So You Wanna…Play Outside

Learn to Ride
Here’s a novel idea: Take those oh-so-fashionable riding boots and put them to use riding a horse. Just 20 miles south of downtown Boston, the Canton Equestrian Center offers lessons for riders of every age and experience level. Once you feel comfortable on your steed, you can hit the trails of the Blue Hills Reservation next door. Lessons start at $45; 1095 Randolph St., Canton, 781-821-5527, cantonequestrian.com.
    
Learn to Row
From afar, rowing looks about as enjoyable as a visit to the RMV. But Community Rowing’s classes make the sport accessible — and get this, fun — to novices of all fitness levels. At the group’s Brighton headquarters, you’ll join a team of eight to twelve others, and, over the course of six sessions, graduate from the training barge to open water. $75, plus $95 community-supporter fee (next term begins 7/20); 20 Nonantum Rd., Brighton, 617-779-8267, communityrowing.org.

[sidebar]Court Some Fun
Beautiful gardens, courtside cafés, professional coaches – life is pretty good for members of the Mount Auburn Club in Watertown. But here’s the thing: You don’t need to be a member of the club to enjoy all those amenities. Mount Auburn’s tennis program – offering private lessons, group instruction, and clinics – is open to everyone. All that’s required is a racket and a desire to learn. Lessons start at $53; 57 Coolidge Ave., Watertown, 617-923-2255, mountauburnclub.com.

Cycle the City
Throughout the summer, the Charles River Wheelmen biking club offers group rides during the day and in the evening. Don’t worry if you’re not in training for the Tour de France; the group is as social as it is sporty, and there are rides of various paces and distances (even "arrowed" courses for the directionally challenged). Memberships start at $15; crw.org.

Kayak the Charles
From hiking to rock climbing to whitewater rafting, Urban Escapes organizes outdoor adventures for busy professionals. Yet the group’s coolest outing may also be its least adventurous one: On select Friday evenings, it hosts an easy-does-it happy-hour kayaking trip down the Charles, a journey that ends with a riverside cookout. $49, 7/9 and 7/23; boston.urbanescapesusa.com.