Playgrounds are central to the suburban experience—don’t miss out when you’re touring towns
Not only are parks great places for your crew to burn off a little steam, but playgrounds are so central to suburban living. Post-move you’ll be spending a lot of time at your local park, so it’s a good idea to swing by when you’re exploring towns…even if the kids aren’t with you. And if they are? Stop by, hit the slides, chat up some of the other parents and get the inside scoop on the community—where families hang out, what the schools are like, what’s happening this holiday, anything. And who knows? That mom you meet at the park could wind up being your new neighbor…
Rocky Run Park (Arlington, VA)
Rocky Run Park is perfect for all ages, with two distinct playground areas—one for big kids and one for little. Younger park-goers can hit the bucket swings or smaller-size equipment, complete with a toddler-friendly slide. There’s also a transportation-themed play space and, in the warmer month, a spot for water activities.
On the “big kid” side you’ll find net swings and plenty of equipment for climbing and scaling. There’s also a very long twisty slide, basketball courts, a turf field and built-in checkerboard tables adjacent.
Rocky Run Park is also home to paved paths ideal for scooters, bikes and strollers, plus plenty of benches and tables for picnickers.
Lyon Village Park (Arlington, VA)
Another Arlington favorite, Lyon Village Park fits a lot into its two acres. Not only are there multiple basketball courts, tennis courts and a practice wall but, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there’s an extensive sprayground for kids to cool off before heading to the picnic area to grab a bite.
And, of course, Lyon Village has a fantastic playground, with equipment for kids of all ages. In addition to their four bucket swings and four “regular” swings, the playground has a number of slides at different heights. There’s also a sandbox and rock climbing apparatus for all skill levels.
During peak days and seasons, families can reserve a court (which we highly recommend). You can even host birthday parties in your kids’ favorite spot—the park will help facilitate everything from bounce houses to DJs and more.
Quincy Park (Arlington, VA)
This sprawling four-acre park is home to baseball and softball fields, plus tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, and ample space for kids to run and play.
Quincy Park also has the distinction of being Arlington’s first Universally Designed playgrounds, for kids of all abilities. There’s lots to do, from slides and swings to climbing apparatus, multi-kid teeter-totters and more. Equipment is complete with Braille signage and mosaics featuring quotes from famous kids’ books.
Another unique feature? Quincy Park allows permit-holders to reserve their covered picnic spaces complete with benches and tables.
Clemyjontri Park (McLean, VA)
Like Quincy Park, Clemyjontri Park is designed for kids of all abilities. Not only does the park have plenty of swings, monkey bars, climbing equipment and a picnic pavilion, but parents love the rubber surfacing lining the ground.
Source: Fairfax County
During the summer months, the park’s trackless train is a major attraction—it’s open from 9:30am to 4:00pm and tickets are $3 per child. Their famous carousel also opens Memorial Day weekend. Kids can hop into a spinning teacup or one of 14 horses.
Lee District Park (Alexandria, VA)
Lee District Park is home to Chessie’s Big Backyard, a three-part playspace that includes Treetop Haven, Tiki Village and a Nautical Cove Area. Each section is very on-theme. In the Treetop Haven kids can climb “trees” then slide down log slides while the “village” is home to an amazing tiki-inspired playground. Finally, there’s Nautical Cove, ideal for kids ages 2-5. This section includes a pirate ship kids can play in and on—and the cove is next to the Special Harbor Sprayground where kids can hit the water maze, beach area, water tables and spray spots.
Source: Fairfax County
Chessie’s also has a fun, multi-animal carousel, open in the summer. Families can even adopt a carousel animal!
Wheaton Regional Park (Silver Spring, MD)
Wheaton is known for its “Adventure Playground” which includes a wooden Swiss Family Robinson-style house and three-story slide. If your big kids are particularly adventurous, they’ll love the climbing mounds, nets, walls and swings, while toddlers will be all over the mini concrete animals scattered throughout the sandbox.
In the summer, families can hop on the park’s miniature train for a quick tour before jumping on the carousel—its 36 jumping horses and zebras have been in operation since 1915.
Wheaton is also home to several sports fields, courts and, even, an ice arena—and in the summer, thousands head to the park for MOCO Eats/Picnic in the Park, an annual event celebrating the Montgomery County food scene.
Watkins Regional Park (Upper Marlboro, MD)
If your kids love The Wizard of Oz, then you need to visit this park. Families can move through the different themed sections, from Auntie Em’s farm down the Yellow Brick Road and onto Emerald City.
Source: Park Rx America
Along the way, kids can hop off the road and play in the Wizard’s hot air balloon and the Ruby Slippers Slide. And if that’s not enough? Check out the seasonal petting farm, mini train, carousel and miniature golf course, all onsite.
Cabin John Regional Park (Bethesda, MD)
Cabin John a go-to for sports enthusiasts—the park is packed with baseball fields, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, an enclosed ice skating rink, space for Tai Chi and more. That, though, is just the beginning. The park is also home to Adventure Playground. Here you’ll find multiple slides, tons of climbing equipment and all of your kids’ playground faves (bonus: bathrooms are right next to the playground). When you’re done playing, head to the picnic area nearby or take a hike on the five-plus miles of trails, perfect for walking, hiking or biking.
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