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Recreational Park vs. Social Club (and which is right for me?)

June 25th, 2022 | 8 min. read

Recreational Park vs. Social Club (and which is right for me?)

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Recreational park vs. a social club? (and which is right for me?)

When you look around your community, you’ll likely see there are many great options for your family to learn, play, and engage in local activities. Typically cities have a parks department that offers public resources and educational programs. There are also many types of classes offered by private clubs or organizations.


It can be overwhelming trying to sort through all of these choices. 


At Paseo Club, we have met with literally thousands of people who are looking to find community classes and events and we know how confusing it can be. But no need to worry, we are here to help you learn about both options and which one is a good fit for you.


In this article, we are going to look at the differences between recreational parks vs. social clubs. You will find out what they have in common and what is unique to each facility. With all this information you will be more than prepared to find one that works for you.


What are recreational parks and how do they work? 

Recreational parks are parks that local governments run for the purpose of creating resources and services for the community. Resources can be public spaces such as parks, nature preserves, and trails. Examples of services are athletic leagues, activity and arts programs, and special events.


Who manages recreational parks?

Three levels of government — federal, state, and local — can manage public parks. In Santa Clarita, the local parks are overseen by the city.


What types of facilities do parks provide?

Parks departments offer a number of indoor and outdoor areas to enjoy.


  • trails for hiking, walking, and bike riding
  • tennis and pickleball courts
  • play structures
  • skate parks
  • archery range
  • aquatics center
  • ball fields
  • indoor and outdoor volleyball courts
  • basketball courts
  • community center for hosting events


What programs are available through the parks? 

The park department hosts classes and events throughout the year for children, adults, and senior citizens. Common options are:


  • Art Classes
  • Summer Camps
  • Dance Lessons
  • Gymnastics
  • Fitness Classes
  • Martial Arts
  • Swim Lessons, Water Aerobic Classes, & Swim Teams
  • Preschool
  • Special Interest Classes & Workshops
  • Teen Programs
  • Sports Leagues


Can everyone use the park’s services?

Everyone has year-round access to the play structures, outdoor areas, and trails. Generally, parks are open from sunrise to sunset. If someone wants to join a class or league, they will need to sign up and pay the fee for that program in order to attend.


Does it cost money to attend programs at the park? 

There are common outdoor spaces that are free to the public. There are modest fees to participate in league sports or attend a class. Some activities cost as little as $3.


What types of programs are available to kids?

There are many options for kids of all ages through Parks and Rec. Starting as young as age three, kids often can attend preschool, camp, sports, dance, music, or art classes. There are also programs specially geared toward teens that help teach them life skills and prepare them for their future. 


What are the benefits of parks and recreational services?

Parks and recs are government-supported resources priced to appeal to people of all income brackets. They have a wide variety of services — both structured classes and open-access spaces. Enriching childcare for working parents is provided through classes for children taught during the summers or afternoons during the school year.  


What are social clubs and what makes them unique?

Social clubs are places where people gather for a common interest or activity. There are all types of social clubs including, craft clubs, political clubs, book clubs, sports clubs, and more. Social clubs, as the name implies, emphasize community gatherings and developing personal connections with other members of the group.


Who manages social clubs?

Social clubs are run differently depending on what type of club it is. Informal social clubs, such as a bird-watching club, are overseen by a volunteer or collectively by the group. Organized clubs with facilities and services are run by private individuals, families, or corporations. 


What types of facilities do social clubs provide?

The primary focus of a social club is to gather people with a common interest. Because of this, social clubs vary greatly. Sometimes clubs require no facility at all. Members may meet at one another’s homes to discuss local politics. Others meet outdoors for Plein air painting. 


Some social clubs are more developed and are run as businesses such as yacht clubs, country clubs, and fitness centers. In this case, they have facilities, supplies, and equipment.


What programs are available through social clubs? 

Social clubs are often built around programs and events for their members. 


  • Social mixers
  • Themed classes
  • Workshops and trainings
  • Lectures and presentations


Can everyone use a social club’s services?

Social clubs are available to members only. Membership fees and monthly dues support the clubs and their facilities. Social clubs are private, and depending on the club, they can be either community-oriented and inclusive or elite and exclusive. 



Does it cost money to attend programs at social clubs?

Club fees are different than park fees because club fees come as regular monthly dues. These dues are charged to members regardless of how much or how little they use the club. 


Park fees are dependent on the activity the user signs up for. Fees are incurred only when the person registers for a specific program. Parks also have free spaces such as bike paths, hiking trails, and even a few select classes. Government funds support parks and so they do not need to turn a profit.


What types of programs are available to kids?

Depending on the social club, there may or may not be programming for kids. The best way to find out is to contact the social club and see what their standards are.


What are the benefits of social clubs?

Social clubs are beneficial for people who love their hobby or interest and enjoy socializing with those that do too. It is a great way to deepen friendships and become acquainted with your neighbors. Social clubs are a resource for engaging in classes and activities relating to the interests of the club.


Which type of facility is best for me?

The parks department offers a wide range of programs and classes for locals of all ages and interests — arts, music, sports, and life skills training. Classes are available throughout the year on a rotating schedule. Programs hosted by the parks and rec are often affordable and occasionally free. 


Social clubs are a place for people who want to build community and develop connections with like-minded folks. They are great for diving into your favorite activities and expanding your knowledge and expertise. Most social clubs prize the quality of the classes they offer. Because of this, it is typical that they can offer small group sizes. 


Now that you have arrived at the end of this article you have a better idea about the differences and similarities of the services at parks and rec versus social clubs. Now you can make a more educated choice about where you want to participate. The next step is to inquire at your local parks department and social club(s) to learn about classes, programs, and costs. 


Paseo Club is a social club in Santa Clarita Valley that focuses exclusively on health and fitness. Paseo Club has over 60 classes available each week. Paseo also has a junior Olympic-sized pool, tennis and pickleball courts, and a cafe that cooks up tasty food. Small group and private one-on-one training are also available to help members get to their next level of fitness. 


Learn more about different types of clubs by reading this article that compares social clubs and country clubs. If you are in Santa Clarita Valley and want to see the Paseo Club, make an appointment for a tour so you can check out our facilities.