While troubled big-city neighbor Detroit struggles to keep its head above water, Troy, Mich., is content to dive in deep — literally. Named the Wolverine State’s “Sportstown” by Sports Illustrated in 2003, it is home to the Troy Family Aquatic Center, a visible commitment to physical activity and liquid leisure.

Troy’s sprawling aquatic center recently celebrated its 16th summer season, while the indoor pool and spa at the nearby Troy Community Center just blew out six candles. TFAC has invested so much energy and money into bulking up its fun features that the facility would fit just fine into Orlando or Las Vegas: Amenities include a tube slide; body slide; sand play area; sand volleyball space; spraypads; water tree; 20-foot-wide waterfall; concessions; and an 11,000-square-foot, heated main pool with a 130-foot, zero-depth edge.

But the future Michael Phelpses of the world need not worry; TFAC doesn’t disappoint. Six 25-yard swimming lanes are designated for those preparing for London 2012, or those who just want to keep in shape.

The year-round indoor aquatics facility at the TCC also has options for those who want to stay active: four lap lanes, a warm-water therapy pool and a leisure pool with several slides spilling into it. And when it comes to programming, both venues offer an extensive array of swim lessons for preschoolers (seven different classes), older kids and teens, as well as lifeguarding instruction and private lessons.

It doesn’t come as a shock to hear that last year more than 56,000 Troy residents, nonresident employees and guests splashed around TFAC, which opened its doors on Memorial Day and provides work for 80 people. Venues such as TFAC and TCC go a long way toward making a city a great place for raising families, and it looks as if people outside Michigan have taken notice. Troy was honored this year as one of CNN Money’s “Best Places to Live.” — Neal Broverman

Facilities

  • TFAC: Beach-entry outdoor leisure pool with lap lanes; children’s spray pool; 177-foot-long tube slide; dry-play area; sand volleyball courts; and outdoor picnic area
  • TCC: Indoor leisure pool; therapy pool; and water playground equipment


Programming

  • Learn-to-swim classes
  • Water aerobics
  • Birthday party and private event rentals
  • American Red Cross lifeguarding