Holiday Gift Guide: Giving the gift of activity

Holiday Gift Guide: Giving the gift of activity
The Washington Sailing Marina offers a wide variety of sailing classes and camps.(Photo/Washington Sailing Marina)

By Kerry Boyd Anderson

 Looking for the perfect gift for someone with an active lifestyle and an interest in wellness? Or maybe for yourself? Fortunately, Alexandria offers many options for active fun, both indoors and outdoors. There are many businesses that offer uncommon experiences, but there are additional options in the city for everything from a hardcore workout to yoga to activities in the great outdoors. 

One of the fun things about visiting these stores, gyms and studios is that often the staff are enthusiasts themselves. Regardless of your level of experience, they are happy to help customers discover or progress in any physical activity. Their enthusiasm makes it fun to drop by and buy a gift for someone or something for yourself. 

Washington Sailing Marina 

Conveniently located on Daingerfield Island, the marina offers multiple options for fun on the Potomac River, including summer camp for kids and sailing lessons for adults. Camps start at age eight, known as the “Mini Mates,” followed by camps for children aged nine to 15 who are just starting out. Mini Mates runs all summer long and costs $610 for one week. 

After these age categories, there are different pathways for skill development and prerequisite skills. There are several intermediate camps and a few advanced camps for children under 16. Prices vary. 

There are also dozens of adult classes to give this holiday season and prices vary depending on the class type. For a basic adult day camp, it costs $495 for a three-day, all-day camp experience. Washington Sailing Marina also offers weeknight sessions for two- to three-hour spans for $470. 

The marina, located at 1 Marina Drive, also offers rentals for sailboats, kayaks and paddleboards. Gift certificates are not available for rentals, but they are available for lessons. 

You can buy gift certificates online on the marina’s website. 

Row House 

For an indoor workout experience, Row House offers classes that combine its rowing machines with other forms of resistance training. The workouts combine cardio with strength training. 

For those just starting out or experts in rowing classes, Row House offers a wide variety of levels for everyone. There are six different class types: Whether you want to focus on mobility, use weights, increase endurance or work on active recovery, there is a great mixture of workouts and instructors to choose from. 

There are different price ranges depending on a purchased membership or package. If you just want to drop-in on a class, it costs $29. If you want to purchase just a few classes at a time, it costs $135 for a five-pack, $235 for a 10-pack and $405 for a 20-pack. If you’re looking for a membership, Row House has three options that auto-renew monthly. It’s $89 for four classes per month, $149 for eight classes and $179 for unlimited classes. 

For a limited time, your first class is free at the Old Town location. Gift options include class packages, memberships and gift cards, which you can find online. The gym is located at 917 N. Asaph St. and their daily schedule is accessible online. 

Pacers Running 

For the devoted runner – or someone looking to start running – Pacers Running in Old Town is the perfect place to go. Running socks are popular holiday gifts and great stocking stuffers. For this time of year, gloves and hats for runners also are popular items. And, don’t forget about safety; the store sells a wide variety of safety gear, from small lights to reflective outerwear. 

Pacers is known for its specialized shoe fitting process, so gift cards are a good option for someone who might want new shoes. The store’s friendly staff are ready to help customers find shoes that fit their unique feet and specific running needs. 

You can visit Pacers Running at 1301 King St. You can purchase gift cards at the store and online. 

Big Wheel Bikes 

Located in Old Town near the Potomac River, Big Wheel Bikes sells bikes and accessories. The shop also offers rentals for several types of bikes. Popular gift items include helmets and other safety accessories – especially lights for gray winter days and dark winter nights. 

Another great gift option are the shop’s bike locks. Bike theft is a growing problem, so strong locks are essential. Of course, a really great gift is a new bike, and Big Wheel Bikes sells multiple types, including road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, electric bikes and bikes for kids and commuters. 

Big Wheel Bikes also sells gift cards, which can be used for purchases or rentals. They are available at the store or online. The store is located at 2 Prince St. 

Zen Yoga and Wellness Studio 

This yoga studio offers yoga classes and other wellness services. There are several types of group or private yoga classes for a range of needs and experience levels. To round out the experience, the studio also offers massage, nutrition counseling, a meditation class and more. 

The class schedule is available online and classes can be booked there. Zen Yoga offers a variety of payment options for classes, including class packs – or buying multiple classes at once – a monthly rate and/or a drop-in rate of $30. 

Gift ideas include memberships or class packs, as well as gift cards, which are available online, located at 309 S. Washington St. 

Serenity Day Spa 

After all that activity, the body needs some pampering! A great option for the calmer side of wellness is Serenity Day Spa. The spa offers symptom-specific massage, including one specifically for “Runner’s Relief.” Other popular holiday services include the Serenity Essentials spa package, the “Be Illuminating” facial that uses pumpkin enzymes, and the hot stone massage for some seasonal warmth. The Image Vital C skincare products are another great gift option. 

The spa also sells gift cards online or at the spa, as well as packages for multiple services at a discounted rate. Visit or call the spa for more information, located at 209 Madison St.