio.com.
Palm Creek Resort & Residences
With the motto “Because we waited for this moment, and it’s time to take full advantage of it,” if you’re 55 and over and haven’t heard of it yet, you need to check out the Palm Creek Resort & Residences. With some of the most incredible scenic views, there are 32 pickleball courts that have become popular for both athletic play and ongoing social events throughout the year.
Organized round robins begin daily at 8 a.m. on 24 courts for levels 2.0 through 5.0. The remaining eight courts are reserved for open play and challenge courts each morning starting at 8 a.m.
Other amenities on-site include billiards, yoga, swimming, dining, softball, horseshoes, tennis and plenty of activities to do with your friends—from bingo and arts & crafts to sewing and woodworking. A dream way of living an active lifestyle!
For a full list of upcoming tournaments, events and resort amenities, visit PalmCreek.com.
If you follow the pickleball tournament circuit, you frequently hear of the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, its amenities, and professional pickleball instruction given by on-site pro Sarah Ansboury. Palmetto Dunes is one of the top pickleball vacation destinations in the country and host of the annual APP Hilton Head Open.
Located in the heart of Hilton Head Island, incredible oceanfront views for three miles along the Atlantic Ocean beachfront provide the perfect venue for three world-class golf courses, vacation rentals, a full-service marina, and an 11-mile lagoon system.
In addition to daily offerings including round robins and clinics for players of all levels, the Palmetto Dunes Pickleball Center is now a world-class destination for professional pickleball players across the globe, with 24 dedicated pickleball courts and state-of-the-art lighting. Among the popular pickleball offerings are the Daily Round Robins, a pro supervised session with players progressing up the ladder depending on play results, the “Daily Dose” clinic that teaches skill development on techniques and strategies to help improve every area of the court, and Pickleball 101, which helps beginners to learn the basics such as rules, scoring, court positioning, etc.
For more information, visit PalmettoDunes.com for an unforgettable vacation experience for your friends and family.
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
A highly desired beach resort in Sanibel, Florida, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa features 12 plexi-cushion courts, stadium seating, and is host to some of the most popular pickleball tournaments throughout the year, with camps and tournaments already announced through February, 2022.
Lessons and clinics are offered at the beautiful waterfront facility, and resort guests receive complimentary court access and equipment rentals. Memberships are available to the public for $350 annually for an individual, or $500 for the family—and for those of you looking for a long-term summer getaway, you are welcome to a six-month membership from May 1 through October 31 of $200 for a single membership and $350 for the family.
When not on the pickleball courts, other amenities to enjoy as you escape to paradise include enjoying award-winning on-site dining, heading out to the beach and finding unique treasures as you take advantage of the prime location for shelling, splashing around with the family at the resort waterparks, visiting with your pickleball friends at Turtle’s Tiki Bar, going on an adventure with kayaking, paddle boarding and other watersports, and so much more.
Visit SundialResort.com for details about upcoming tournaments and to book your pickleball island getaway! Be sure to reserve your rooms as soon as tournaments are announced to not miss your chance to stay at this highly-sought-after pickleball resort.