credit: ©istockphoto.com / BHPix

You’ve probably heard of pickleball. What your kids may know as a routine gym activity has exploded in popularity throughout NJ. This paddle sport (oddly named after a food, though legend has it pickleball was named after a pup named Pickles who loved to chase his ball around Bainbridge Island in Washington) combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong—and will have you working up a sweat in no time.

Don’t stress if you’ve never played. Pickleball embraces newcomers and those of all skill levels. It’s a lot gentler on the body and knees than tennis, but it can get pretty fast-paced for experienced players. The USAPA Pickleball Association explains the game as a fun, easy-to-learn paddle sport that can be played indoors or outdoors. The rules are easy to pick up and you can check out the player handbook here.

Here are the basics:

  • The game is played with either singles or doubles.
  • It requires a special pickleball paddle and plastic ball with holes.
  • Attire is usually anything comfortable and sporty.
  • It’s played on a badminton-size court, which is a bit shorter than a tennis court.

Here’s where you can play around the state:

Avalon Community Hall

3001 Avalon Ave., Avalon
609-967‑3066
Mon-Sun 8-10 am (advanced and intermediate), 10 am-noon (beginner and family time); Mon-Sun 4-8 pm (all levels)
Free

Angela Hibbard Park

600 Drum Point Rd., Brick
732-262-1044
Call for more info on times of play
Free

Beach Haven

Nelson and Bay Ave., Beach Haven
609-492-0111
Mon-Sat 8 am-noon
$50/season pass, $3/daily drop in fee

Brookside Racquet & Swim Club

480 Brookside Ave., Allendale
201-825-2665
Mon-Fri 8:30 am-1 pm, 5-7 pm; Sat-Sun 11 am-1 pm, 5-8 pm
$10

Brigantine Community Center

265 42nd St., Brigantine
609-264-7350
Mon-Thurs 8:30 am-8:30 pm; Fri 8:30 am-5:30 pm; Sat 10 am-4 pm
Call for info on prices

Canistear Park

Glen Wild Way off Cherry Ridge Rd., Highland Lakes
201-602-8339
Mon 5:45 pm; Wed 5:45 pm; Sun 9 am
Free

Cherry Hill Health and Racquet Club

1820 Old Cuthbert Rd., Cherry Hill
856-429-1388
Mon-Thurs 5 am-10:30 pm; Fri 5 am-9 pm; Sat-Sun 7 am-9 pm
Call for info on guest price

Colts Neck Racquet Club

36 Artisan Pl., Colts Neck
732-431-9500
Open play Wed 2-4 pm; Fri 6-8 pm; Sat 1-3 pm; Sun 1-3 pm
$10/call to sign up

Courtside Racquet Club

1115 Rte. 31 South, Lebanon
908-713-1144
Mon 7-9 pm drop in social; Thurs noon-1:30 pm drill and play; Sat 2-3:30 pm drill and play; beginner and advanced clinics offered throughout the week
$10-15/drop in, $20-25/clinic

Essex County Brookdale Park

473 Watchung Ave., Bloomfield
973-268-3500
Call for more info
Free

Fort Monmouth Rec Area

2566 Guam Ln., Tinton Falls
848-456-4278
Open play sessions offered by skill level, check their schedule
$5

Greater Morristown YMCA

79 Horse Hill Rd., Cedar Knolls
973-267-0704
Sun 1-4 pm; Mon 9-11:30 am; Wed 8-11 am; Thurs 7:30-9 am; Fri 9:30-11:30 am, 2-4 pm
Free/members

Heritage Middle School

20 Foxcroft Dr., Livingston
Contact livepickleball@yahoo.com for more info
9 am-1 pm (times subject to school times)
Free

Hudson Pickleball

1226 Adams St., Hoboken
201-565-4677
Sat 9 am-noon; Sun afternoons; weekday mornings and evenings
Free

Kroc Center

1865 Harrison Ave., Camden
856-379-6905
Mon 6-8:45 pm; Sat 8:30-11 am (Saturdays only from Nov-March)
$5/drop in, free/members

Lavallette

Bay Blvd. and Magee Ave., Lavallette
732-793-7477
Mon-Fri 7 am-7 pm open play
$3-5

Marlboro Recreation Center

1996 Recreation Way, Marlboro
732-617-0367
Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri 1-2:30 pm
Free for residents

Mercer County Park Commission Tennis Facility

197 Blackwell Rd., Pennington
609-448-8007
Weekdays 6, 7:30 and 9:30 pm; Weekends 7:30 am-1:30 pm, 3-7:30 pm
Resident $70/non-resident, $105 for ID card

Moorestown Recreation Center

North Church Street Recreation Center
111 W 2nd St., Moorestown
856-914-3080
Contact for more info on times and prices

Mount Pleasant Park & Fields

Upper Twp.
Tuckahoe Rd., Tuckahoe
609-628-2011
Contact for more info on times and prices

Ocean City Courts

18th St., and Haven Ave., Ocean City
609-525-9307
Sun-Fri 7:30 am- sunset
$50/annual pass; $15/weekly pass; $5/daily pass

Overpeck County Park-Ridgefield Park Area

40 Fort Lee Rd., Leonia
201-336-6000
Call for more info on times of play
Free

PEAC Health & Fitness

1440 Lower Ferry Rd., Ewing
609-883-2000
Mon, Wed, Fri 10 am-2 pm; Mon, Wed 6-8 pm; Tues noon-2 pm; Sat 10 am-noon; Thurs 5-7 pm
$10

PowerZone Volleyball Center

3 Luger Rd., Denville
973-983-8208
Wed 9 am-9:30 pm
$10/walk-ins, annual memberships and punch cards available

Princeton Racquet Club

150 Raymond Rd., Princeton
732-329-6200
Mon 6:30-8 pm; Mon, Wed 2-3:30 pm; Thurs 7:30-9 pm; Sat 12:30-2 pm; Sun 6:30-8 pm
Free

Rahway River Park

401 Parkway Dr., Rahway
908-391-6509
Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat mornings and afternoons open play
Free

South Jersey Pickleball

DeCou Courts
Cropwell Rd., Cherry Hill
Mon-Fri 4-8pm; Wed 8-11 am
Free/check Meetup for updates

The Rec Center at St. Mathew’s

31 W. Academy St., Williamstown
856-629-2050
Tues 8:30-10:30 am advanced/intermediate; 10-noon intermediate; noon-2 pm beginner; 6:30-8:30 pm advanced/advanced intermediate; Thurs 10-noon intermediate; noon-2 pm beginner; Fri 5:30- 7:30 pm open play; Sat 1-3 pm open play
$5

Upper Ridgewood Tennis Club

915 Glenview Rd., Ridgewood
201-447-1503
Daily 7 am-10pm
$10/guest, free/members

Warren Health & Racquet Club

149 Mt. Bethel Rd., Warren
908-647-0400
Mon 8-10 pm; Tues 1-3 pm; Wed 7-9 pm; Fri 7-9 am open play w/registration
$8

YMCA of Red Bank

166 Maple Ave., Red Bank
732-741-2504
Check website for times of play and prices

Is there a pickleball court near you that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments.