These races are big on atmosphere, small on stress. Beginners welcome!

Surf-Town Sunshine

Solana Beach Triathlon
July 29, Solana Beach, California

Why It’s Great: Set in an iconic Southern California surf town, this sprint tri (1/4-mile swim, 9-mile bike, 3-mile run) features a mild beach-entry ocean swim in Fletcher Cove supported by lifeguards and safety- oriented “swim buddies” and fast and at bike courses along a closed portion of Paci c Coast Highway.

Get There: Solana Beach is 35 minutes north of San Diego International Airport. Or take Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner or Coaster regional trains, as the depot is just a few blocks from local hotels and the race’s start/ finish area.

Eat: For breakfast and brunch, Claire’s on Cedros (246 N. Cedros, Solana Beach; can’t be beat. Station Sushi (125 N. Hwy 101, Solana Beach; offers tasty sh, fun cocktails, and an outdoor patio, while Pizza Port (135 N. Hwy 101, Solana Beach; serves up made-to-order pizza with a relaxed surf-town vibe.

Stay: Courtyard by Marriott (717 S. Hwy 101, Solana Beach; and Holiday Inn Express & Suites (621 S. Hwy 101, Solana Beach; are recently upgraded hotels close to the race venue. For upscale luxury, consider L’Auberge (1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar; 3 miles south.

“This is a classic So-Cal event with just the right amount of hard and plenty of time left in the day to surf and hang at the beach.”
– Steve Godwin, Encinitas, California

Urban Escape

Staten Island Triathlon
Aug. 5, New York City

Why It’s Great: Although this sprint race (400-meter swim, 12-mile bike, 3-mile run) is held a short ferry ride from the heart of the Big Apple and within sight of the famous Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, it has more of a neighborhoody vibe than a big-city race.

Get There: Staten Island is about 30 minutes from LaGuardia and JFK airports, and there are plenty of public transportation options to get you anywhere you want to go.

Eat: The Phunky Elephant gastropub (1271 Bay St., Staten Island; and The Stone House at Clove Lakes (1150 Clove Rd., Staten Island;—an elegant culinary delight in an impossibly bucolic scene.

Stay: The well-appointed Navy Lodge New York (408 N. Path Rd., Staten Island; is the closest place to stay on Staten Island, but the Best Western Plus Brooklyn Bay (3003 Emmons Ave., Brooklyn; and the Harbor Motor Inn (1730 Shore Pkwy., Brooklyn; are close options as well.

“It’s a local event, it’s a great distance to get your feet wet in triathlon, and the race-day
organization is great.”
– Yasiza Zinko Sorbo New York, New York

Midwest Getaway

Williams Bay Triathlon at Geneva Lake
Sept. 22, Williams Bay, Wisconsin

Why It’s Great: Swim in a clear, spring-fed lake, ride rolling hills, and run to a waterside finish line in one of the Midwest’s best weekend getaway destinations. The race lineup includes a super sprint (300-meter swim, 13.1-mile bike and 1.5-mile run), a sprint (500-meter swim, 13.1-mile bike and 3.1-mile run), an Olympic-distance tri, and an Olympic-distance aquabike event.

Get There: Williams Bay is about 90 minutes northwest of Chicago and an hour southeast of Milwaukee.

Eat: For lakeside dining, cozy up to Pier 290 (1 Liechty Dr., Williams Bay; for hearty sandwiches, comfort food, and, of course, a Friday night fish fry. Harpoon Willie’s (10 E. Geneva St., Williams Bay; has great surf-and-turf options.

Stay: The Abbey Resort (269 Fontana Blvd., Fontana; is a full-amenity resort about 10 minutes from Williams Bay, complete with a spa, restaurants, and indoor and outdoor pools. Also try the Bailey House Bed & Breakfast (372 W. Geneva St., Williams Bay).

“Williams Bay is a relaxed and low-key place, and so is this race. It’s still a good challenge, but it’s a Saturday race and hanging out and enjoying the rest of the weekend with friends and family is a part of why I love it.”
– Mike Isacson, South Bend, Indiana