Summer is upon us! For families with young children, summer is typically a time meant for ice cream, playing, sunshine (and sunscreen!), swimming, and PARKS! Living in Austin, we have so many parks because they can thankfully be used year round. If your kids are anything like mine, though, they really benefit from “mixing it up” with parks. The park that is down the street from your home is certainly convenient, but children benefit from different environments, textures, activities, sounds and smells. Before you head to your usual park, consider checking out some of our favorites below for something new and exciting!
Mueller Lake Park
Located downtown and convenient to shopping and The Thinkery, Mueller Lake Park has a lot to offer! Their playground is large, fenced in, and has play options for all ages. There is also a lot of nature around for your children to be amused by -- ducks, lakes and ponds, geese, large fountains, and more! I was impressed with how natural everything felt despite being in a very suburban location. Their total span of 140 acres encompasses trails, open spaces, and the park, itself. For more information, check out their website.
Bee Cave Central Park
This is probably our most frequented park for many reasons! The first playground, located at the main entrance, is geared more towards the skill set of older, school-aged kids. Mostly shaded, this front park has plenty of things to climb on, under, and through as well as two slides and swings. It is also immediately adjacent to a pavilion with bathrooms, picnic tables, and water fountains. As you continue driving through the park, you see some of the open fields and jogging trails. Bee Cave Central Park offers 50 acres of green space so there is plenty of room to kick a ball, throw a frisbee or do yoga! Towards the back of the park (south end) is a second playground and a dog park. This second playground is where I tend to gravitate with my two girls, as it is a little more pre-K friendly. There are slides and climbing structures that are more conducive to young children, as well as a second pavilion with bathrooms, picnic tables, and water fountains. My only caution is that this park tends to get crowded, especially on weekends, so it is worth coming earlier in the morning to snag parking. Check out their website for more information and directions. It is open to all individuals, and there are no gate fees.
Lakeway City Park
Similar to the Bee Cave Central Park, the Lakeway City Park also boasts two playgrounds! The first playground is by the main entrance and is designed for toddlers and pre-k children.
The second playscape is designed for more school age children and has a basketball hoop. Both playground areas have a picnic area. The two playgrounds are located within the greater 64 acre Lakeway City Park that offers nearly two miles of jogging trails, a Bark Park (for your fur baby), grill at the covered pavilion, and the ability to relax by the waterfront. Be aware, though, that there are no lifeguards on duty. Check out the Lakeway City website for more information on the entire park, as well as the playgrounds. It is open to all individuals, and there are no gate fees.
Springwoods MUD Park
Conveniently located in northwest Austin off of 183, this park is quiet, offers a variety of play equipment for different ages, and pavilions for picnic lunches. My favorite part is the cute little slide for toddlers – you’ll know what I mean when you see it! The park can get a little crowded on weekends, which makes parking difficult, but on weekdays the park is easy to access. They don’t appear to have a website, but you can find information about the park on Yelp. The park’s address is: 9117 Anderson Mill Rd, Austin TX 78729
Also located on the northwest side of Austin, this park is a hidden gem! Tucked behind a residential neighborhood and conveniently adjacent to greenbelt trails, Trailhead Park is VERY toddler friendly. The entire park is under a large umbrella which makes it a good option for those hot summer days. A mini climbing wall, two walls of buttons that mimic musical instruments, slides of different sizes and steepness, as well as a walk-up ramp for strollers or wheelchairs makes this my personal favorite park that I’ve discovered so far. There are also picnic tables, a basketball court, and a sports field -- this means your tweens and teens can have age-appropriate fun as well! Get directions and more on their website. It is open to all individuals and there are no gate fees.
May your summer is full of laughs, smiles, and fun with your kids – I hope this list helps you add a few more smiles to your family’s memory bank!
About the Author:
Kelsey Packard single mama of two littles in Austin Texas. She has a masters in Human Development and Family Studies, does freelance work as a Project and Data Manager, and enjoys writing in her free time! She loves supporting other mamas and striving for a healthy, wholistic lifestyle! She can be reached at email@example.com with questions from fellow mamas or with work opportunities!