It’s always a good time to find a nearby park or pick a new one to explore! Richmond and the surrounding metro area is anything but lacking when it comes to great parks with space to play, climb, walk, hike, ride, swim, or boat.
We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite family-friendly parks to make it easy to choose where you’ll play today!
An unexpected find in the middle of the Capital City! Beautiful rolling hills (literally—have fun rolling down, kids!) and quiet bubbling streams make this quite our city’s gem. A children’s barn at the Maymont Farm and Japanese Garden make this an excellent learning field-trip and photo backdrop. Throughout the seasons, they host plenty of special events including summer camps and a Victorian Holiday celebration. The amount of fun and knowledge gained at Maymont is unending! As they say, it’s “100 acres given for all to enjoy.” So pack a lunch, bring some sunscreen, and let the kids roam free. After all, where else in Richmond can you spy bears and river otters in the same afternoon?
A park rich in history, Battery Park is where tennis legend Arthur Ashe learned to play. During the Civil War, gun batteries were located here hence the park’s name. Push-button lights allow users access to tennis courts from sunrise to sunset. Other family fun options include basketball courts, children’s playgrounds, and horseshoe pits. The Community Center offers a free computer lab and a community swimming pool open in the summer months only. Battery Park Community Center also offers a variety of recreation courses throughout the year for all ages. Contact the Community Center for more information on becoming involved.
James River Park System
A vast network of trails and river activities await within the James River Park System! If you’re looking for a challenging rapids course or a leisurely weekend hike with the family, you’re sure to find it here! The entire park system is the most popular park in Richmond with over one million coming to appreciate it’s beauty each year! Be sure to research your park destination as some trails are not kid-friendly. In the summer months, take a Frog’s Eye Tour or Paddle and Potluck Picnic with your older kiddos and enjoy the benefits of being an RVA native with $10/$15 registration! You can access the trailheads and water-ways from both North and South point of the River. Be sure to bring your water and walking shoes! You’re in for a whole day of nature goodness.
Forest Hill Park
Forest Hill is home to the South of the James Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning and boasts a mountain biking trail, a hiking trail along a creek that leads to the James River trail, and a sloping running trail that leads to small fishing pond and playground area. In the winter, be sure you’re among the crowds who flock to the the huge hill at the entrance to the park for sledding!
ARC Park is for all ages and abilities and provides entertainment for hours! ARC boasts three modern playgrounds (to be enjoyed by everyone from toddlers to adults!), swings of all varieties (disk swing, anyone?), various playhouses, a tree house, water trough sensory play station, and a harmony park to explore musical instruments! On hot days, the water misting stations are available for a quick cool-down. The bathrooms provide ample room for families and include adult-sized changing tables. A large, covered pavilion is available for picnics and gatherings. Bring the whole family for an unforgettable play time!
Three Lakes Park and Nature Center
A park for the seasons! Enjoy hiking trails, picnic shelters, fishing, open play areas, and multiple playgrounds in the spring, summer, and early fall. When it’s a bit chilly outside, step inside the Nature Center which boasts a 50,000-gallon aquarium to give your child an exciting look at the underwater world! The Nature Center is open from noon to 4:30 pm on weekends in the winter, Tuesday-Sunday in the spring, and every day but Monday throughout the summer. Check their site for special on-site programs hosted seasonally at the Nature Center.
Located within the Meadow Farm Museum in Glen Allen, Crump Park is a great central meeting location for families throughout Richmond. Especially appreciated is the abundance of shade on warm days. Two playgrounds offer activities for children from young toddlers to preschool, and one “big kid” playground has some fantastic slides! A row of swings is also conveniently placed in the shade of giant trees and make it feel like you’re soaring through a forest! A covered pavilion is located between the two playgrounds, and it’s a perfect spot to park the strollers and watch your kids play.
The oldest neighborhood park in Henrico offers families a nice and quiet getaway for the afternoon. Pack your picnic lunch and enjoy open areas or a covered shelter while watching the kids play on the playground. After lunch, take a stroll on the one-mile walking trail which is friendly for toddlers to grandparents.
Your child will most likely go cheering the moment you pull up to Dorey Park. The adorable themed playground is enjoyable for young toddlers through school age children and offers open play and a walking trail to enjoy the beautiful outdoors! Have older kids? Bring your frisbee and enjoy an 18 hole disc golf course! The large pond at Dorey Park is stocked annually with channel catfish and trout. (Parents, make sure you have a fishing license. Kids under 16 don’t need one.)
Echo Lake Park
A quiet and serene spot to watch nature right in the middle of Glen Allen, Echo Lake Park offers a half-mile nature trail around the main feature: Echo Lake. Bring your fishing poles and see what you can catch! Watch the ducks and turtles swim and play while enjoying a picnic, or get some energy out on the playground.
Deep Run Park
Great hiking trails including some with paved trails for strollers. Lots of covered tables and several playscape areas to bring the family. Open play areas to roam and kick a soccer ball, or a lake for nature sightings and fishing with your little ones. Always wanted to learn archery? Check out their program list to find when Beginner Archery (and other activities) are offered throughout the year.
Short Pump Park
A beautiful new park in the Short Pump area offers little ones age appropriate playgrounds along with a larger taller structure for the older kids. Recently added is a spray ground with shaded benches (YAY!) and a dog park. The dog park includes a “big dog” and “small dog” area. A covered picnic area with restrooms is available for the public, while you are also welcome to reserve the covered pavilion and soccer fields for an event.
Tucked away near Springfield Elementary School and Nuckols Rd is this small gem of a park. It is often not as crowded as many of the other West End parks and you may even get some time to explore on your own. This park includes trails and equipment- perfect for both younger and older kiddos.
A beautiful escape in Chesterfield County, Huguenot Park is home to a blossoming Azalea Garden and 53 acres full of walking trails, fitness trails, multiple soccer fields, lighted tennis courts, as well as lighted basketball courts. A playground is located amidst a walking trail which leads to the back of the park and Azalea Garden. Two picnic shelters located on opposite sides of the park are available for use and are close to the main road for easy access.
Hanover Wayside Park
Along with a playground and walking trails Hanover Wayside Park is also the Hanover Veterans Memorial which honors veterans killed in action from WWI to the present day, as well as those service men and women currently serving in the Armed Forces. The entire park is surrounded by beautiful trees which offer spectacular colors in the fall and breathtaking covered tree tunnels on your hike. Open areas to roam and play, as well as covers picnic areas, welcome families to play for the morning and picnic for lunch.
Pole Green Park
Located right off 295 in Mechanicsville is Pole Green Park with seemingly endless grass to roam and run. Walking trails for all ages make it an easy weekend destination along with playground equipment for toddlers through school age. Bring your volleyballs and enjoy the sand pits for some family friendly competition too! Have older kids? The skate park is open for their enjoyment as well as a cross country running course. Be sure to bring along your furry friend, as the Pole Green Dog Park offers space to play for them too! The equestrian ring and stables are also open, but if you don’t have a horse, it’s still fun to take the kiddos and watch!