These Are the Top 10 Recreation Franchises to Buy in 2023 From boating to painting, recreation concepts can make being a franchise owner fun.

By Entrepreneur Staff

If you're looking to make a career change or finally be your own boss, franchising continues to be a well-paved option. However, if you're looking to escape the 9-5 grind, not all franchise concepts will be right for you. Recreation, on the other hand, involves businesses from travel planning to painting, where you can not only be the boss but also have some fun and do something outside of the box. If you're looking to own a franchise and like hands-on, immersive experiences, one of these recreation franchises might be for you.

These are the top 10 recreation franchises for 2023, based on our 44th Annual Franchise 500 List.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now and take this quiz to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.

1. Dream Vacations

Initial franchise fee: $495 - $10,500

Initial investment: $1,795 - $21,000

Number of U.S. franchise units*: 1,616

Dream Vacations is a business travel agency that offers deals to travel-related businesses. It provides vacations, cruises and other travel services using a proprietary system. As a brand, it provides packages with hotel deals, travel insurance and grand tours. These deals may be for individuals or groups including couples, business associates and families.

Explore Ownership with Dream Vacations

2. Urban Air Adventure Park

Initial franchise fee: $100,000

Initial investment: $3,380,908 - $7,242,658

Number of U.S. franchise units*: 154

Urban Air is the Ultimate Indoor Adventure Park where everyone from adults to kids is welcome. The company has franchises across the United States and Canada and is perfect for hosting birthday parties, events or a classic day of family fun.

Urban Air, led by brand president and CEO Jay Thomas, has headquarters in Bedford, Texas (in the Dallas-Fort Worth area) and has been open since 2011 and franchising since 2013. As the world's largest adventure park, it boasts over 290 current parks open, with more than 80 locations in development.

Explore Ownership with Urban Air

Related: Like To Get Away and Have Fun? Here's How To Make a Business Out Of It.

3. Cruise Planners

Initial franchise fee: $695 - $10,995

Initial investment: $2,295 - $23,465

Number of U.S. franchise units*: 2,584

Cruise Planners is a travel agency franchise specializing in vacation planning and creating memorable itineraries for travels in the U.S. and abroad.

Cruise Planners is happy to welcome anyone with Cruisitude, a term coined by the company, referring to a positive, travel-inclined attitude or disposition in life. If you love to travel, are ready to commit to a travel-centric business and share the company's vision for growth, Cruise Planners could be a good fit.

Explore Ownership with Cruise Planners

4. American Poolplayers Association

Initial franchise fee: $10,000 - $12,000

Initial investment: $22,936 - $29,411

Number of U.S. franchise units*: 313

To own an American Poolplayers Association franchise, you don't have to be a skilled pool player. However, many franchisees got to know the American Poolplayers Association through playing in a local league.

The American Poolplayers Association highly values franchisees who show drive and a sense of urgency. A franchisee should be friendly, confident and creative. Franchisees will work independently and be their own bosses but should also enjoy team building.

Explore Ownership with American Poolplayers

5. Freedom Boat Club

Initial franchise fee: $50,000

Initial investment: $222,500 - $500,500

Number of U.S. franchise units*: 221

Freedom Boat Club is no ordinary boat club. By starting this franchise, you join a business with a solid track record, established guidelines, hands-on support and enough freedom to chart your course. The company has built a cult-like following among its customers over the years. This saves you the time and resources necessary to build a customer base from the bottom up.

The company's hassle-free shared asset model makes it a unique franchising opportunity and a top choice among the boating community. To qualify as a franchisee, you will need to have access to a reasonably large body of fresh or saltwater and a population of boating enthusiasts. So if you live by the lakeside or near the sea, you may be prepared to set sail.

Related: 6 Recreation Franchises You Can Buy for Less Than $40,000

Explore Ownership with Freedom Boat Club

6. X-Golf

Initial franchise fee: $30,000

Initial investment: $609,700 - $1,386,000

Number of U.S. franchise units*: 59

X-Golf offers what some people consider to be the world's most advanced golf simulator technology. Through continued research and development, as well as more than a dozen global patents, the company has established itself as one of the best global golf simulators.

You do not need to be a golf expert to start your X-Golf franchise. However, it's best if franchisees are passionate about the sport, possess some business know-how, have proper funding in place, and have the willingness to provide top-quality services to their customers.

Explore Ownership with X-Golf

7. Destination Athlete

Initial franchise fee: $20,000 - $50,000

Initial investment: $28,300 - $93,610

Number of U.S. franchise units*: 207

Since 2008, the Destination Athlete franchise program has been helping entrepreneurs offer youth athletic teams from schools and colleges resources to thrive. Destination Athlete is a one-stop shop for everything an athletics team may need, including fundraising, apparel, performance solutions and equipment.

Franchise owners provide one-on-one service for youth athletic teams by creating an online store. They provide apparel and sports equipment stores to school and varsity sports teams and set up convenient, direct and streamlined orders for each student or their parents.

Explore Ownership with Destination Athlete

8. Altitude Trampoline Park

Initial franchise fee: $40,000

Initial investment:

$1,526,000 - $3,835,000

Number of U.S. franchise units*: 77

Altitude Trampoline Park features thousands of square feet of indoor trampolines and other activities such as basketball, foam fits and more. The destination is perfect for families, groups and parties of all ages. The franchise emphasizes fun, social connection, wellness and physical activity to their franchisees.

Explore Ownership with Altitude Trampoline Park

9. Play It Again Sports

Initial franchise fee: $25,000

Initial investment: $292,500 - $401,300

Number of U.S. franchise units*: 248

Play It Again Sports is a Winmark Corporation-owned sporting goods retailer. The company offers new and used sporting merchandise in North America.

The company does not require its potential franchisees to have a retail background. Play It Again Sports franchisees are often customers, fitness enthusiasts and sports fans. This background creates a rich pool of knowledge that franchisees can leverage to better understand the market's needs and serve customers. By offering potential franchisees an opportunity to start a franchise, Play It Again Sports has carved out a niche in the industry and has survived for nearly four decades.

Explore Ownership with Play It Again Sports

10. Board & Brush Creative Studio

Initial franchise fee: $25,000

Initial investment: $64,589 - $93,461

Number of U.S. franchise units*: 252

The concept of Board & Brush Creative Studio fuses woodworking techniques with the latest trends and custom graphics. Found in more than 240 locations across the United States, Board & Brush is one of the fast-growing do-it-yourself wood sign workshop chains in the U.S.

If you love being creative and want to enjoy flexibility and freedom, opening a Board & Brush Creative Studio franchise could prove to be a great fit for you.

Explore Ownership with Board & Brush Creative Studio

Related: Thinking of Buying a Franchise? These Four Industries Are Flaming Hot Right Now

*Unit numbers as of July 31, 2022

Wavy Line
Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff


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