Every roller skater faces the quest to find a good location to skate at... which sounds pretty straightforward, but it can be a bit of a challenge at times. From the first day of skating, I was on a mission to find great skate locations. I was - and still am - obsessed with finding new places to skate at. Literally every time I see a smooth road I get excited, and then I remember I'm 45 minutes away from my house.
Anyways. Sixteen months later, I now have a good amount of options for where to skate. However, I didn't know about all these skate spots from day one. In fact, I spent months being unaware that I had so many great locations just 5 minutes away from my home.
So here are a few tips on finding places to skate:
Schools and Churches
Okay, obviously this may not totally be legal.. so be careful. But to my defense, out of all my times skating at these spots I've only been kicked out once. The key is just to be mindful of the times that you go. During 2020, due to COVID, the schools were basically always empty, but unforunately that is no longer the case. The best times to go is after school in the early evenings (5pm-8pm?), on the weekends, and during the summertime. Churches I don't really go to too often, and obviously, you won't be skating there on Sunday mornings, but I've found evenings can be pretty quiet.
If you've recently started skating you might be thinking 'What the heck! I'm not ready to go to a skate park!' But hey, you don't have to use the ramps at the park! A lot of parks will have pretty open spaces, with most importantly - smooth ground!!! And hey, it doesn't hurt to get to know the crowd at your local skate park and also get inspired to maybe go on the ramps one day yourself. If you are a San Diego local, a great tool I found was this website - shows you every skate park in San Diego!!
I think trail skating is a great alternative when you want to take the pressure off of progressing and becoming a "better" skater. With trails you can focus on just going straight and enjoying the ride. You likely will want the softest, biggest wheels you can get for this though since you're likely to come across sticks and pebbles. There are lots of resources to find bike trails, such as this one for California.
Basketball and Tennis Courts
Again, this is somewhere you need to be mindful about going. Now if you're skating at either of these places and someone shows up to play a game, they get dibs. Please, don't give us skaters a bad rep and just let them play get the court. But the best ground I've ever skated on was at a basketball court, so I think it's definitely worth going to!
Google maps is just a really great tool to use and can be super helpful in finding locations. I could spend hours just looking for locations on there! Make sure you're using satellite mode and it's always ideal if you can use street view. I also use iPhone maps as well!
Simply Drive Around Mindlessly
Now if you don't have a license or access to a car this one may not be an option,
but it's worth doing if you can!
Put on some good tunes, pick somewhere you want to explore, and search for locations! I found one of my favorite new favorite spots by doing this. It helps if you've done your research (google maps) a little before so you have some guidance of what you want to do.
Roller Rinks or Outdoor Hockey Rinks
Again, with hockey rinks it may get tricky if hockey players are there. Some hockey rinks may have their schedule out online so you can plan around that. But these spots will guarantee some smooth ground for skating!
Make The Most Of What You Have
Sadly, you may eventually find your dream location 50 minutes away from home - which isn't realistic for everyday practice. If all the ground around you is really rocky, you should definitely purchase some good outdoor wheels (I love my boardwalks!). But even if you can find a small little spot for skating, you can practice footwork at least! When all else fails, invest in a chair matt for rainy days and just
Now obviously it will be easier finding good locations in some places more than others. I'm very fortunate to live in Southern California, so a lot of the roads I have access to are relatively new. If you live in the UK, your local roads may be very very old. No matter where you are, I definitely think looking for some good skate spots is worth it! Good luck finding some beautiful, smooth roads :)