5 Of The Most Charming Places To Run In The U.S

Guest post by Amy Colton

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If anything running-related, the U.S. is most famous for its marathons: in New York City, in Boston, in Chicago, and elsewhere. Although much as the focus tends to revolve around major competitive events and feats of human endurance, the U.S. is also a massive country full of terrific places for more leisurely runs. So if you simply like to run and enjoy doing so in pretty, unique places, there’s no shortage of options. 

Really, it’s a shame to limit any discussion on this topic, precisely — because — there are so many options. Nevertheless, the following five places are definitely among the ones that stand out most. 

Central Park - New York City

To list Central Park almost feels unoriginal, but it’s a simple fact that it’s one of the most extraordinary places on Earth for a run. While most major cities around the globe have their big, lush parks, none is quite so spectacular as Central Park in Manhattan, and the chance to run through this beautiful setting with one of the most towering, extraordinary cities on the planet all around you shouldn’t be missed. You can more or less design any running route you’d like around and through the park, though the full loop around the perimeter makes for a nice six-mile run for experienced runners. 

Tahoe Rim Trail - Lake Tahoe

There is no definitive most beautiful place in the United States, and for that matter there are quite a few contenders. Lake Tahoe ranks quite high on most lists of this sort though, and the Rim Trail surrounding it showcases that beauty in spectacular fashion. The trail is about 160 miles long, but naturally you can run little segments of it at a time. This is also a wonderful place for a run because of all you can do during a trip there when you <em>aren’t</em> out running. A vacation rental with a view of the lake and surrounding landscapes can certainly suffice as a perfect place to recover from a long run, though boating on the lake itself should also be part of the plan. 

Lakefront Trail - Chicago

The Lakefront Trail in Chicago is another urban trail, and one that’s roughly the same length as the perimeter run around Central Park. Like Central Park, it gives you the chance to run in the shadow of a great American city, yet with breathtaking nature all around you as well. This is thanks to the fact that Chicago itself is built at the edge of Lake Michigan, and on a nice day there really aren’t many better places for a run in the world. The trail is sturdy and reliable, popular but seldom overcrowded, the city makes for a picturesque backdrop, and a gentle breeze coming in off the lake can keep you refreshed and energized for the duration of your run, whether you do the whole trail or just a few miles of it. 

Boardwalk - Atlantic City

Atlantic City’s famous boardwalk in New Jersey was depicted as something of a ghost town for a few years when the city was struggling economically. But a resurgent casino culture, online gaming business, and a revival of the betting scene statewide has breathed life back into the Atlantic City area, and made the boardwalk a fun place to hang out once again. It’s essentially a chance to run along a pretty American beach without actually having to run on the sand, and it’s wide enough that even a fairly dense crowd can’t get your way (as it would if you tried to run along, say, Miami’s South Beach). The boardwalk is a little over four miles long, making for a nice moderate run, doable for those working their way up and a satisfying workout for more regular runners. 

Awa’apuhi Trail - Kauai

This is by all accounts a fairly difficult trail because of its elevation and up-and-down terrain. However, it’s only about three miles long, and takes place on a sort of crest in Waimea State Park on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, which as you might imagine provides some of the most incredible seaside views you can find in all of the U.S., if not the world. If you’re in shape for elevation, an incline, and some rugged terrain, it’s a trail worth going well out of your way for. Plus, once you’ve run it, you can relax on the island’s world-class beaches!

 NYC’s Central Park offers a classic scenic run.

NYC’s Central Park offers a classic scenic run.