On any given summer weekend, the central meadow of Washington Park becomes a mecca for volleyball players looking to play pickup—and work on their tans. Since Volleyball of the Rockies (VOTR) started in 1988 with just 12 teams, the sport has taken off: The organization now boasts hundreds of teams that play at Denver’s parks, Metro State, and indoor beach volleyball facilities in Broomfield and southeast Denver. But you don’t have to be a pro to start a game. Set up a net in an open patch or just watch from the sidelines as newbie teams looking for a fun day in the sun lob balls next to pairs training for a tournament. Either way, join the barefoot, shorts-clad crowd on the lawn to trade a few laughs and enjoy a couple cold ones. It’s what summers were made for.

Two U.S. volleyball referees are headed to the London Olympics—and one of them calls Colorado home. Read about beach ref Dan Apol at 5280.com/volleyball.