The quantitative literature on physical activity participation patterns leaves many questions about the place and significance of physical activity in the lives of young people unanswered. This paper begins to address this absence by attempting to understand physical activity from the point of view of young people and in relation to other aspects of their lives. It discusses interviews with 28 female and 34 male students from three Australian high schools chosen because they provided the opportunity to include students from different geographical, social and cultural locations. Students were asked to reflect upon their past and current engagement in physical activity, and the impact of factors such as their location, family, and school in their access and interest. Different spaces and places proved important in the nature of the physical activity available, its significance to young people and the kinds of identities which could be constructed.