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Best Places to Explore and Exercise near SMU (Besides Katy Trail)

Growing up in the Northeast, the opportunity to walk outside with anything less than a parka before the month of May rarely presented itself. When the occasional time came for a layer of clothing to be shed, it was a unique and cherished experience. Upon arriving to Texas, I soon realized that shorts and tank tops no longer solely applied to the summer season, but thankfully also to the fall, spring, and even winter.

The Northeast’s frigid circumstances are nothing short of BS, so for all those who experienced childhoods filled with consistent warm weather, be grateful. But more importantly, take advantage! Although I do agree that Dedman’s kickboxing classes are bomb, please do all us Northeasterners a favor and get the hell outside.

I know what you’re thinking: Fine, I’ll go, but everything about Katy Trail seems to be packed these days. Whether it’s the Katy Tail Ice House, the Katy Trail Animal Hospital, or the actual Katy Trail path itself, everything about KT seems to be overly crowded, difficult to navigate, and sweaty.

We already have too many responsibilities and distractions in our day-to-day lives, and the last thing we need to do is add to the pile. Instead of worrying about constantly running into people, having to say hello, how gross you look, and dodging the uncoordinated people on Rollerblades, give both yourself and Katy Trail a break.

And so, I present you some alternatives:

If you’re a loyal Katy Trailer and you’re having trouble with the idea of breaking away from your normal routine, I’ll start out with places close by, and eventually branch out.

1.     Start at the cross-section where Airline Rd meets Katy Trail. Instead of continuing straight, look to the street that is perpendicular to Airline and you’ll see: Beverly Drive. Now walk down all of it. It’s one of the most underrated streets in Highland Park, and definitely will not disappoint.

FEATURES: Wide sidewalks and paved streets giving an open feel, large houses and expensive cars, casual statues of children riding horses, Dallas Country Club’s golf course, tranquil Turtle Creek, and a mansion on the corner of Beverly and Preston that resembles a combination of The White House, Hogwarts, and Highclere Castle.

WARNING: Do not drive down Beverly during school hours. The 90-year-old cross walker WILL stop you. He unfortunately has neither the conception, nor the consideration for your time constraints.

2.     Wait, what? That large brick building that resembles a mini palace goes by the name of University Park Fire Department?! Yep. Head over to 3800 University Blvd to check out the landscape for yourself…

FEATURES: An obnoxiously large backyard (everyone knows firefighters don’t garden) that’s decked out in all sorts of shrubbery, waterfalls and fountains too. You’ll quickly be over this Highland Park nonsense, but thankfully Goar Park is right next door!

3. For those of you feeling particularly adventurous and who want to branch away from the SMU scene, White Rock Lake is the place for you. Located approximately 3.8 miles from campus, WRL is one hang out spot that’s worth the 15-minute drive.

FEATURES: Hiking and biking trail, Audubon Society-designated bird watching area, picnic areas, rental facilities, fishing opportunities, and more! For those concerned, parking is both available and free. You’re welcome.

Now close your laptops, throw some work out clothes on, and use this list to get the hell outside and carpe diem.

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